One of the most interesting conversations when it comes to selling a home can center around mandatory disclosures and what that means if the seller believes their home might be haunted.
As you might be aware, Washington State Law requires both homeowners and real estate agents to disclose known material facts about a property. See RCW chapter 64.06 for more information
According to the Washington Association of Realtors, Washington Agency law does not require a real estate broker to disclose a death.
So that begs the question, is a haunted house a material fact?
While what constitutes evidence of a haunted house could be argued until the end of time, what’s a little easier to determine is if the home has been the location of a horrific crime that might make a buyer a little uncomfortable about the history of the home. These homes can be referred to as "Stigmatized Property", like the Amityville Horror house.
As it pertains to real estate brokers, Washington law says this about material fact
Death or suspicion that the property or any neighboring property is or was the site of a murder, suicide, or other death, rape or other sex crime, assault or other violent crime, robbery or burglary, illegal drug activity, gang related activity, political or religious activity, or other act, occurrence, or use not adversely affecting the physical condition of or title to The property Is not a material fact that a licensee must disclose
But wait, that doesn’t actually answer the question for the seller in the transaction, does it? Washington law doesn’t actually provide a clear answer. And a real estate broker can’t tell you how to navigate this unless that broker is actually an attorney licensed to practice law.
Well, if you are selling the property and you're concerned about the history of the home, you should talk to your attorney about how to proceed. Also, you need to be prepared to instruct your real estate broker on how you’d like to proceed and how you’d like them to answer questions in regard to the history and make sure they are comfortable in your direction with the mandates by their firm in the policies on handling disclosure items
If you are buying a home, this is when it becomes especially critical to do your own due diligence. Research the property, talk to the neighbors and community members and encourage your broker to ask direct questions on any topic that is important and matters to you.
Remember we are here to help, and whether you are selling an old haunt or a new one, we would be delighted to be of service.
Call, text or email us if you have any questions or need any assistance.