MCLEAN, Va. -- If you’re looking to buy a house how do you know if it’s haunted? More seriously: if someone was murdered in the house you’re thinking of buying, does the seller have to tell you?
"No, absolutely not,” Lizzy Conroy with HBC Group-Keller Williams Realty sells houses throughout the Washington region. She explains why sellers do not have to tell you that a house is haunted.
"If the house is haunted it’s a spirit and there. It has nothing to do with the foundation or the roof or that drywall, the plumbing or the heating and electrical. Something being hunted is sort of an opinion, it’s not necessarily a fact,” Conroy said.
What if someone died in the house or was murdered there?
"That has nothing to do the condition of the property, so you’re not required to disclose that,” she said.
Virginia is a "buyer beware" state where sellers don’t have to disclose much.
"Only if they have actual knowledge of material defects or violations of the building code. Or if there was a meth lab in the home you have to disclose that," said Conroy.
“Maryland is a disclosure state so as they say in Maryland, disclose, disclose, disclose. If something is breaking, if you’re foundation is settling and you mistake that maybe for a ghost, yes that is a material defect and if you know about it, yes, you have to disclose it."
One more thing all sellers must disclose, bats. Conroy has seen properties with tons of bats in the attics.
"When the bats live in the attic, they infiltrate the attic. So, if you know that there are bats in your attic, you've got to get that fixed or definitely disclose that," said Conroy.
There is at least one state that requires sellers to to buyers a house is haunted. It's called the Ghostbusters ruling in New York State. But sellers are only required to disclose if they’ve shared this opinion to the public at large. Otherwise it’s for them to know and for you to find out.