From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
This old Scottish prayer could just as well be the home buyer's prayer. Because, despite strict disclosure laws in most states, home buyers sometimes end up with more than they bargained for. While sellers must disclose material defects in the property, most states do not require them to disclose information such as whether a murder or suicide has taken place in the home, or whether there is rumored paranormal activity.
The Illinois Real Property Disclosure Report form requires a seller to answer 22 questions about known material defects on the property. A material defect is defined as a condition that would cause substantive adverse effects on the property's value or pose a significant hazard to future occupants of the property. The disclosure form includes questions about structural problems, mechanical and electrical defects, flooding, lead paint, radon, presence of an underground fuel tank and even whether the property has been used as a meth lab. (The manufacture of methamphetamines leaves behind invisible residue to which exposure can lead to organ damage, cancer and other health problems, especially in children).
Whether things like murder, suicide or the presence of ghosts and poltergeists constitute material defects is the subject of much debate. True, they are not material defects: they have no effect on the functionality of the house. However, the presence of one or more of these "stigmas" can reduce the property's perceived value in the eyes of the public. Therefore, ethically you have a responsibility to disclose it.
Realtor Magazine offered the following advice for home owners who may have a "stigmatized" property to sell: "After you've confirmed that the reasons for a stigma are factual, ask yourself if knowledge of the stigma would affect the willingness of a reasonable person to buy the property or would change the amount that person was willing to pay. Stigmas aren't always easy to classify, so use your best judgment."
Besides, for some buyers, being haunted actually increases the desirability of a house.
Thinking of selling?
If you would like to schedule a seller consultation with the Come Home North Shore Team, please give us a call at 847.881.6657. We'd love to show you what we do differently to get our clients' homes sold!
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