Will Buying A Home Leave You Feeling Haunted?
As a potential homeowner, you need to find out everything you can about a house before putting in an offer.
There are a lot of imperative questions you should ask, particularly about the history of the home and any defects that might manifest. Of course, it would be perfectly logical to ask about any previous plumbing, electrical, and foundation issues, but all states require sellers to disclose that information anyway. Even questions like, Why are you selling? or How did you decide on your asking price? would be questions most sellers would be happy to answer.
There are some things sellers wont automatically unveil,
though; things you need to probe in order to get the answers youre really dying
to know. Here are five disturbing questions to ask a seller:
1. Have Any Unnatural Deaths Ever Occurred In This House?
It is not uncommon for a house to have seen a natural death in its history
, especially an old house, and most buyers are just fine with that. But a house that was the setting of a brutal murder or a series of murders is a completely different story. Sleeping in the same bedroom where a jealous wife bludgeoned her no good husband and his lover to death, or knowing that your living room ottoman now sits under the place where the previous owner hung himself would give anyone nightmares. Fortunately, there are several states, including California, that require disclosure of any gruesome or violent death on the property
if it occurred within three years. However, if the house does not fall under those parameters, it would be up to you to get the seller to divulge all the grisly details.
2. Was There Ever A Graveyard On The Property?
If the entertainment industry is to be believed, it is possible for a zombie epidemic to rise up at any time, so be ready. But even if you refuse to believe that the undead will soon be walking the earth, looking for people and maybe even a horse to snack on, you still may not find it desirable to live on a site that was formerly a graveyard. There was one court case in Maryland where a property developer removed tombstones and markers, but not the bodies, from his property, and sold the lot
. When the buyers found out about the propertys history, they took the developer to court, claiming they were deceived and that the graves diminished the lands value.
If the property does include a private graveyard, which was fairly common back in the day, and you still decide to purchase it, be aware that it is illegal to disturb cemeteries or remove gravestones,
and the legal process for altering the site is often complicated and very lengthy.
SEE ALSO: Zombie Proofing Your Home
3. Is There Anything Buried In The Ground?
Aside from human remains, you may want to know of other things that might be buried on the homes property. Dead pets, for example, are commonly buried in yards. Without prior warning, coming across some bones while working in the garden might scare the bejeezus out of some people. Oil tanks, also, were routinely buried in the ground before it was discovered they leaked, and a few instances of cars being unearthed in yards have been reported through the years as well. Regrettably, courts generally take the side of sellers who claim they didnt know, so the costly removal of such items would most likely come out of your pocket
if you dont ask about it first.
4. Are There Toxic Materials In The Area?
Unless you want to be slowly poisoned to death, living in an area infested with invisible toxins that gradually eat away your insides would not be a good idea.
Sadly, a budding new family in Oregon had to learn this lesson first hand. Just days after moving into their new home, the young couple and their two year old son started experiencing breathing problems, headaches and nosebleeds. As it turned out, their perfect fixer-upper was hiding a dangerously checkered past. With contamination levels nearly 80 times above the states health limits, the house was revealed to be the previous location of a meth lab.
Some states require sellers to disclose if a property was formerly used as a drug lab, but only if they are aware of it. As in the case of the Oregon family, who purchased the house from the bank, its ultimately up to the buyer to find out about such issues with the house and its surrounding neighborhood.
5. Has There Been Any Paranormal Activity In This House?
Being woken up every morning by an unseen figure shaking your bed, or hearing a child laughing down the hall when theres no one else in the house are not usually features one would desire with their newly purchased home. In fact, a homeowner in New York sued the previous owner for not disclosing the fact that some of the home's previous residents still lingered, causing all kinds of ghostly antics. According to the lower court, however, sellers and agents have no obligation to disclose supernatural presences.
So, unless you specifically ask a seller if any known paranormal activity has ever occurred in the house, dont be surprised if you hear footsteps tramping around in the attic your first night there.
Just remember, you shouldnt be scared to ask questions when buying a house.
Although sellers are not required to disclose everything about the house up front, they are obligated to answer truthfully when asked anything pertaining to the home. So ask away. Whether you mind living in a haunted house or not, its always good to know the history of a home before you purchase it.
SEE ALSO: 5 Questions You Need To Ask At An Open House