What to Do if Your Minnesota House is Haunted?
It’s October, that magical time of year when the Twin Cities turn just a little bit spookier and the world becomes a dreamy autumn wonderland. There’s nothing quite as fun as decorating your front porch with pumpkins and cute little ghosts. And then of course there are the haunted houses.
While haunted houses can be a lot of fun on TV, selling an old, creepy house can be anything but a good time. In this post from Bill Buys Houses, we’re breaking down everything you need to know to sell your haunted, ugly, or just plain run-down house. To get cash for your spooky old house, give us a call today!
So You Own a “Haunted” House
Most people have a mental checklist when they’re shopping for a house. This list usually includes things like making sure it’s in a location they like or has an attached garage. What you’re not usually thinking about is whether that house has a history of unexplained activity or whether a tragedy once took place there.
We’ve all heard the stories. From Amityville to the Winchester Mansion, tales and lore about famous haunts are as much a part of American culture as apple pie and home runs.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll usually find out the truth about many famous “haunted” locales comes down to causes as varied as gas leaks, toxic mold, and urban legends. Nonetheless, a haunted house rumor can be just as much of a curse as an actual ghost if the community buys into it, especially when you’re trying to sell a home.
If you learn the home you’ve recently purchased has scary rumors attached to it, here’s what you can do:
1. Check the previous owner’s disclosures.
In most states, sellers are legally required to disclose certain information before selling a home if it falls under the legal category of stigmatized property. Although in many cases the principle of caveat emptor applies, ultimately, the types of stigmatized property that require disclosure can vary according to local jurisdiction.
According to a Zillow analysis, Minnesota is one of the only two states that specifically mention phenomena stigma, the official term for supernatural or paranormal activity, in their real estate law. From a real estate standpoint, phenomena stigma is usually seen as having possible connections to toxins, leaks, and mold. However, the official Minnesota statute classifies supernatural and paranormal real estate activity as “psychologically affected” and deliberately outlines that sellers are not legally required to disclose an alleged haunting.
Other examples of stigmatized property that might put off buyers include criminal stigma, murder/suicide stigma, and public stigma. An example of a criminal stigma might include a house that carries a stigma due to past use as a trap house or house of ill repute.
Similarly, a public stigma is a house that is known widely to the public for its association with a highly publicized crime or event. Even if you think it might be fun to live in a famously haunted home, these abodes can come with baggage in the form of curious strangers and ghost hunters invading your personal space.
2. Go down the research rabbit hole.
As real estate professionals, we recommend doing an Internet search deep dive before making any home purchase. But if you’ve already signed the paperwork and you’re suspicious there may be a ghostly aura or two in your space, it can’t hurt to see what Google turns up about the location.
If your house has a famous history like the infamous Lizzie Borden house, you’re likely to turn up plenty of information on it. If you can’t find anything right away, try looking up the names of previous homeowners. You can also log into your local library website and look for news clippings with the names of previous occupants in the library’s database.
Finally, try connecting with folks in the neighborhood through Facebook groups or an app like Nextdoor. Neighborhood old-timers will usually have the skinny on every home on the block and be more than eager to dish it out.
3. Don’t jump to conclusions.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the energy of a local legend, especially when you’ve just poured your savings into a mortgage down payment and now you’re experiencing things you can’t explain. But once emotions are running high, people are far more likely to get swept up in confirmation bias, interpreting every little thing that happens as a sign of a ghostly encounter.
Painting fell off of the wall? It’s a ghost, not a sloppy installation. Trash turned over? It’s a ghost, not a raccoon or possum. From bad plumbing to computer glitches, once you’ve made up your mind that a place is haunted, it can be easy to see everything that happens as a sign of the paranormal.
Try to let common sense prevail and take an objective step back. Remind yourself that people love a good ghost story as much as they love a big fish story, and hyperbole can easily make its way into the equation.
And if there is something truly unexplainable going on, try exploring scientific explanations before you call up the local psychic or priest. While it might seem cliche, have your home tested for mold and gas leaks. You should also call a pest expert and make sure your poltergeist isn’t actually a rat or squirrel living in the attic. Finally, have your plumbing and wiring checked out as these can also trick homeowners into thinking there’s a ghostly apparition.
Help! My House is Still Haunted!
Whether you’ve got Casper the Friendly Ghost living in your inherited house or you’re just creeped out about a past crime that took place there, selling it can be a hassle. But no matter what your reason for selling a house as-is, our cash home buyers at Bill Buys Houses can help. To request a cash offer on your home, call us today at 651-270-9191.