Buying a home is a big investment and a dream come true for most people. But what if you accidentally bought a haunted house? Some homeowners have to deal with it, unfortunately. People have different thoughts about haunted houses. Moreover, there is no scientific proof that ghosts exist. But if you think you bought a haunted house by accident, you will need to take a few steps to remedy the problem.
Accidentally bought a haunted house
You want to do the following if the house you bought is haunted:
1. Verify if the house is indeed haunted
If you accidentally bought a haunted house, you want to determine if the house is actually haunted.
Cold spots, creaks, or lights that flicker could be signs of ghosts, but they could also be signs of an old house that needs some repairs. Check for carbon monoxide or natural gas leaks, as these can cause similar symptoms to what you might experience if you believe your home is haunted.
Most of the time, these problems can be fixed by updating the wiring, and HVAC, or doing other home repairs.
2. Consider legal options
Once you’ve determined that the ghost is real, consider legal options. Most of the time, the seller and agent have to tell you everything you need to know about the property you’re paying for.
However, they are not legally required to tell you whether the house is haunted or not. This means that you may be able to take legal action against the seller if you think they were not honest about the history of the house.
These laws are different in each state, so find out about the disclosure rules in the state where you bought the home to determine your next step.
3. Have the house cleansed
If you’re determined to live in your haunted home, consider asking a local religious or spiritual leader to bless or cleanse the house.
If you believe in ghosts, smudging with sage or saying a blessing can help get rid of spirits. But if the haunting is more sinister, you might need to call an exorcist to get rid of any evil spirits in your home.
4. Talk to your lawyer
The laws surrounding haunted houses vary from state to state, so it helps to know your rights and options.
If you don’t know what to do or feel overwhelmed, you might want to talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand how the law applies to your situation and give you advice on how to solve it.
5. Install security systems
If you’re feeling scared or uncomfortable after you accidentally bought a haunted house, take steps to protect yourself and your family. Put up security systems, set up a support network, or get help from a professional. You may need to leave your home and find a new place to live in extreme cases.
Does a seller have to disclose a haunted house?
When selling a house, the majority of states require the seller to complete a disclosure form that details any known structural issues, environmental hazards, or other “material facts” that could impact the value of the home. However, this requirement does not extend to disclosing the presence of paranormal activity or ghostly experiences.
There are no states that mandate home sellers to reveal information about alleged ghostly experiences on the property before a sale. Texas, for example, like most states, only requires sellers to disclose material defects related to the condition of a property.
Minnesota is the only state that mentions hauntings in its disclosure law, however, it exempts sellers from disclosing “non-material” facts, which includes whether or not the home was believed to have had paranormal activity.
Although there are no state laws that explicitly require the disclosure of ghostly activity, it doesn’t mean that sellers of haunted houses are exempt from all responsibility if accidentally bought a haunted house.
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How to avoid buying a haunted house
In the future, you need to perform the due diligence as a potential buyer who is buying a home to avoid buying a haunted home by accident:
1. Understand the real estate disclosure laws in your state
The requirements for what information a seller must disclose to a buyer vary by state and sometimes by city. While you may receive a complete overview of a property’s history, there’s also a chance you may not be fully informed.
A haunted house is considered a stigmatized property, which is a home that may not be appealing to buyers due to reasons beyond its physical appearance.
In many states, it is not mandatory to reveal stigmas such as murder, suicide, crime, or paranormal activity. It is best to consult a real estate attorney in your state for the specific rules.
For instance, California has a law that requires the disclosure of deaths that have occurred on the property within the last three years. On the other hand, New Mexico does not require the disclosure of any non-material facts about a property when it is listed for sale, which could be challenging for both the agent and buyer if the seller doesn’t reveal certain facts that could cause a haunting.
2. Conduct research on the house
Gather information about a house through thorough research to help you buy the ideal home. Before buying a home, be sure to Google the address and see what information comes up to protect you from accidentally buying a haunted house.
Examine newspaper articles and historical records to determine if any deaths have occurred at the house that you should be aware of.
Also, research the land on which the house was built, as it may have been built on a former battlefield or ancient burial ground.
For example, in New Mexico, there are many trapped Native American energies on or near properties that need to be moved. Another option is to check DiedInHouse.com, an online resource that provides access to death records of specific addresses.
3. Speak with neighbors
Neighbors are often well-informed about the happenings in the neighborhood, including rumors about a haunted house. If you see a neighbor outside, try to strike up a conversation, especially with those who have lived in the neighborhood for a while.
As expected, some sellers may not disclose information about paranormal activity, so it is essential to talk to the neighbors.
4. Investigate the house buy, sell, and repair history
The buy and sell history of a house may provide clues about its past to help you avoid buying a haunted house. For example, if the house has lost value or has been bought and sold several times over the years, it could indicate that there is something strange about the house that prevents people from settling in.
If you have concerns, don’t hesitate to ask. Sellers and their representatives are obligated to disclose what they know when asked a direct question.
Additionally, consider if there has been an unusual amount of repairs on the property in recent years, as this could indicate paranormal activity. For instance, I have cleared houses due to owners having three broken water heaters in one year or an endless list of repairs.
5. Consult with paranormal experts
To avoid buying a haunted house accidentally, consider hiring paranormal experts, such as a medium or paranormal investigator. These professionals can perform services aimed at clearing the house of any uninvited guests.
It is a good practice for anyone purchasing a new home to hire a professional to perform a paranormal energy clearing before moving in. This includes arranging for the physical cleaning of the home and clearing its energetic presence. This way, you won’t have to worry in the future that you accidentally bought a haunted house.
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What to do if you buy a haunted house
Even if you take all the necessary precautions after you accidentally bought a haunted house, there’s a possibility that you might still end up sharing your home with some uninvited, poltergeist guests, particularly if you buy an older home or if the seller was not transparent about its history.
If you believe that you’ve been misled into purchasing a haunted house, explore your legal options. Although it may not be possible to sue based on buying a haunted house without knowledge, it may be possible to take legal action because the seller failed to disclose the history of the house.
These laws vary from state to state, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the disclosure requirements in the state where you’re buying a home. In most cases, the seller and agent must disclose all relevant facts about the house, but they are not legally obligated to disclose information about deaths that have occurred on the property.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to conduct your own research if you want to avoid purchasing a home with a dark history.