ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Nov. 1, 2010 – Haunted houses take front and center stage during Halloween, but purported real-life cases can be an issue for home sellers at any time of the year.
Minnesota is the only state in the nation with a real estate law that considers the concept of ghosts. “But they don’t have to disclose,” says Walter Molony of the National Association of Realtors. “The rules pertaining to psychological stigmas, which is what paranormal activity falls under, are as clear as mud.”
In Florida, at least one Realtor – Karen West – wants state law changed to reflect greater transparency for stigmatized properties. West co-founded a paranormal research group, The Spirits of St. Petersburg.
Ghost skeptic Gary Posner agrees with West, but mainly because it’s better to know the stories before moving in, even if they’re not true. He says that home buyers could start to believe ghost stories once they occupy a home reported to be haunted.
“Every little creak and bump becomes a ghost, and [the buyer] could wind up dumping the place for no reason and lose thousands of dollars,” he says.
The main problem with any haunted house is what constitutes a haunting – and even if such a thing actually exists.
“There is no hard-core standard for methodology in this field,” says Spirits director/co-founder Brandy Stark. “And what would happen (if a seller did have to disclose)? Do you have to start calling in teams of people to decide whether a place is haunted or not haunted?”
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL) (10/31/10) Cox, Billy
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