October -- for sports fans, it may be the best time of year. What other month can you watch professional football, baseball, hockey, and basketball?
For others, October brings entertainment and fun in the manner of ghosts, goblins, witches, and vampires.
When you live in a city (Alexandria, VA) that has ghosts around every corner, Halloween is even that much more special.
Ghosts & Real Estate -- What You Need to Know:
Houses with ghosts or haunted houses fall under the category of stigmatized property. A stigmatized property is one where an event or condition (murder, suicide, or haunting) occurred that does not affect the physical nature of the property but which may affect its value to some people. In other words, knowing that a murder occurred in a house or that there may be a ghost can have a psychological effect on the homebuyer.
There is NO federal law or requirement to inspect for, investigate, disclose, or verify whether a property is stigmatized.
Similarly, Virginia exempts disclosures about stigmatized property.
A house can be haunted, in fact, it can be swarming with ghosts, and neither the seller, the listing agent, nor the buyer's agent is required to report that news to you.
Truly buyer beware.
CAUTION: Don't shop for a home right after watching the movie Poltergeist!
So, what to do if you want to ensure that your house-to-be is not occupied by floating departed souls?
You can ask your REALTOR. They are not under an obligation to disclose this, even if they've seen the ghost themselves. However, perhaps they can help.
The other year, I had some clients who were looking at historic homes in Old Town Alexandria. Historic means the house has a plaque and is over 100 years old. They very seriously told me that they did not want to purchase a home with a ghost. Not sure what to do, I did some research and sent them to this website: Haunted Virginia. I figured it was a start and they could continue with their own research.
To some people, a ghost may even be a selling point!
Did you know that Old Town Alexandria is fabled to have some ghosts living among the historic homes and cobblestone streets?
October's a great time to buy a house. You'll be settled in for the holidays.
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