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Jackie Colson-Miller

Jackie Colson-Miller, CIPS
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Haunted Houses…What Should An Agent Disclose?

In Florida, Realtors are required to disclose anything that materially affects the property . When I list a home in Tampa, I ask Sellers to complete, and sign, a very thorough questionnaire about everything from survey and drainage issues, plumbing, electrical, roof, zoningeverything material to the property. Realtors are not required to ask about things like burglaries, crime in the neighborhood, or sexual predators in the neighborhood. That information is available through various websites and local law enforcement agencies.

What about disclosing a death on the property? A Murder? A Suicide? Or, a lingering spirit? Does it make a difference if it is an evil spirit, or a friendly ghost? How many people would knowingly buy, or rent, a haunted house?

I lived in a haunted house when I was a senior in college. Needless to say, my landlord did not disclose that to me, or my roommates, Hauntedhousethough it was well-documented by the previous tenants, who couldnt wait to tease us about the ghost, not long after we moved in! Footsteps on the stairs, doors that opened by themselvesplenty of things that went bump in the night! I think even the police knew the house was haunted, because after three visits to find the burglar , they stopped responding! One day, our furnace broke down, and the repairman asked me, How are you getting along with Mrs. Walsh? Give me the story, I insisted. As it turns out, the landlords mother had died in the house and vowed that she would never leave! Shes still here , I said.

From then on, we got along just fine with Mrs. Walsh. We talked to her, told her to stop scaring us from time to time, and one day, she scared off a real burglar and prevented a break-in. While its nice to reminisce about the experience, the real issue is about disclosure!

Sometimes what is required by law , and what is the right thing to do , are two separate issues. When in doubt, always do the right thing, for the buyer, or the tenant. Disclose the haunted house issueand be nice to the ghost!

Searching for a house in Tampa? Would you live in a Haunted House???

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8 responses to “Haunted Houses…What Should An Agent Disclose?”

  1. Nice story. Parts of it even gave me shivers. I remember hanging with friends at their house back in the early 80’s. It was in a historic area of Pensacola and had several apartments in 1 large home. One apartment was supposedly haunted. No one ever stayed there more than a few months. One girl told me the story of a statue on the mantle over a fire place turning by itself one night. Freaked her out and she moved. Then just last year I had to go to a title company I had never worked with. Turned out they had converted that same house into a business. The lady I met with had her office in the same haunted apartment. It didn’t seem too creepy now that it was a business, but I told her the story anyway. I think I scared her a little. Great post. Thanks for bringing up the good old memories.

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  3. Jean says:

    Great article Jackie, I totally agree with the last comment, when in doubt do the right thing. I also just thought I’d share some halloween spirit, I found a great list of haunted homes on this real estate site…, some great haunted stories and homes on the list.
    And to answer your question, no I wouldn’t live in a haunted house…I prefer new homes where nothing bad or old ghost may still be around.

  4. […] current real estate market wasn’t scary enough, Jackie at The Real Estate Sizzle is pondering what has to be disclosed to buyers (including ghosts?) Disclosure laws are significantly less stringent here in Alabama, so buyers, […]

  5. Great article as always. Lots of useful info here!

  6. Georgia agents are only required to disclose anything that “materially affects the property” also; however, if I were working with a buyer and I personally knew that there may be the possibility that a home had, had a death occurrence, I would advise my clients of the possibility. The property could also even be seen as a distressed sale.

    Dana DeLuca

  7. What a story– I think Charlotte is too new to have haunted houses. Maybe not. But your advice, do the right thing, is alway appropriate, and will keep agents out of trouble.
    Anyway, I need a good Tampa Agent referree, (as in refer ee as opposed to a refer er)I’ve sent two there in last couple of years. Glad to see you on the vine, stop on up for a visit sometime. 🙂 Terry (site not complete but working)

  8. Bryan says:

    Great article. Regarding the article, always do the right thing.

    I wouldn’t mind living in a haunted house as long as I know that whatever is there will not harm me. I currently live in a haunted house, where the entity that is there, I belive it to be a young woman comes up behind me when I’m watching TV and puts her hand on my shoulder and sometimes very gently tugs my hair just to let me know that she is around. I see all the time a dark shadowy figure move in front of my TV or window, and it is solid (you can’t see through it). Sometimes a bit freaky, but I just try to ignore it as much as I can. Not brave enough to talk to it or her. I don’t think I would like to get a response.