Tag Archives: buying a haunted house colorado

Worried About Buying a Haunted Home? What’s the Real Estate Industry’s Take on Haunted Houses?

24 Jun

There have been some changes in Colorado real state rules and regs re buyer agency and disclosure of psychological stigmas. This article has not yet been updated and does not reflect these changes. Contact the author for updates.

Haunted Houses have been the source of many a scary story, and the practice of real estate has not been immune to them. Ask any real estate broker who has been in the business long enough if he/she has ever had a strange experience in one of the homes they were showing or selling. Whether a believer or not, many would admit that they did.

Consider the broker who is selling a home in a nasty divorce situation… sometimes one can just sense the acrimony, even though it may now be vacant. There is a spectrum of energy left in homes, ranging from just a little bit to downright humongous! Consider a home where there was a murder, a suicide, or some other kind of violent energetic episode, and you may be considering a haunted house!

How do you as a buyer of real estate know whether a house is afflicted with negative energy? Your own perceptions are the first to be acknowledged; if you just don’t feel good there, perhaps it is best to move on. But if you are persistent, and you think the home is just “too good of a deal”, some remedial action is possible. Hiring a feng shui consultant or a house healer may be in order. In more extreme cases, a priest or minister can be asked to bless the house, or a psychic can be called in for a session. If you’re more inclined to the high tech approach, bring in your local ghost hunters with all the latest equipment. We won’t talk about exorcisms, the most extreme solution.

What if a broker thinks that a home for sale is haunted? Does she have a duty to tell the buyer? Colorado real estate law does speak to this issue: under Section 38-35.5-101 of the CRS Statutes:

Nondisclosure of Information Psychologically Impacting Real Property we note in Paragraph 2…
“No cause of action shall arise against a real estate broker… for failing to disclose such circumstance occurring on the property which might psychologically impact or stigmatize such property.”

Language in the standard listing contract in Colorado has been revised to read:

5.2. Broker must not disclose the following information without the informed consent of Seller:
91 5.2.1. That Seller is willing to accept less than the asking price for the Property;
92 5.2.2. What the motivating factors are for Seller to sell the Property;
93 5.2.3. That Seller will agree to financing terms other than those offered;
94 5.2.4. Any material information about Seller unless disclosure is required by law or failure to disclose such
95 information would constitute fraud or dishonest dealing; or
96 5.2.5. Any facts or suspicions regarding circumstances that could psychologically impact or stigmatize the Property

In other words, Colorado law makers didn’t want brokers to be able to inadvertently stigmatize a property by saying it was the scene of emotionally violent acts like murder or suicide, let alone being haunted (see Related Story for a different state’s interpretation).

On the other hand, you as a buyer would certainly want to know this before you inherit some things in the house you may not want. But what if a property has a well known reputation, like Briarhurst Manor in Manitou Springs? When it was recently on the market, the listing broker made no bones about disclosing the “haunting.” But since it was purchased there has been no further news. If it were to come up for sale again and I was the new listing broker, would I disclose the alleged haunting to an uninformed buyer (Better to Disclose)?  Only if I could get the consent of my client in this state, even though one could argue it would be hard to stigmatize a property that already has such a reputation.  Would I disclose as a Buyer’s Broker who represented the buyer and not the seller?  Yes.

But what if that property in Colorado* did not have such a reputation, and you were shown it as a buyer? What if you sensed something wrong? Even if you were convinced it was haunted and the broker showing it agreed, the next time he showed it to a different buyer he would not be required to disclose his opinion.

Haunted Houses are part of the real estate market and part of our modern culture, regardless of what you may or may not believe. Whether you’re buying or selling, it dosen’t have to be Halloween to sleep well in a haunted house!

Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved

*Most states have their own laws regarding disclosure of  psychologically stigmatized properties due to death, murder, suicide, etc., but may not specifically refer to hauntings, ghosts, or other paranormal phenomena. Consult your local broker or your state’s department of real estate for details.