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What must I do when selling a house with a notorious past?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2018 | Real Estate Law |

You have a property you hope to sell on the market. But you have an unusual challenge facing you. The house has a murderous history attached to it. What should you do?

There are many homes on the market that have unfortunate histories attached to them. If yours is one, there are some things that you should know before putting it up for sale.

You may have to take a price cut

Homes with a gory history like Nicole Brown Simpson’s or JonBenet Ramsey’s former homes tend to creep out the average buyer. That’s why an incentive like 10 or 15 percent off their market value might otherwise lure reluctant homeowners to take a nibble. In cases where the crime was particularly heinous, you may have to offer deep discounts of up to 50 percent to unload it.

Then you have the additional challenge of selling a home with an allegedly haunted presence. No matter what your belief system, there are certain properties that have the reputation for producing paranormal activities. To some buyers, this is welcome, while others recoil in horror at the very thought of sharing their home with the ghosts of its former occupants.

The law is fairly clear on the matter when it comes to disclosures. You don’t have to tell new buyers about Uncle Harry’s ghost’s tendency to reappear in the kitchen as long as you haven’t revealed this otherwise. If, unfortunately, you have shared this ghostly tidbit publicly, it should all be part of the home’s disclosures.

You could renovate extensively

Depending on where the atrocity occurred in and around the house, you may be able to significantly alter the property to draw attention away from it. In the case of the Simpson house in California, both the home’s street number and the walkway’s trajectory where the victim was murdered were altered. Even after these changes, however, the home was still sold at a 15 percent discount initially.

If you are selling a St. Georges house with a tragic past, it’s important that you have a real estate attorney review the transaction to ensure that all disclosures have been properly made.