Sometimes crimes, murders and deaths happen inside of houses. When horrible things happen, a house can be subject to rumors, prejudice, and eventually be deemed a “stigmatized property.” This means that the home is rejected by potential buyers for reasons that are not related to the physical condition. The most common reason stigmatized homes are rejected is out of fear that they are haunted.
Maine has one of the oldest housing stocks in the country, so the likelihood of buying a home where someone has previously died is very high. In Maine, Sellers are NOT required to disclose whether or not there was ever a death in the home. They are required to disclose only “material defects,” which includes information confined to the physical property that may impact the health or the safety of anyone living in the home. However, Buyer’s Agents are responsible for discovering all “material facts” about the home, which includes information that may impact the value of the home even if it is not connected to the physical property. Very often, the fact that someone died in the home does affect the value of a home upon resale.
In a 2017 study conducted by Realtor.com, a whopping 42% of Buyers surveyed are not at all open to the idea of living in a home that may be haunted, and immediately rejected the consideration. The remaining 58% of Buyers “prefer some paranormal activities over others. For instance, 48 percent of respondents open to living in a haunted house indicated they could tolerate cold or hot spots in their home. The next most acceptable activity was strange noises, at 45 percent, followed by strange feelings in certain rooms at 39 percent, and unexplained shadows at 35 percent. The least tolerable happenings included levitating objects and the feeling of being touched, both of which are acceptable to 20 percent of respondents.”
The bottom line is that a lot of people believe in ghosts, so when hiring a Buyer’s Agent in Maine, be sure you find out if your home is haunted because you could end up losing your sheet when you sell!