Who doesn’t like a good ghost story?  The tradition of a good scare fuels our holiday parties, decorations and even the movies released this time of year.

A few scripts are just too far-fetched to be believable-- even for Hollywood.  Sadly for a few eager homebuyers, they were all too real.   

Takeaways:

  • Houses frequently hold secrets, some can be frightening

  • Discerning potential issues prior to closing is imperative

  • An experienced agent and a thorough inspection can help protect your family

 

Consider a home sold in a small town in Idaho.  

It seemed like a great deal, and other than a strange taste to the well water and a few unfounded rumors a great value.   Upon moving in, the new owners quickly noticed some strange sounds coming from their walls.  It turned out it wasn’t mice, but the opposite.  A crawl space containing a hibernation chamber for 1,000's of snakes.  Snakes in such great numbers that they had polluted the well on the property.  The discovery that could have been unearthed via a thorough inspection. Ultimately the issues were too great and led the buyers to walk away from the home.

Then there’s the Cannon Falls acreage that seemingly had all of its papers in order. Only after closing did a few strange things suddenly start to add up.  There were a few windows painted black, a shed with a ventilation system that locked from the inside and (discovered after closing) some hastily discarded chemical bottles.  You guessed it, a meth lab.  One that was never busted by police or documented but will take $100,000 to clean up.   

Or the historic fixer-upper in Wisconsin that upon renovation attempts uncovered a human skull and ancient burial ground.  

Or the hidden tunnel found in a South Carolina home, complete with toxic mold and a creepy note from the previous owner.

While these stories are extreme, they are also mostly preventable.  In each case the homes were priced well below market value and either came along with questionable oddities that required follow-up or actual documented issues.  An experienced agent could have done some due diligence and likely unearthed the truth.

Less Extreme but Just as Scary…

Other more common scenarios present issues that while less headline-worthy, could prove just as costly to remedy 

  • Non-Conforming Improvements – Do-it-yourself remodeling can add value, but also offers a chance to cut corners.  Determining if the previous owners pulled permits for their work and followed safety code requirements is key.  
  • Fire Hazards- Fireplaces can add charm and serve as a cost effective supplement to heating, but they are also prove a large potential hazard.  A proper certification must be completed prior to use. 
  • Hidden Water Damage- That cluttered basement you saw at the open house might be the sign of a disorganized seller, or an orchestrated attempt to hide the truth.  
  • Carefully Worded Disclosures- Homeowners and their agents can get pretty creative in the way issues are worded on disclosures.  Pests, criminal activity, water intrusion and foundation issues are but a few of the potential hazards. 

A seller looking to be out by winter may cringe at a contingent sale.The solution to counteract all of these potential issues is to work with an experienced agent.  By engaging a professional who has reviewed hundreds of sales agreements and disclosures, and seen thousands of homes, you can help protect your family.  

A good  agent will call out potential issues, carefully review all documents and help oversee a thorough inspection. The net result of their in-depth knowledge and care will be confidence that any home you select will meet your needs now and for many Halloweens to come. 

Ready to get started?  A free consultation with our team can help you understand the market, refine your search and take action.  No one understands the west metro market better and help is just a click away.  Or call us at 612-656-9647