(WYTV) – If you’re selling your home, do you have to tell a prospective buyer it’s haunted — or at least that you think it’s haunted?
Helen Ackley and her family say they lived with ghosts for years in their turn-of-the-century Victorian home in upstate New York. Their stories were in the newspaper — even Reader’s Digest.
Jeff Stambovsky didn’t know that when he bought the home in 1989 and the Ackleys didn’t tell him.
After moving in, his new neighbors clued him in, and Stambovsky took the Ackleys to court to cancel the contract and get his money back. He eventually won.
If you put your house on the market, you have to tell a prospective buyer about any known structural problems or toxins, such as black mold in the basement — but does that apply to ghosts?
There are no states that require home sellers to voluntarily disclose ghostly activities on the property before a sale, but that doesn’t mean they’re home free.
The Ackley verdict set a precedent. There’s a California consulting business called Past Life Homes, which helps people sell their haunted houses.
The most important suggestion is to admit the hauntings only if they’re common knowledge and notorious.
In real estate language, the house is “stigmatized.” A stigmatized home could affect the value of the property.
If you think you’ve seen or heard something spooky, don’t mention it — unless the potential buyer asks.