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  • Writer's picturePeter Lamont, Esq.

Unearthed Truths: Exploring Real Estate Law Through "Poltergeist"

Real estate law can sometimes feel like a realm of the unknown, with mysterious terms and ghostly clauses lurking in the shadows. The 1982 cult classic, "Poltergeist," is an eerie backdrop to unearth some cryptic legal principles. When the Freeling family's dream home turns into a nightmarish realm due to an undisclosed cemetery lying beneath, it morphs into a real-life lesson on the importance of disclosure, property defects, and buyer's rights in real estate transactions. Grab your flashlight as we venture into the spooky legal corners of real estate through the lens of "Poltergeist."

Real Estate Disclosure Laws

Unveiling the Tombstone of Disclosure

In real estate, what you don't know can haunt you. Sellers are obligated to disclose known defects or issues concerning the property. The eerie twist in "Poltergeist," where the cemetery is left undisclosed, might send shivers down the spine of any buyer. In many jurisdictions, events or conditions stigmatizing a property, such as a history of haunting, must be disclosed, especially if they impact the property's value. This spooky scenario paints a ghostly picture of the critical importance of disclosure in real estate transactions.

Hidden Horrors: Property Defects

The graveyard lurking beneath the Freeling's home is a sinister example of a latent defect—a problem not visible during a reasonable inspection yet significantly affecting the property's value. While "Poltergeist" dramatizes the impact through supernatural happenings, real-world undisclosed issues can lead to decreased property value and a slew of legal cobwebs. Buyers, beware! Conducting thorough inspections is crucial to exorcise the demons of potential defects, though some may remain shrouded in the shadows.

Summoning Buyer's Rights

Upon the ghastly discovery of undisclosed defects, buyers have a séance of legal recourse. They may seek to rescind the contract, sending the transaction to the afterlife, or pursue damages for the costs incurred in rectifying the defects. The unearthly scenario in "Poltergeist" could give real-world buyers the grounds for a legal crusade against the seller for failure to disclose.


"Poltergeist" whimsically leads us through the haunted halls of real estate law, emphasizing the spectral significance of disclosure, the hidden horrors posed by property defects, and the rights bestowed upon buyers in such transactions. As the Freeling family navigated their ghostly ordeal, real-world buyers and sellers must traverse the legal underworld to ensure a fair and transparent property transaction. When venturing into the realms of real estate, arming oneself with a robust understanding of legal principles and a proton pack of professional advice and skilled legal representation can keep the haunting horrors at bay.

Do you have questions about the legal issues discussed in this post? If so, contact us today at our Bergen County Office. Call Us at (201) 904-2211 or email Us at


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About Peter Lamont, Esq.

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As with any legal issue, it is important that you obtain competent legal counsel before making any decisions about how to respond to a subpoena or whether to challenge one - even if you believe that compliance is not required. Because each situation is different, it may be impossible for this article to address all issues raised by every situation encountered in responding to a subpoena. The information below can guide you regarding some common issues related to subpoenas, but you should consult with an attorney before taking any actions (or refraining from acts) based on these suggestions. Separately, this post will focus on New Jersey law. If you receive a subpoena in a state other than New Jersey, you should immediately seek the advice of an attorney in your state, as certain rules differ in other states.



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