KIM COOPER: Haunted houses

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Disclosure laws in real estate require disclosure of “adverse material facts” about a property. Among those facts might be radon gas measured in excess of government tolerances, leaks, mold or any condition that, “would significantly affect the desirability or value of the property to a reasonable person” as defined by the Idaho Legislature. The items described then can definitely diminish a properties value, but at this time of year, with Halloween on Tuesday, we want to address the issue of haunted houses and whether a haunting is considered an adverse material fact.

In Idaho, no consideration is given to suspicions of paranormal activity in or on a property. Although we know of one Coeur d’Alene property advertised as “not haunted,” we are unaware of any that are actually marketed as being haunted. It could be though that providing evidence of other worldly activity within or upon a property will generate more interest and a higher price for the seller — at least in some circles.

North Idaho is not without its haunted properties. Two of our local properties have military connections. Originally, The Bates Motel in Coeur d’Alene was officers’ barracks both before and during the second World War. It was later sold and converted into a Roadway Inn. It has been suggested that the author of “Psycho,” Robert Bloch, stayed at the motel sometime in the ’50s and kept note of the name. Other reports imply that the movie came out long before the name changed to the Bates Motel. At any rate, the real life Bates Motel is still considered to be one of the most haunted places in Idaho. Guests have reported getting the unsettling feeling of being watched. They also experience cold spots, strange noises, lights turning on and off, and ashtrays either being knocked off tables or simply moved to another spot when no-one has been in the room. There is no evidence that a knife wielding cross dresser has ever been seen there. The Bates can be yours for just $550,000.

Farragut State Park is one of the most popular vacation spots in North Idaho thanks to its cabins, campsites and a museum in the brig of the old naval training station. Come nightfall the campground at the brig is thought to be one of the most haunted places in Idaho. The park was originally a naval training center and at one time it also served as a military jail or brigade. It was built during World War II in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. History tells us it has been the site of at least one homicide and at least one suicide during World War II.

It is not clear who or what actually haunts the brig, but those who claim to have seen the apparition say it seems to be in some kind of uniform. Not all agree to whether this is a military uniform or prison garb — both of which would be plausible for the building. Maybe the sightings are two or more different ghosts. Visitors and staff have described the ghost in detail saying that he almost seems like a real living person — apart from the fact that he can vanish into thin air. In addition to the apparition, there are also reports of objects flying across the old cells and large, heavy objects being relocated when nobody is known to have been in the building. Of course this property is owned by the government, so isn’t likely to be listed anytime soon.

At least a couple local bed and breakfasts claim guests from another dimension residing on their premises too. Both businesses are for sale if those types of properties and those types of residents interest you.

For the rest of us, it’s scary enough thinking about rising interest rates, loss of the mortgage interest deduction or the persistent lack of available inventory. We Realtors are working diligently on those problems.

Trust an expert…call a Realtor. Call your Realtor or visit www.cdarealtors.com to search properties on the Multiple Listing Service or to find a Realtor member who will represent your best interests.

• • •

Kim Cooper is a real estate broker and the spokesman for the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors. Kim and the association invite your feedback and input for this column. You may contact them by writing to the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors, 409 W. Neider, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815 or by calling 208-667-0664.

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