how to sell a haunted house

Can You Sell a Haunted House?

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A haunted house? Seriously? Yes. Selling a haunted house is not an unusual inquiry, especially during October, the spookiest time of the year.

64% of millennials and 55% of baby boomers say they’d be willing to purchase a haunted house.

There are four states that deal with paranormal activity or the supernatural in their real estate disclosure laws. We will go over these and answer two questions: (1) can you sell a haunted house, and (2) how?

States that Deal with the Paranormal in Housing

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Minnesota discuss the paranormal in real estate.

New York says that a court can overturn a house sale if the seller was not forthcoming about the property’s ghostly reputation, after spreading rumors that it’s haunted. An example: let’s say your New York condo features on a reality ghost hunters television show. If later, you sell the place without telling the buyer it’s haunted, the court can cancel the sale.

New Jersey insists that if a buyer asks about phantoms, the seller disclose the truth.

Massachusetts and Minnesota directly mention “paranormal or supernatural activity” as a “psychologically affected” attribute of a property that does NOT need to be disclosed.

States that Deal with Death in Housing

Other states, while not acknowledging hauntings, do insist that a death on the property be disclosed.

In California, a death on the property must be disclosed within three years. In Alaska, within one year.

Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and South Carolina all state a death on the property should be disclosed only if the buyer asks.

South Dakota insists a homicide must be revealed to buyers.

Whether or not you believe a death on the property is followed by the spirit haunting the premises does not matter in these or other states not mentioned.

How Do You Sell a Haunted House?

Can you sell a haunted house? Yes. On a rare occasion, with the right audience, it can be a selling point. Most times, though, it discourages buyers who believe in the mysterious and unnatural. So what can you do?

1. First things first: confirm you live in a haunted house

Sometimes weird occurrences can be explained. Get the house inspected for maintenance issues and make repairs. If, after doing this, strange things keep happening, keep a log to establish a pattern that points to the paranormal.

2. Talk with a realtor

If your house is haunted or cursed, or where a homicide, suicide, or other criminal activity occurred, or as they call it in the real estate industry, is “psychologically impacted” or a “stigmatized property,” talk with your realtor about associated laws and selling options.

3. Unless Law Requires, Say Nothing

If you live in a state where real estate disclosure laws do not require revealing deaths and hauntings, why say anything? If after you sell, the buyer claims the house is haunted, they have to prove to a court first that the house is in fact haunted, and then that you knew about it. Impossible, right?

Sell the Property and Its Ghosts to an Investor

Real estate investors are not afraid of no ghosts. They will pay cash for a property “as-is,” be it damaged, neglected, or inhabited by spirits. The investor buys without traditional sale warranties or inspections, and covers the closing costs and additional sale fees. You can offload your haunted property in less than 30 days and use the cash proceeds for a down payment on a new house with no specters.

decorating house for Halloween

How to Decorate for Halloween If Selling a House

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Decorating for Halloween is great fun, but be careful if you’re trying to sell your house. You may frighten off buyers. I’m all for skeletons and ghouls, and lots of pumpkins round the mantelpiece, but when buyers visit, they want to envision themselves living there. Bones, blood, and gore distract from that vision.

Do not get discouraged though: you can still decorate for October. Here are 5 tips on how to decorate for Halloween if you’re selling your house, so spirits and buyers feel welcome.

1. Keep It Outside

The less you clutter the inside of your house, the better. You want to create the illusion of space and NOT distract buyers who imagine living there. After all, you’re not showing a haunted house, though that’d be more fun, right?

Stick to decorating the outside of your house, but make sure your decorations are not too scary. You do not want to take away from your curb appeal when buyers pull up.

You can put out faux pumpkins and planters, a creepy, but charming wreath, and a pleasant foot mat that welcomes fall or trick-or-treaters.

2. Do Not Go Overboard, and Think Safety

Turning your front yard into a cemetery, or covering it with inflatable ghosts distracts from the house. Buyers can even miss the “For Sale” sign out front.

Also, do not clutter the front stoop. The last thing you need is a buyer or their realtor tripping over decorations. You can decorate, but leave an open footpath, so visitors can come and go without trouble.

3. The Inside Is Not Completely Off Limits

While you don’t want to over decorate inside, you can still add some hints of the Fall season. Embrace the color scheme with autumn accents, like pillows and a nice throw in the living room, or candles and towels in the bathroom. Even glass candy dishes, full of treats, in the kitchen are acceptable.

But again: avoid clutter and being too scary.

4. Take Snapshots Before Decorating

Before decorating, take photos of the inside and outside of your house for its listing. Buyers should see how the house looks “at its best” (on a regular day) when they search it online. Make it presentable, clean and ready for move-in in your pictures.

5. Clean Up as Soon as the Holiday Is Over

When Halloween is over, put away the decorations on November 1st. Buyers find post-holiday decorations tacky and detracting from the house.

Sell Before the Holiday

If you are eager to move – maybe you are getting ready to close on another house, or you just want Halloween to be a thriller and not deal with twitchy buyers, sell to an investor. Real estate investors are not superstitious or put off by ghouls and goblins. They’ll actually give you a treat: a cash offer for your property “as-is,” no repairs or renovations necessary.

Want another treat? An investor requires no traditional sale warranties or inspections, and they pay all closing costs and additional sale fees. You pick the closing date, which can be in less than 30 days, and move just in time to enjoy trick-or-treating in a new neighborhood.

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The Pros and Cons of Selling a House in the Winter

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Often people think spring is the best season for selling a house or even summer, but actually, you can sell a house any time of year. Selling your home during the winter may have its drawbacks, but it also has its advantages.

Pros of Selling

Pro #1: Serious Buyers

The large flow of buyer traffic in the spring and summer consists of many window shoppers – people who are getting a feel for the home market, browsing home types, and decorating ideas. In winter, buyers tend to be more serious. If they make appointments to view the home during what is perhaps the busiest time of year, when daylight hours are short, that shows promise.

Pro #2: Less Competition

With so many sellers thinking spring and summer are the best seasons to list a home, you have less competition during the winter holidays. Less competition means you get more showings and interest from serious buyers.

Pro #3: Enjoy a Quick Closing

Buyers who shop in November and December are highly motivated to make a deal and close before the New Year so they can enjoy tax benefits, including deductions from their mortgage interest and property taxes. Other times, if a buyer is relocating, they want to buy fast to get the most out of their corporate relocation package.

Cons of Selling

Con #1: Less Than Ideal Weather

Cold, wet, maybe even icy or lots of snow, winter has the weather that bribes folks to stay indoors. Buyers are less eager to drive out to look at homes in winter. Road conditions can be hazardous, and after Daylight Savings Time, you lose two to three hours for showing your home. Also, your winter-stricken yard loses its curb appeal with bare trees, less greenery, and a blanket of white.

Con #2: Buyers Have Other Financial Obligations

Winter holidays are a busy and expensive time of year. First comes Thanksgiving, and then it is Christmas or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. Buyers may have their money tied up in other things, like holiday gifts, food, and travel.

Con #3: Showings Take Effort

You have to keep your home neat and tidy during showings, and this can become more taxing during the winter holidays. You have to be light on holiday decorations so as not to overwhelm or clutter the living spaces. If family is visiting, you have to constantly clean up after them and try to get them out of the house for showings. You might be skittish about leaving out presents and constantly hide them in closets during showings and pull them back out after buyers leave.

If you want to sell your home fast for a cash offer and enjoy the winter holidays, consider selling to an investor. Investors do not mind cold weather, holiday decorations, or crowded homes. You can enjoy a quick closing and get back to what really matters during the holidays.

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How to Decorate for Christmas When Your House is for Sale

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No one wants to be a Scrooge, but if you want to sell a home during the holidays, you have to be careful about spreading holiday cheer throughout the house. This is not to say you absolutely cannot decorate for Christmas; lights and merry colors can make a home feel warm and inviting to buyers. However, too much mirth can crowd and even disorient buyers when they try to imagine themselves in the house. Here are some ways you can decorate your home for the holidays without jeopardizing your chances of selling.

Keep it secular.

You can have the manger scene, a menorah, or kinara out for personal celebrations, but be aware that a buyer may have different beliefs. For this reason, we recommend you put such symbols away during showings. We understand that it can be sensitive for you as well, and the choice to put these decorations out of sight is optional; however, consider the urgency to sell your home when making your decision.

Depersonalize decorations.

To help buyers envision themselves in your home, avoid putting out greeting cards, family photos, and family-sentiment items like “Best Grandma” tree ornaments. Your home will soon be someone else’s home, and putting out these personal tokens can upstage the buyer’s vision of them living there.

Appreciate classic decorations.

A simply decorated Christmas tree, a holly wreath on the front door, or a mantelpiece with ivy and candles are all elegant accents that pleasantly warm the home atmosphere but do not distract or overwhelm buyers.

Avoid too many lights.

Opt-out of colorful, flashing lights on the front lawn, and nix the inflatable Santa, snowmen, and reindeer. Too much merry can be tacky when selling a home. Instead, simple white string lighting can highlight the home’s architecture and draw eyes to attractive greenery.

Match the colors.

Make sure your decorations match the color scheme of your rooms. If the living room walls are a soothing blue, choose snowflakes and silver accents over clashing reds. If the dining room has an earthy tone, put out forest greens and golds. Contrasting colors disorient and put off buyer minds.

Clear the stage.

Staging a home is a delicate practice, and if rooms are already cluttered, adding Christmas ornaments will not improve the look and feel of a space. Look at showcase examples, model home photos, and clean up your home. Once the room is clear of distractions, you can add delightful holiday accents to cheer up these spaces.

If you have already decked the halls and do not want to take things down, consider selling your home to an investor. Most investors will make a cash offer without paying mind to your displays of holiday cheer. Enjoy your traditional holiday flair as well as the joy of a merry sale and quick closing.

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Top 5 Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays

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The thought of selling a home over the holidays can be intimidating. ‘Tis the season for other things – fun, family moments, wholesome meals, and gift-giving. The greatest gift right now would be to offload your home and fetch a merry price for it. These five tips on preparing your home to sell it during the holidays (or low season) are our small gift to you.

Tip 1: Deck the halls, but not too much

Too much clutter and sparkle is visually overwhelming. Too large or too many decorations can make rooms busy, crowded, and distract eyes. Also, remember that buyers want to envision their own furniture and belongings in these rooms, and so many loud, bright decorations can dominate the scene. Keep it simple.

Tip 2: Maintain curb appeal

The outside of a home is just as important as the inside. During the fall, trees drop their leaves, and bare trees expose more of the home. Spruce up the yard – rake leaves, trim grass and bushes, but also clean gutters, touch up paint, power wash the driveway, and keep all foot surfaces free of ice or snow to prevent slipping hazards.

Tip 3: Take quality pictures

A picture is worth 1,000 words. Start with the outside: a barren or snow-covered landscape does not (typically) sell well. If possible, take exterior photos a month or two before the autumn season, and make sure the curb appeal attracts. Outdoor features, like a swimming pool or hot tub, also look better in the summertime. Interior photos should show clean, showcase-worthy rooms, preferably without seasonal decorations.

Tip 4: Winterize the home

Seasonal maintenance is always a good idea, whether you presently live in the home or leave it vacant till it sells. Essential steps, like inspecting the furnace and protecting against frozen pipes, keep the home functioning through the cold season, so neither you nor future buyers have to worry about related repairs.

Tip 5: Make it cozy

The weather outside is frightful, so make your home delightful. During showings, turn up the heat, light a fire in the fireplace, play soft classical music, and offer homemade goodies or a steamy mug of hot chocolate or hot apple cider. The more comfortable buyers feel in your home, the longer they will stay to look around.

 

If you are short on time and want to enjoy the holidays, consider selling your home to an investor. Most investors will make a cash offer on a property as-is, be it old, outdated, or a fixer-upper. This saves you the hassle of buyer negotiations, home repairs, and uncertain financing, and instead, you enjoy a sure deal backed by a quick closing. Cheers to you!