How do you sell a home with a perhaps haunted past?

Let’s say you’ve got a property with a stigmatized past. The kind of home I’m referring to is one wherein an event such as murder or suicide took place.

I’ve actually got a personal story to share with you on this subject. But first, I’d like to cover some general information about stigmatized homes.

Of course, we all have different sensitivities. Variations such as culture and mindset can have a big impact on how people view death. Some people are bothered by a death having occurred in a home regardless of cause, while others are more deterred only by particularly gruesome passings.

So, what do you do when a house has a dark past? How can you handle listing a property that may be stigmatized due to past events? I’d like to now move on to tell you about my own experience with this situation.

Sadly, a past tenant in a rental property of mine passed as a result of suicide. After I and everyone else involved had a chance to process the events, we ultimately decided to sell the property.

“It’s important that people don’t feel blindsided by an unexpected fact about a property they intend to buy.”

When we first put the property on the market, we listed it at full market price. However, I did speak with a few attorneys about the subject of disclosure. I didn’t want to hide what had happened.

As a rule of thumb, one should generally disclose any information that may dissuade someone from buying a property. It’s important that people don’t feel blindsided by an unexpected fact about a property they intend to buy. As a way to address this, I wrote a letter explaining the circumstances to the property’s future buyer.

After listing the home, I received two offers at fair market value. However, once I shared the letter, each of these buyers decided against moving forward. This was certainly something I expected.

I tried for some time after that to continue to market the property at that value, but ultimately dropped the price. Once I did, I received many, many more offers. Even after I showed them the letter, the new buyers that I had brought in didn’t care. Because of the high level of interest dropping the price had created, I was ironically able to bump the price up to nearly as high as I had listed it to begin with.

From my experience, I’ve found that sometimes the best route is to move the property into a different price point. You can sell a house with a past. It all comes down to the way you market and to how sensitive a buyer is to a certain subject.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.