Posted in: Selling a home

Can I sell my haunted house?

What to do if your house is haunted

Key insights:

  • Minnesota disclosure laws do not require sellers to disclose “perceived paranormal activity” to buyers.
  • Before assuming your house is haunted, check for carbon monoxide leaks and electricity shorts; they can cause surprising (and spooky) disruptions.
  • Still think your home is haunted? Look into your property’s history to determine what could be causing the slamming doors or drafty areas.

Have you ever felt a draft that can’t be explained, or watched a door in your house slam shut when you’re home alone? Do you sometimes wake up in the morning to find that a cabinet is open… even though you could have sworn you closed them all?

It’s more common than you think! In fact, 28% of surveyed Realtors once said they’ve had to sell a home or help a buyer who believes that their current home is haunted.

If you think your house is haunted, you may be wondering: Are there ways to scientifically explain (and debunk) the spooky goings-on in my home? Will “perceived paranormal activity” affect my ability to sell the property?

Here’s everything you need to know about living in a spooky home — and how to sell a house you suspect is haunted.

Do sellers in Minnesota and Wisconsin have to disclose that their house is haunted?

Minnesota disclosure laws

Per Minnesota’s disclosure laws, sellers must state if there are any “material facts” that could affect the buyers’ use or enjoyment of the property. But there is one exception to this law.

Home sellers in Minnesota do not have to disclose “perceived paranormal activity” to any homebuyers. This law was put into effect after a homeowner in New York sued when they found out they were about to buy a “haunted” house.

Wisconsin disclosure laws

Wisconsin does not have a specific exemption for paranormal activity, but a Wisconsin seller normally would not need to disclose that a home is believed to be haunted. In Wisconsin, a seller must disclose all “defects”, which are defined as a condition that would:

  • Have a significant adverse effect on the value of the property.
  • Significantly impair the health or safety of future occupants; or
  • Significantly shorten or adversely affect the normal life of the premises if not fixed.

While the thought that a Wisconsin home is haunted would not typically fall within one of those categories, it is possible to imagine a home so stigmatized by perceived paranormal activity that it significantly affects the home’s value. But Wisconsin law also says that a seller doesn’t need to disclose “that a property was the site of a specific act or occurrence, if the act or occurrence had no effect on the physical condition of the property or any structure located on the property.” This is intended to limit the disclosure required of so-called stigmatized homes.

The short answer, then, is that if you want to sell your house, you normally do not have to disclose to potential buyers that you believe your house is haunted. But there is a bit of gray area in Wisconsin law. Your REALTOR® will be able to help you determine the best course of action for selling a house that you believe is haunted.

Is your house haunted? Or in need of repairs?

There’s a longstanding feud between scientists who believe they can explain away most paranormal activities and the real-life ghostbusters who spend their time communicating with the other side.

And while we’re a no-judgment zone, we do know that some drafts, sounds and light flashes can be explained logically. So before you decide that you have to sell your haunted house, try looking into these alternative causes for haunted happenings.

What’s causing that draft?

If your home has unexplained cold areas or the doors keep slamming shut, don’t immediately assume there’s a ghost in your house, upset that you replaced her vintage door knocker. Check your windows, doors and chimney to ensure they are all properly sealed and see if the drafts are eliminated once the gaps are filled in.

What’s that noise?

Before you decide that the noises in your walls or attic are due to paranormal activity, put out traps or hire a professional to check for rodents, bats and squirrels. Even small critters can make deceivingly loud noises that are easy to mistake for an intruder or apparition.

Seeing flickering?

Whether your lights flicker on and off or the bulbs burn out quickly without explanation, consider hiring an electrician. The culprit may not be an aggrieved great aunt coming to cause trouble from the afterlife — but the result of electricity shorts in your home.

Spotting orbs in photos?

Do your photos tend to include orbs or flashes of light that don’t come from your interior lighting? Make sure that your camera lens is clean of dust, debris and hair particles. If the orbs only show up occasionally, keep in mind that they could be from floating dust particles — which is especially common in attics, basements and other rooms with low traffic and minimal upkeep.

Having visions?

If you suddenly start to have persistent visions of paranormal figures or scenes inside your house, be sure to check carbon monoxide levels immediately. After prolonged exposure, the toxic gas can lead to hallucinations that are even more dangerous than they appear.

Top tips for selling a haunted house

If you check the above and still believe that your house is haunted, you’ll want to behave like any typical home seller would as they list their home for sale. Get to work fixing up the small issues your house has, taking special care to:

  • Trim up overgrown vines, shrubs and trees.
  • Repair cracks in the walls.
  • Light the pathways and driveway for nighttime visitors.
  • Brighten the home’s interior with a light, neutral paint color.
  • Fix creaky floorboards.
  • Close up drafts near windows or doors.
  • Clean out storage areas in your attic and basement.

Is there anything else I can do about my haunted house?

If logical explanations fail, and you’re not ready to move on, consider doing some research on your home’s history. The property’s location and past owners may be able to help clarify what you are seeing and hearing. If it would give you peace of mind, you can also hire a paranormal team to assess the home.

If you think it’s time to meet with a professional about selling your home, call Edina Realty or your agent today. We have experts who can help whether your home is haunted by ghosts, too many belongings… or you just want a fresh start.

Love all things spooky? Check out Minnesota’s most haunted homes.

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