ghost family in living room

In a new fall sitcom on CBS, a young couple think they’ve inherited the home of their dreams.  But there’s a catch.  Not only is the country house rundown, but it’s still inhabited – by ghosts of previous residents.

ghostThat’s just TV, you might say – it’s all made up.  Well, yeah, it probably is.  But you might be surprised to know that there are plenty of stories of real (live) people that buy a home and move in – only to discover the same thing.  Well, maybe not lots of ghosts, but 1 or 2 at least.  And even stranger?  Some people actually like the idea of sharing their home with the spirits of those no longer living.  And others, well, just don’t mind.

In fact, 1/3 of Americans claim they’d be willing to buy a house that’s haunted.  And a quarter of adults say they’ve lived in one.  Amazingly, only 21% say they would want to sell the house they just purchased if it turns out to be haunted!  Really?

Hard to believe, considering that most of us don’t even want to share our homes with ants or mice!  But maybe ghosts have a different sort of appeal?  Well, apparently they do.

ghost dad reading in denAccording to paranormal experts, there definitely are people who like the idea of living with ghosts.  With the exception of those ghosts that were the perpetrators or victims of a violent crime, most spirits are either a benign presence or even actually protective of the family currently living in the house.  Some new homeowners report feeling a sense of peace or calm with benevolent spirits watching over them.  It’s almost like having your own guardian angel on call.

A few house hunters are, in fact, actively looking – or even hoping – to find a house with resident spirits, because, well, a ghost certainly adds to the uniqueness value!  It’s definitely one thing that sets a house apart!

ghostWhile other buyers may not choose to welcome these ghostly roommates quite so enthusiastically, occasionally a prospective buyer will find themselves so in love with a particular house that they’re willing to overlook the presence of a ghost –­ especially in this tight seller’s market.

But what exactly are the seller’s obligations when it comes to disclosing otherworldly tenants on the premises?  Real estate laws vary from state to state, but surprisingly, most don’t require ghostly disclosure.  In Wisconsin, sellers and brokers are required by law only to share “property conditions that adversely impact a property’s value or structural integrity or that pose a health or safety risk.”

Of course, most of those conditions will relate to structural issues such as carpenter ants or problems with the heating or electrical.  There’s no specific mention of ghosts, hauntings – or even the need to disclose traumatic events that may have occurred onsite.

ghostMost real estate experts – agents or attorneys – generally advise sellers to be proactive (and honest) by mentioning any supernatural presence that new homeowners are apt to discover or experience.  Naturally, some buyers will be a bit put off and decline to make an offer.  And some simply won’t believe you.  But there are clearly others that will laugh it off and take their chances.

If you’re the prospective buyer, ghosts are probably not high on your list of things to ask the sellers about.  I mean, it’s embarrassing, right?  But unless you’re in that group of buyers looking for your own onsite spirit, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry.  With Halloween upon us, it never hurts to make sure that the only ghosts you’re apt to find there, are strictly decorations.