Is this House Haunted? Stigmatized Properties
Properties that have been the site of a murder, suicide death or a haunting have long been considered "stigmatized".
As a Seller are you required to disclose this known fact to a potential purchaser? As a purchaser do you feel you should be told of such an event?
A conversation this evening with friends found us all over the board on this issue. Clearly some feel it is no big deal while others feel the opposite.
This is Massachusetts. Arguably the oldest community in America. We have lots of old homes and if we remember correctly, at the very least, many of these old homes hosted "calling hours" for the dead. Not as dramatic as a murder for sure, but still for some an unusual and uncomfortable situation. It puts us in a very interesting situation.
So, that being said...this brings up a few questions. Would you consider purchasing one of these properties? Does it affect the price your are willing to pay? As a Seller are you obligated to offer up this information to a prospective purchaser? How about your Realtor? What can you expect of her/him?
The reality is that Massachusetts Realtors are not obligated to disclose this type of information to you. A law enacted in 1998 is clear on the issue.
There are other properties that may be considered stigmatized where other rules apply (including HIV status of former or current occupants),
but for this conversation, as a Buyer, if it is an important you know that someone was murdered or committed suicide in a property, or that a ghost resides there, then you should ask questions pertaining to this type of event. Your questions will trigger a duty to disclose. Kind of weird, I know, and it is sort of like my Doc, a very cool guy, tells me that our health care is in our own hands. We should investigate, ask and question. The same should be said for purchasing a property.
You should and can rely on your agent for sure, but ultimately you should be looking out for yourself as well.
Back to the question. Is this house haunted and will you buy it?