Must a Haunted House be Disclosed to a Buyer?

It depends. Is the HOUSE haunted or is the OCCUPANT haunted?
Story One: “My ghost has been a peaceful apparition showing herself on several occasions over the past 40+ years.  She has followed me from the deep south to the Pacific Northwest to the eastern seaboard to Europe and back to the bay area. She was last seen in approximately the spring of 2001. My former wife and step-daughter also claimed to have seen her, or at least her dress. She wore a white flowing gown. We couldn’t see her face and she’s never been a scary presence to me, just unusual…”
Story Two: “Both Ray* and I felt his presence. He touched Ray on his shoulder one night while I was in bed, next to him, sound asleep. It was on the opposite side of the bed, so it couldn’t have been me! The dogs would run up and down the hallway, barking at nothing at times. One night, Ray sat down with the ghost and told him that this is now our house, and we would take care of it. After that, the dogs would run down the hallway, and not bark, but sit at attention, wag their tails, etc. I didn’t feel his presence much after that.”
STORY THREE: “When we were looking for our first house, we were brought to a little 2 bed/1 bath in San Leandro. It was a couple blocks from the railroad tracks, so I didn’t think it would be good, but the agent insisted that we at least look at the house. It had bars in the front windows, which was something I did NOT want. The agent insisted that they were the “right kind” of bars — the ones you can release from the inside. So we went inside the house. Immediately, upon crossing the threshold, I felt like a little woman was yelling in my face. It wasn’t in English–possibly in Portuguese? I didn’t understand the words, but she DID NOT want us in HER house! She was in my face, no matter which way I turned! I said to my husband, “Do you –” and he said, “I’ve broken out in hives! She doesn’t want us here!” The agent had gone ahead into the house and was calling from the kitchen. But I didn’t want to go any further! She was too angry! The agent walked us through the house, and we dutifully went past each room, then got the H#%# out of there!”
To disclose or not to disclose? Our legal counsel says, “Your question has been the topic of many discussions in our department. Some of our attorneys do not believe in ghosts and do not think disclosure is generally needed. However, even the skeptics agree that if a house is known by people in the neighborhood as the “haunted house”, that stigmatization should be disclosed. I am one of those atorneys who think that ghosts may exist, so I tend to recommend disclosure. Our general advice is, “when in doubt, disclose”. I don’t know of any specific cases on this topic, and I doubt if there’s a definitive way to determine whether a property is haunted.”
*Name has been changed to protect the parties involved.

An image of a cartoonish ghost.
Image via Wikipedia
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To Broker or Not to Broker, That is the ?

"He Said, She Said"

I’ve now been in the “world of real estate” for the past year.  Some interesting lessons learned along the way to be sure;  not the academic kind but the bumps and bruises kind. 
She Said:  “You should  start working on your broker’s license in case I kick the bucket”. 
He Said:  “Pleasant.  What a motivator”. 
She Said:  “Seriously…since we own the business together, you need to be able to run it.  You need to be a broker.”
He (thinking):  Wait a second…what happened to the team concept where we bring complementary but unique talentsOk, guys, we have all retreated to our caves and forgotten our better halves when killing our dinner, yes?  I guess we aren’t always a team due to my knuckle dragging handicap and frequent inability to convert grunts into meaningful articulation.
See, I am currently what I guess you could call an apprentice (sales associate)…I know just enough to be dangerous. 
My broker (and wife) work hard to keep me in line, which is no small feat.  So, now I am pouring over more Kaplan books for my required five additional real estate courses so I can take the State exam to become a broker.  So then my wife will no longer “lord” over me  (hahaha). 
Stay tuned…this blog is going tokeep me accountable to my goals on this….

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Job Satisfaction

We recently had the opportunity to help a first time home buyer client realize her dream of owning her own home.  This amazing woman is setting a great example for her daughter on how to work hard, save your money, and invest in a home as a place to live, not as a commodity.  The process was new for her, and one of the most satisfying parts of our job is helping people through what is a more and more complex maze of paperwork.  In this case, numerous obstacles were overcome to get the deal done, and she is now the proud new owner of a place she and her family can call home. 
I am sure this story is repeated on a daily basis all around our country, but being personally involved in making it happen gives me incredible satisfaction as well as hope for the continued strength of our wonderful country.  As my Dad used to say, our country and its government aren’t perfect, but it is the best damn system humans have ever created.  Yes, Dad, you were right.   While things get screwed up, people fail, we take things to the extremes, and there will always be those who lie, cheat and steal and still sleep at night, most of us live by a different code.   Thank goodness for people like our client.

No More Meth Lab in the Bath Tub

"He Said, She Said"

We recently had our bathtub refinished in time for Halloween party guests. It no longer looks like a methamphetamine lab as a result of the Mister’s shaving cream eating away at the enamel. Okay-okay, I don’t know what a meth lab looks like but I’m trying to make a point here. I have been blaming my husband for the state of the bathtub.
He Said: “It wan’t my shaving cream’s fault. It is an old bathtub.”
She Said: “Never had the bathtub problem until after we got married!”
He Said: “Right. And the dust-bunnies were never there before I moved in either, were they?”
We spent $625 on refinishing the bathtub.  Assuming the bathtub was refinished in 2004 before the house was purchased, I figure we’ll have another 7 years worth of a “meth lab-free atmosphere”. That equals $7.44 per month for the next 7 years, or sooner if the mister’s shaving cream is the culprit for speeding up the process of enamel disintegration.
We figure we’ll get our money’s worth out of the job before we remodel the whole bathroom!
Note: For those feng-shui fanatics out there, the bathtub is located in the “wealth” section of the ba-gua. So we basically invested in our own financial future.

Haunted House of Prospect Hill (downtown Hayward)

There are some advantages to having an old, weathered house: Throwing an authentic-feeling Halloween party!
Our chapter leadership now has incentive to clean the house and will be hosting the Women’s Council of REALTORS Tri-Cities Chapter’s 1st Annual Halloween Party FUNdraiser!
The event will be on Monday, October 31st from 6-9 p.m.: $25 for chapter members, $35 for guests
Scare trick-or-treaters!
Drink adult spiked punch!
Gnaw on sinful morsels!
MUST RSVP buy paying in advance online at by October 31st, noon. Admittance at the door without advance reservation will not be allowed since this is at the private residence of chapter members.