Happy Halloween, and happy house hunting – or so we think. Not all homes are brand new with fresh paint, sparkling countertops and new finishes. Some homes have an uneasy past, or even a creepy former life. It is well known that Flagstaff has many haunted accounts. Google “Haunted Flagstaff” to discover that multiple hotels and locations have disturbing narratives. The Weatherford Hotel, Hotel Monte Vista, Orpheum Theater and the Public Library are on the short list of haunted buildings. That’s why I thought I might take advantage of this time of year to talk about the hair-raising side of real estate.
Would you consider purchasing a home that was the site of a natural death, suicide or homicide? The truth is, these circumstances are not totally uncommon. How do you know if the home you are previewing to purchase was the location of such an unseemly event? This information is often hard to unveil. However, local law enforcement is a starting place to uncover this kind of information. According to A.R.S section 32-2156, Arizona state law states that sellers and real estate licensees are not liable for failure to disclose whether a property is the site of a natural death, suicide, homicide, murder or felony. When it comes to disclosing haunting facts, the buyer enters muddy waters concerning the material matter of the situation.
When selling a home, the state of Arizona says that sellers are obligated by Arizona common law to disclose all known material facts about a property to the buyer. If you believe that your home is haunted, would you consider that a material fact? If yes, in your humble opinion, would you think it best to disclose the information? For now, I leave this decision up to the reader. Thinking outside of the box, maybe you could turn this into a marketing opportunity! There are many who do not mind or are even attracted to the stigma.
Attention buyers: If these items are a material matter to you, it is your responsibility to investigate and research. Buyer beware. Do not be afraid to ask your real estate agent or home seller for information regarding these issues. When in doubt, head to local law enforcement.
According to a realtor.com 2018 real estate study, here are some not-so-scary trade-offs to purchasing a haunted home: 9% of respondents would buy a haunted property if it had a larger kitchen or better neighborhood;15% would buy if they were able to achieve a cheaper home price; 49% of people say, “nothing can make me buy” a haunted house. According to the survey, two in five people have claimed to have lived in a haunted house, and 44% knew (or suspected) the home was haunted before moving in. According to the realtor.com 2018 report, “one in three people – especially millennials – were willing to take a chance on a haunted home if there was something to sweeten the deal.”
Now that I have you spooked, make sure you hire a real estate professional who can assist you in navigating the murky waters of a real estate transaction. Every transaction is unique, and having someone who is educated in the market and who is “in the know” is an invaluable asset – and in some cases, may save you from making a decision that will haunt you for years to come. FBN
By Blake Cain
Blake Cain is a REALTOR with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s Intl. Realty. He can be reached at 928-856-9071 or visit him online at blakecain.com.