Have you ever lived in a haunted house? You might have worked at one, but have you actually lived in one? I've resided in several and currently share one with a friendly ghost. There's a corner of the front room where our haunter doesn't like plants. He/she doesn't kill them, but for no reason will just fling them off a table or push them over while I'm looking directly at the pot. I'm not kidding; it's happened several times. I now know not to place houseplants there.
If we sold our home, would we have to tell the buyer that the place is haunted? Let's consider that by penning this column, I'm making it a public fact. But what if our buyer is from out of town and has never read City Weekly? Or lives here and prefers to only read Breitbart News? Do I have to put in writing somewhere during the sales process that the place is inhabited by a plant-hating spirit? No, I don't have to disclose this—but would anyway. I believe honesty is the best policy, and would want a buyer to be happy with their purchase and be able to decorate around their new invisible friend. If a buyer directly asked, "Is the place haunted?" I'd have to answer the question.
But what if there had been a murder in a house? In 1974, a family of six was slain in Amityville, N.Y. A year after the crime, a new family purchased the home. They hadn't heard about the murders, and later claimed that unseen forces possessed the place and made it a hell house. They called a priest and ghost hunters came to investigate. As you might know, the story was made into a wildly popular movie.
If we were required to report every murder or death in any home for sale, you can imagine how much harder our jobs as Realtors would be. Depending on the state, the sellers might be required to disclose a previous death in the home. The Wasatch Front listings form library doesn't have a space that asks a seller to disclose a death, or a haunting. My advice, though, is to always ask a seller about specific history of a home that might lead you to not want to purchase it. In California, you must disclose if a death has occurred on the property in the past three years, but there's no similar law in Utah. The only disclosure explicitly required by state law is whether there has been "use, storage or manufacture of methamphetamines" in the home.