An older home may be full of creaks, leaks, and drafts, but when does that fix list turn into something more?
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In some cases, those problems may be beyond the abilities of a general contractor to fix…
KULR-8’S Mary Jane Belleza spent some time speaking with experts who spend their days working out paranormal problems.
Creaking floors, sticking or slamming doors, and unexpected breezes… these are common issues found in older homes.
According to Patti Dundas, President for Billings Association of Realtors, the first thing a seller should disclose when selling a home is any adverse material fact.
“An adverse material fact would be something of significant importance to a buyer that would change their decision if they did not know about it upon going into a legal binding contract,” said Dundas.
Disclosure laws vary in certain states.
In Washington, a seller must disclose the condition of the property of existing material facts which includes systems and fixtures, but that’s not true of the paranormal.
Dundas said in Montana you’d never know if a house was haunted unless the seller decided to tell you.
So, if there are rumors about the property, you may want to come straight out and ask.
“You might want to have a conversation with your seller and if they say to you, hey my house is haunted and this is why I feel that it’s haunted, you wouldn’t want to discount them or make them feel like well you know… you want to listen to them and so it would be something you’d want to bring up,” said Dundas. “You wouldn’t want to just hide it because our responsibility is to protect the public as realtors.”
So what can you do if you believe a home or property is haunted?
I enlisted the help of two paranormal groups.
Montana Paranormal Research Society has investigated over 100 cases since 2005.
This technology oriented based team uses magnetic field devices, voice recorders and cameras to capture evidence of any paranormal activity.
“So our goal is to see if anything out of the normal is there because that’s what paranormal or you know paranormal is just above the norm anyway so it’s hard to see if there’s evidence of a ghost or anything like that,” said MPRS founder Dustin Benner.
After an investigation, the crew reviews roughly 80 to 100 hours of footage.
“So when we’re dealing with the evidence as far as we’re concerned is finding something that doesn’t match with what we’re looking at,” said Benner. “Whether that’s finding a voice that shouldn’t have been there that is or a strange noise, answers to our questions that we didn’t hear at the time and on rare occasions, video footage.”
While Dustin Benner’s group only documents paranormal activity, Elise Adams, founder of Bozeman Paranormal specializes in cleansing homes of that problem.
“Even though we have a lot of ghost towns in Montana, we don’t have a lot of haunted locations that are disclosed like with bigger cities, or like bigger states with a bigger population,” said Adams.
In cases where paranormal activity causes destruction to a home, I asked her if it was even possible to obtain property insurance to cover the damages?
“Not really unfortunately, because of the reason that they can’t claim that a ghost has been breaking my stuff in my house,” said Adams. “But a lot of places won’t believe that like you have floating plates crashing into the wall.”
So with that all said, where does that put a seller who claims their property is haunted?
A court case from 1991 in New York: Stambovsky V. Ackley finds that you can’t publicly claim a property is haunted at one time and then decline to mention that to the buyer at the point of sale; doing so could leave the seller vulnerable to a lawsuit.
Now in the spirit of this story, many insurance companies do offer “ghost insurance” but it’s not what you think.
Ghost insurance is a worker’s compensation policy where the owner is excluded and there is no other employee under the company’s payroll.