It's Friday the 13th - What if a Ghost Materializes?

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

It isn't uncommon for homeowners to be curious about what they will be required to disclose in the process of selling their homes. They ponder whether they need to disclose the real reason they are selling the home is because of noisy and obnoxious neighbors. An occasional Seller will question whether the ghost or two, "residing" in the home, needs to be disclosed.

While we're observing this Friday the 13th,
I'll ask a question to add a little humor - When a ghost materializes, does it become a material fact; but become an immaterial fact if it does not materialize?

In the State of California, we are a long way from a 1981, when I was firsta licenced as a Realtor, and when Residential Purchase Agreements were one page, with no disclosures.  We now have home-sale disclosure laws requiring Sellers to reveal issues or problems, which have a material effect on market value or desirability of a residence.

It is important that Sellers disclose any neighbors, which are noisy and obnoxious.  There is a case, which the California Court of Appeal granted rescission and refund of the buyer's money because of the seller's failure to disclose the neighborhood nuisance. The case is Shapiro v. Sutherland (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 666.

However, it is also important to understand that certain things considered obnoxious, to you as a Seller, many be somewhat attractive to a potential buyer - for instance, the ghost(s) one particular Seller was concerned about.  In the California Mother Lode, there are at least two inns, which come to mind, considered (or at least advertised) as haunted.  It seems "ghostly" presence, can occasionally be seen as having value.

To summarize, in addition to the usual issues coming to mind in disclosure - the faulty plumbing, the electrical outlet that doesn't function, the smoke that billows out of the fireplace into the house, because the chimney needs to be swept, needs to be disclosed.  Better yet, if it costs a few dollars to fix the defect or issue, than by all means, repair it.  It will likely pay dividends in a home sale.

Full disclosure of all construction defects of the home, as well as neighborhood nuisances, and issues are very important.  Full disclosure is beneficial to Sellers as well as Buyers, because to not disclose, can become costly; particularly, when an issue hasn't been addressed, and finds its way into litigation, haunting you like a ghost or two.

If you have more questions about what needs to be disclosed, be certain to ask your real estate professional.  We will be happy to discuss in more detail, the issues of your particular property that need disclosure.


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Debbie Reynolds 07/13/2018 08:34 PM
Home Selling
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california home selling
real estate disclosure laws

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JL Boney, III
Coldwell Banker - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate

What a great topic to discuss on this day my friend. We do not have to disclose ghosts, but I did have a buyer that once requested I ask each seller if anyone had ever passed away in the home before she would look at it.

Jul 13, 2018 02:05 PM #5
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX

We have disclose if someone died of unnatural causes not natural causes. Wow Poor Barbara Todaro and Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents I hope this did not happen just today as Myrl said but if it did go buy a lotto ticket because your luck has to change!

Jul 13, 2018 02:32 PM #6
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Mryl- first of all, I'm glad for some disclosures...when we were looking once in Houston, one of the homes had a double murder in it. 

And goodness Barbara Todaro and Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents this truly was Friday the 13th for you both. We just spent yesterday working on a friend's computer. She's been bombarded all day with scam calls about her computer. 


Jul 13, 2018 03:38 PM #7
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Virginia is the exact opposite of California.  Buyer beware is the name of the game here because seller's disclose nothing but latent material defects.

Jul 13, 2018 05:27 PM #8
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Love this post Myrl Jeffcoat  and quite timely for the Friday the 13th date . Buyer Beware no longer applies in today's world. Best to disclose everything .. Perhaps even wear plastic/rubber  gloves when handling the seller's discloser   Hope this gets Featured

Jul 13, 2018 05:52 PM #9
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Being in California one learns that everything gets disclosed, yes even ghosts...and you are right life has gotten very complicated.  A

Jul 13, 2018 08:00 PM #10
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

No disclosure of this is required in Tennessee. Love the post though, Myrl.

Jul 13, 2018 08:31 PM #11
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

Our seller disclosure is now at 6 pages but that may change over the weekend...

Jul 13, 2018 10:18 PM #12
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

There are so many things that can become concerns for a prospective buyer and our disclosures have become quite lengthy here too.  I always tell seller to disclose everything they know, so they are protected.

Jul 14, 2018 06:31 AM #13
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Myrl. Oh my, what a ghost you have shared. Barbara, try and blow it off, you can't change what happened and I hate to see you huring.

Jul 14, 2018 06:59 AM #14
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

We have the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park where people make a reservation all the time for Friday the 13 and Halloween, pleace claim......

Jul 14, 2018 08:14 AM #15
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Hi Myrl- no obnoxious neighbor or ghost disclosure is on our Seller's Property Disclosure form- hope your Friday the 13th was uneventful!

Jul 14, 2018 10:21 AM #16
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX


 Just stopped by to see if you had blogged anything new! I hope you are having a wonderful Bastille Day! 

Jul 14, 2018 02:58 PM #17
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Smart listing agents and home sellers will make sure they comply with local and state disclosure requirements. If in doubt, disclose.

Jul 14, 2018 05:45 PM #18
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Wow, first I read your post and was going to mention when I went to West Point, the year before me there was a Cadet who saw a Ghost.... now with that said I was going to focus on that but when I read Barbara Todaro  comment... I said my story can wait for a future blog post.... ouch is all I can say....

As to your post I am all about disclosure " when in doubt disclose" Endre

Jul 14, 2018 10:53 PM #19
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Just sold our home which has it's own cemetary. Headstones from the 1800's.  It's very close to the house. I LOVED it when I bought the home, but was concerned it would be a deal breaker for some buyers. It was not an issue at all, lucky for us!

Jul 15, 2018 06:49 AM #20
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Myrl, Florida deals with our own scary things - not ghosts, but 'sinkholes.'  And we never know for sure where they are at, either. 

Jul 16, 2018 09:43 AM #21
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Myrl Jeffcoat - I'll bet you never expected to get all these crazy responses when you wrote blog post!

" noisy and obnoxious." law suite - Holy moly! That's insane, what if the neighbor never hears any noise and nothing was obnoxious to them who sold their property. How could anyone find proof?

And what about Sharon Tara post - recent sale of her own home that has its own cemetary - Only in New England would that be cool - I think! I do happen to know a couple who made love in an old cemetery in Maine and she got pregnant in that moment in time. They laugh about it and go there regularly to celebrate their wedding anniversary. 

And then there's Jane Chaulklin-Schott with worries about sinkholes in FL? Now that's scary!

I have clients who were waiting for their furniture to be delivered on Friday the 13th. Guess what? The Driver refused to drive up the hill and wouldn't deliver because he was afraid Friday the 13th would bring bad luck to his truck!  

Jul 16, 2018 10:19 PM #22
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Myrl and I have posted about this type of subject several times over the years. California law and other states are quite different then Nevada. You (cannot) disclose ghosts, paranormal, suicide or murder in homes or buildings in the state of Nevada 

Jul 23, 2018 06:03 PM #23
Gloria Todor
Century 21 Absolute Realty - Springfield, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Myrl, Wow disclosure about noisy neighbors.  Not something disclosed here. Best for buyers to visit house as often as they can prior to closing or even before putting in an offer to see if they can find that detail out.  Now the ghost thing...we only know that many people refuse to purchase a house near a cemetery. Interesting post for a Friday the 13th.

Jul 29, 2018 05:28 PM #24
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Myrl Jeffcoat

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