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Pierced

Creepy advice

Selling a home that has unwanted company?

By Charles P. Pierce
November 7, 2010

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Dear Robert Shapiro: I like this online legal document thing of yours that you cofounded called LegalZoom. I like it so much that I used it to help write my will. (I first came to admire you when you helped zoom that Simpson fellow legally out from under the murder rap.) I check back on the site from time to time to see what legal matters are circulating around The Universe of Untapped Plaintiffs. So I was visiting the other day and saw that someone had updated a post from a few years back and wanted to answer the question of whether the seller of a house has a legal obligation to tell the buyer that the house is haunted. I admit, this is not something that ever had occurred to me, not even in this current housing market, haunted as it is by the Ghosts of Fraudsters Past, Present, and Future. The advice out of your shop is that, acting out of an abundance of caution, the seller should fully disclose exactly how many objects in the house, at one time or another, have taken to flying by themselves and how many pictures have eyes that follow you across the room. Good tip, though I have to admit that if I were buying a house and the person selling it to me started telling me, in detail, about all the ghosts that resided there, the first thing I’d think is “Hmm, perhaps this fellow will sell me his house for this bag of magic beans I have with me.”

Charles P. Pierce / cpierce@globe.com

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