on the market less than four months.  Bill Higgins of
Prudential Higgins Real Estate in Hillsdale, N. J., says he dropped the
asking price of a house where a man "blew his brains out all over the
wall."  It sold quickly.
   Ms. Scott, the Beverly Hills broker, says she once saw a hand draw
back a curtain on the third floor of an otherwise empty, though
allegedly haunted, house she was showing to a customer.  "If a house has
its drawbacks, it sells," she says.  "In this town everything sells."
   Tell it to Mrs. Sylvain, of the haunted house in Cripple Creek.  While
her ghost, Ed, hasn't proven as good a salesman as he is a roommate, she
doesn't blame the poltergeist for scaring off buyers.  In fact, she
recommends his company.  "I never felt alone in that house," Mrs. Sylvain
says.  "I actually miss him."
   ---
Stigma Statutes  
   Disclosure laws vary from state to state, and you should seek legal
advice prior to selling or buying a property.  
   -- States requiring sellers to disclose physical conditions such as
roof damage, structural defects or other problems:  Alaska, California,
Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky,
Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio,
Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas,
Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.  
   -- States exempting brokers from disclosing property stigmas such as
crimes, suicides or HIV status of a previous occupant:  California,
Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, D. C., Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois,
Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New
Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode
Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin,
Wyoming, Virginia.
   Crime is a far more common issue.  Sometimes a home's notoriety can
attract buyers.  Other times it can hinder a sale.  The Menendez house was
appraised at $4.8 million but sold for about $3.6 million.  The
Brentwood, Calif., townhouse where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald
Goldman were slain has been on the market for a year with only a few
lookers.  Jeffrey Hyland of Hilton & Hyland Real Estate in Beverly Hills,
who sold O. J. Simpson his well-known Rockingham Drive house, says that
shortly after the murders, "there were people phoning me asking if it
was available."
   Brokers say the smartest strategy is to be frank about a property's
history and price accordingly, especially in full-disclosure states.
That can help a sale, since many people aren't spooked by a house's
history.
   "Normally it's not the type of thing that people are going to put at
the top of their lists," says Philip Lapatin, legal counsel for the
Greater Boston Real Estate Board.  "They're more likely to ask about the
schools and whether the roof leaks.  Not whether it's haunted."
   But if a stigma becomes public, it can help a sale.  The Menendez
place was on the market less than four months.  Bill Higgins of
Prudential Higgins Real Estate in Hillsdale, N. J., says he dropped the
asking price of a house where a man "blew his brains out all over the
wall."  It sold quickly.
   Ms. Scott, the Beverly Hills broker, says she once saw a hand draw
back a curtain on the third floor of an otherwise empty, though
allegedly haunted, house she was showing to a customer.  "If a house has
its drawbacks, it sells," she says.  "In this town everything sells."
   Tell it to Mrs. Sylvain, of the haunted house in Cripple Creek.  While
her ghost, Ed, hasn't proven as good a salesman as he is a roommate, she
doesn't blame the poltergeist for scaring off buyers.  In fact, she
recommends his company.  "I never felt alone in that house," Mrs. Sylvain
says.  "I actually miss him."
   ---
Stigma Statutes  
   Disclosure laws vary from state to state, and you should seek legal
advice prior to selling or buying a property.  
   -- States requiring sellers to disclose physical conditions such as
roof damage, structural defects or other problems:  Alaska, California,
Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky,
Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio,
Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas,
Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.  
   -- States exempting brokers from disclosing property stigmas such as
crimes, suicides or HIV status of a previous occupant:  California,
Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, D. C., Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois,
Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New
Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode
Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin,
Wyoming, Virginia.

                                                 
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