Can You Sell a Haunted House in St. Augustine, Florida?

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook.

Can you sell a haunted house in St. Augustine?  Yes you can.

You can sell haunted houses in St. Augustine

The Castillo may be haunted, just in case you decide to purchase it someday.

There is a ton of misinformation out there on whether or not you have to disclose if a house is haunted, or whether anyone has died there or committed suicide, etc.  In the state of Florida this is called “stigmatized property.”

So to set the record straight, in the state of Florida you are NOT required to disclose if anyone died in the house, or if the house may be haunted, or if anyone in the home had AIDS, and so on.

What the state of Florida requires that you disclose is something called a “latent defect.”  Latent defects are things a normal person wouldn’t know about or can’t readily see that either deal directly with the physical structure of a home, or the land it sits on.

For example, if you know a septic tank is bad, you have to disclose it because it is a latent defect.  Why?  Because a normal person wouldn’t be able to tell if the tank is bad just by walking up to it.

Or, if you had a dock on the river that you knew couldn’t be repaired or lengthened, or it appears it’s on your property but it is not, then that would be a latent defect worth revealing.  Why?  Because the person buying the property will probably want to use or upgrade the dock at some point.  If they can’t and you knew about it, they could sue the pants off you for not telling them.

But if a house has ghosts?  Well, it doesn’t really affect the structure, use, or any easements.  Same if the place was the location of a suicide or murder.

But here’s the deal.  If the neighbors are going to walk up to the new owners after they move in and say, “Gosh, I didn’t think anyone would move in here after the murder!”…you may want to disclose that.

A great story I heard from another Realtor was that the evening after a closing the buyer called her up, frantic.  She said, “What’s wrong?”  The buyer said, “The ghost tour is in front of my house!”

So, you know, use your common sense.

For a group of Realtors that will give you more than a “ghost” of a chance when you buy or sell this Halloween, contact the St. Augustine Team or just call (904) 386-8327!

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