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When Janet Milliken, 59, moved from California after her husband died, she had hoped to start a new life with her two teenage children in Pennsylvania near her family.
She bought a home in Thornton, Pa., for $610,000 in June 2007. She learned a few weeks after she moved in from a next-door neighbor that a murder-suicide had occurred the year before in her home.
She sued the seller and the real estate agent for fraud and misrepresentation, saying they made a "deliberate choice not to disclose the home's recent past," according to a court document.
Rayne said Milliken, 59, was "disturbed" when she learned of her home's history from a neighbor. "As she was struggling what and if to tell the kids," he said, her children's friends visited the home for Halloween and told the children about the murder-suicide. "They were very upset upon learning about it and disturbed about the whole situation," Rayne said. "They were dealing with the death of a father and husband and wanted to move closer to family, and then this happened to them," he said. "It was a tragedy all around."
The trial judge granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, saying state law does not require agents to disclose such events.
According to a study by two business professors at Wright University, houses where murder or suicide have occurred can take 50% longer to sell, and at an average of 2.4 percent less than comparable homes. A California appraiser who specializes in diminution in value issues says that a well-publicized murder generally lowers selling price 15 to 35 percent.
Sometimes, a house's macabre past is an asset rather than a liability, especially if the gruesome past involves celebrities or legends. Ghosts can be a selling point for some towns that rely on their dead inhabitants for tourist appeal. Cities like St. Augustine, New Orleans, and Hollywood all provide ghost tours of popular sighting sites. In St. Augustine, a legendary haunted-house-turned-restaurant lures in diners with the prospect of seeing the house's former owner—a woman dressed in white who purportedly appears in mirrors and walks the second floor.
Do I Have to Disclose?
Sellers should disclose grisly facts about the house, so they will not be "haunted" later. Even if not required by state law, in order to soothe prospective buyers and avoid lawsuits, sellers should be upfront about their home's paranormal guests or ghoulish histories.
This article was originally published in January, 2005 and updated October, 2010.
If, there is a legal provision for disclosure on haunted houses in Pa, maybe the owners can sue over future hauntings from the people who died in the home.
Originally posted by ignorant_ape
reply to post by Klassified
CAVEAT EMPTOR :
if prospectiv house buyers are so carven , that the fact that a murder occured at a property frightens them - its thier duty to research the house fully
potential buyers alread employ solicitors and surveyors to determine that the house is structurally sound , worth the asking price , actually legally on the market , etc etc etc
if crime scenses bother them so much - it should be a point to brief thier solicitior on