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Real estate ghosts remain invisible

Arizona real estate law requires the disclosure of property flaws such as mold, termites and damage to the roof. However, less mundane paranormal activity does not have to be disclosed to potential buyers.

Paranormal activity includes murders, natural deaths or similar activity. None of this must be divulged to buyers. In fact, the most brutal crimes may be classified as psychological effects which do not have to be disclosed.

This places these transactions into the buyer beware category. In other words, purchasers should perform their due diligence. Knowing what questions to ask can hold the seller liable for a lack of disclosure because they cannot lie or make misrepresentations about paranormal activities. They must also disclose paranormal activities if they believe the house is haunted and promote it as being spooked.

Purchasers, accordingly, should research the property by speaking to neighbors. They should follow-up on any rumors about the real estate.

Unbelievably, there is court precedent from New York. In a 1991 case, a person bought a house and later found articles from the media about paranormal activities in the residence. The court ruled that the seller had to tell the purchaser about the paranormal activity because she earlier publicized it.

Some purchasers, however, are not spooked by paranormal real estate. They may be attracted to property involving a celebrity or legend.

Realtor.com actually conducted polling revealing that 33 percent of people are willing to consider living in a haunted house. About half of the respondents in the survey were open to living in a residence with strange noise or temperature spots. However, real estate where the spirits touch residents could be a deal breaker because only 20 percent of survey respondents would live in a place where that occurred.

An experienced real estate attorney can help deal with disclosure of paranormal and more earthly defects and other residential real estate issues. They can help assure that a party's interests are protected in these transactions.

Source: AZ Big Media, "Experts say home sellers don't have to disclose haunted real estate," By Samantha Pouls, Cronkite News, Oct. 31, 2017

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