It’s one of those strange coincidences. The Real Estate section of the Sunday New York Times runs this story: Some Buyers Regret Not Asking: Anyone Die Here?
It can be upsetting to discover that a residence was the site of a murder or suicide. Others see it as a chance for a bargain.
The timing is uncanny for Baristaville, not only because of recent stories about Glen Ridge’s own Tom Cruise living in a haunted house in Beverly Hills, but also as we learn that the home of Joan Galligan is up for sale. On the market for $599,000, the pretty three-bedroom, tree-shaded home on a quiet street in Glen Ridge has been on the market for a little over two weeks. From the Times…
Today, a home associated with a murder or suicide can become what some brokers call a stigmatized property. So can homes reputed to have a resident ghost. Although they are free of physical defects like leaky roofs or lead paint, such properties can so spook potential buyers that they linger on the market and command less than market value.
The article addresses the fact that for residents of older homes, it’s naive not to think that someone, somewhere along the way, has died in your home. And legally, you don’t have to be told.
Just as in New York, sellers in New Jersey are not required to tell buyers about a death on a property, or a rumor of a haunted house. “If it doesn’t harm the property, under no circumstances do you have to report it,” said Adam Leitman Bailey, who practices real estate law in New York and New Jersey.
Indeed, tales of death and resale end in various ways, not all of them unpleasantly. After living in her brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant for two years, Danielle Cash, a broker who specializes in town house sales, learned from a friend and neighbor that the previous owner of her home had died there.
“I was freaked out,” said Ms. Cash, founder and president of Abode Real Estate, which is located in her town house. “I said, ‘You waited two years to tell me this?’ ”
But when neighbors and churchgoers regaled her with stories about how beloved the prior owner was, she came to realize that it was not such a grave matter.
“If he was a nightmare and died in the house, I would have been freaked out,” Ms. Cash said. “I really do think energy lives in houses.”
So we ask — do you believe a violent death or suicide in a home weighs more than the collective positive energy and memories of the folks that live there?