The fact is that in many places a renter or seller is not legally required to notify anyone about a house's gory history unless it relates to a material defect. Last year, a Pennsylvania court ruled that homeowners and real estate agents are not required to disclose to potential buyers if killings took place there years earlier.
The decision stemmed from a Delaware woman who bought a home only to later discover that a murder-suicide had occurred there a year earlier. She claimed that she never would have bought the home had she known of the deaths and that her home's tarnished reputation amounted to a material defect akin to a leaky roof or broken furnace. The judges disagreed.
While some people would refuse to live in a place where a murder had been committed (or ghosts were reputed to dwell), others are eager to move in. Many real estate agents say they have clients who are eager to live in a haunted home.
An ABC News story notes that "There are buyers out there that think it's cool to own a home that may have ghosts,' real estate agent Cindi Hagley told ABC News' '20/20.' Based in California, Hagley runs Past Life Homes, specializing in the selling of so-called 'stigmatized properties,' and that includes haunted houses. 'Right now we are in a seller's market in almost all of northern California,' Hagley said. 'You can have a dead body swinging from the chandelier, and I'm still going to have ten offers on the phone.' Hagley said plenty of houses for sale come with supposed tenants of the supernatural type, who have allegedly lived there for hundreds of years.... Even after telling potential buyers that the house is haunted, Hagley said many are still interested. 'Some don't care. Some expect a huge discount,' said Hagley. A Realtor.com survey found that 62 percent of Americans would consider buying a haunted house, while 35 percent think they've lived in a haunted house."