socastcmsRssStartBy Cole Lauterbach | Illinois News NetworksocastcmsRssEnd
If you’re looking to snag the perfect house at the end of the buying season, know that your real estate agent isn’t required to find out if the house is haunted for you.
There’s no law in Illinois that requires the seller of a home – or any agents – to tell a potential buyer that a house may be inhabited by apparitions.
Illinois Realtors spokesman Jon Broadbooks said the state requires an agent to disclose any physical problems with a home, such as radon or a faulty roof, but paranormal activity doesn’t fall into that category.
“You do not have to disclose that a home is haunted,” he said. “It comes down to a property may have a stigma because of something like that, but it’s not a material defect to the property.”
Even though there’s no requirement, he advises real estate agents to provide that information before a sale. If the buyer doesn’t hear it from the agent, they’ll likely hear it from the neighbors anyway.
“All they have to do is talk to somebody next door and they’re going to be more than happy to tell them,” Broadbooks said.
A home that’s well known for something like a high-profile murder is called stigmatized property and should be disclosed, said Betsy Urbance, Illinois Realtors’ general counsel and vice president of legal services.
“The listing broker’s company might have a policy that would prohibit dual agency in a situation where the property might be stigmatized. If the buyer broker has ‘actual knowledge’ of the stigma, the buyer broker should disclose to his client or send the client to published sources of information,” she said.
There have been <a href="https://www.nar.realtor/legal-case-summaries/stambovsky-v-ackley-new-york-court-reviews-parties-duties-to-disclose-information-regarding-haunted">lawsuits</a> against real estate agents in other states over the sale of homes that were well-known for being haunted without a buyer’s knowledge. Some did end up paying the buyer for damages. In Stambovsky v. Ackley, the New York Appellate Division awarded the buyer damages, saying they lived outside of the area and couldn’t have known that the home’s former owner advertised it as being haunted.
A 2012 poll found that more than a third of prospective homebuyers wouldn’t even consider buying a house that was said to be haunted. Two percent of those polled said they would pay a premium for a haunted property.