Dear TZ - We think this house is haunted

Real Estate Agent with Remax First Realty II 0790808

Dear TZ,

We love the house you showed us yesterday, but Sarah thought it was a little creepy.  How can we find out if someone died there?

~Spooky Sam and Scared Sarah



Dear Sam and Sarah,

Homes where famous murders or deaths occurred often result in the loss of property value – homes like that of Nicole Simpson (OJ Simpson’s wife), Michael Jackson’s house, the Amityville Horror house, and the location of the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide. The term “psychological defects” applies to homes whose value has dropped not because of a material defect like a leaky roof or faulty plumbing but because of the home’s history.

The disclosure laws vary from State to State. New Jersey is one of only a few states where complete disclosure is required, of material defects and psychological defects, within the past year and prior to that, whether a buyer specifically asks or not.  According to New Jersey law, statute 11:5-6.4 "... the term "Psychological impairments" includes but is not limited to, a murder or suicide which occurred on the property or a property purportedly being haunted."


So, to answer your question, since you’re buying a home in Union County, NJ, not only would we have to disclose this information to you, but the seller would be legally obliged to reveal this information to us.


On the other hand, what if the home is haunted? Some buyers consider stigmatized properties great investments. They know they can buy the property at a deep discount – 20-50% less than had the property not been stigmatized – and, if they can ride out the stigma, they’ll be able to make a great profit. Other buyers deliberately seek out stigmatized properties and then market them as such. “Haunted” bed and breakfasts are popular for certain niche clients. It’s even possible to sell the soil from a particularly grisly murder scene on websites such as Serial Killer Ink.

The National Association of Realtors has a Field Guide to Dealing With Stigmatized Properties, which will let you know what an agent may or may not reveal in your state.


So what do you think? Still want to buy the house?

~ Team Zuhl



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~ Wayne & Jean 

Union County, NJ - a great place to live and work!

If you're looking to buy or sell a property in Union County, call us at 908-917-4189 or email


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All opinions, information and data provided is deemed reliable but is subject to errors and omissions. Not intended to solicit other Brokers' clients. We cooperate with them fully. 

Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

What an interesting post and topic.  There was a home I showed to three different investors that had a double murder/suicide in it.  It was disclosed.  

Aug 22, 2014 11:34 PM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Good morning Wayne and Jean.  I lost a deal once due to a death in the backyard.  I had no idea.  My buyers offer was accepted we were almost to the closing table then a chatty neighbor told them about the death.  End of deal.

Aug 22, 2014 11:35 PM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

This is an interesting topic. The house in the photo definitely looks haunted

Aug 22, 2014 11:44 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

In most of the cities all over the world, I bet we walk on someones ashes

Aug 22, 2014 11:57 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Wayne and Jean - wow.  That is a lot of interesting information that I did not know about.  I guess everyone can turn a lemon into lemonade.

Aug 23, 2014 12:46 AM
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

What a terrific topic and post.  Of course, not being a Realtor, I had no idea.  I don't know how I would feel about that.

Aug 23, 2014 01:26 AM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Nice post! We have to disclose that information in TX too. Better to disclose. You can never disclose enough! You've written a great post here on AR!

Aug 23, 2014 01:46 AM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

Wayne & Jean, I'm still not sure I would be brave enough to buy a "haunted house" even at a discount.

Aug 23, 2014 03:51 AM
John Meussner
Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IN, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI - Fair Oaks, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Fair Oaks, CA 484-680-4852

Great information to share team Zuhl, especially on the heels of the recent court ruling in PA regarding the same subject.

Aug 23, 2014 04:59 AM
Brian Olsen
Portland, Lake Oswego, West Linn & Dunthorpe Neighborhoods, Waterfront, Luxury & Floating Homes - Lake Oswego, OR
Cooper Jacobs Real Estate Group | Keller Williams


Holy smoke this is a spooky BLOG and October 31st is not far enough away. My children are collecting their ideas on paper on how to decorate our house!

All the best to you Jean and Wayne and have a great weekend.

Aug 23, 2014 05:52 AM
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

Wayne and Jean, I've had several calls this year from folks saying they live in a haunted house and want to sell and would I list it.  Must be something in the air.

Aug 23, 2014 09:03 AM
Emcee M. Arah
Remax Excellence - Silver Spring, MD - Silver Spring, MD
Realtor w/Architectural Dimension, AHWD CRS B-Arch

Wow! That was really interesting!! That was some serious research you did there! I wonder how many people actually purchase the house once they find that someone has died in the home.


Aug 27, 2014 04:14 AM