When Patricia St. Vincent bought a 1910 colonial revival house in Tempe more than 30 years ago, the seller congratulated her and said, “You bought yourself a haunted house.” That didn’t bother St. Vincent when she closed the haunted real estate deal on the Ash Street property. She transformed the house into Casey Moore’s Oyster House.
But shortly after the remodel, odd events began to happen.
For three nights in a row, the alarm went off at 4 a.m., she said. Neighbors called and said they saw a woman dancing upstairs. St. Vincent would arrive to find the house empty.
“I found it amusing,” she said.
Although St. Vincent took the “haunting” in stride, some buyers might not react the same way to haunted real estate. And in this case, the seller went above and beyond Arizona law by disclosing the paranormal activity to St. Vincent.
Sellers in Arizona must disclose certain aspects of a property, including things like mold, termites and roof damage. A haunted house, however, is not in the mix.
In fact, sellers don’t have to disclose murders, natural deaths or any sort of paranormal activity, said Amanda Salvione, an associate at Radix Law in Scottsdale.
If you don’t want to end up like the families in “Poltergeist” or “The Others,” you have to do your own homework.
“A buyer has to do their own investigation and diligence,” Salvione said.
Salvione calls this the “buyer beware” warning.
Salvione said even heinous crimes are classified as psychological effects and do not need to be mentioned when selling a house. So, the buyer must know the right questions to ask.
“Do your research, maybe talk to the neighbors and find out if the house is rumored to be haunted,” said Shelley Sakala, a real estate agent at HomeSmart.
But there is a catch: If the seller lies about paranormal activities or haunted real estate when asked by the buyer, the seller can be held liable.
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