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Selling a house in New Jersey? If it's haunted, you better say so


Haunted houses — they’re real — in real estate, that is. New York and New Jersey are two of only four states in the country, along with Massachusetts and Minnesota, that address the issue of paranormal activity when a house is being sold.

Deanne Rymarowicz, a lawyer with the National Association of Realtors, said on this side of the Hudson, when it comes to ghosts, there’s no hiding under a white sheet.

“If a buyer asks specifically, ‘Is this house haunted?’ then the real estate agent and the seller need to answer that question truthfully,” she said.

A haunted house, said Rymarowicz, is serious business in New Jersey.

“This is really interesting that New Jersey specifically calls out ‘A property purportedly being haunted,’ an exact quote from the statute, is a ‘psychological impairment’ to the property,” she said.

New York law, she said, is not as clear. It’s more like Let The Buyer Beware. But even so, she added, Ghostbusters have been called, specifically to the town of Nyack.

“The seller had basically broadcast this home as the site of paranormal activity, they had said in the press, in Reader’s Digest magazine, that they lived in a haunted house. It was included in local tours, touted to be a haunted house,” said Rymarowicz.

But when it came time to sell, the owners didn’t tell about the ghosts they had advertised as being in residence, and claimed they didn’t have to. So who ya gonna call? Your lawyer. A court upheld the right of the buyer to know everyone who lives there.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.