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A home purchaser who reneged on a contract to buy a house because it was rumored to be haunted, must forfeit his $32,000 down payment, according to a New York Supreme Court.

The court ruled that, with respect to the seller's duty to reveal all material facts about the property, the doctrine of caveat emptor -- let the buyer beware -- still applies to New York real estate transactions. The court was not persuaded by the California case of a buyer who sued the seller for failure to disclose the murder of a woman and her four children in the house.

The purchaser decided to back out of the deal for the $650,000 house after he learned of its ghostly reputation from a local architect. The seller of the home has written a magazine article in 1977 about three ghosts that had frequented her home, describing them as "gracious, thoughtful, -- only occasionally frightening -- and thoroughly entertaining."

For further information regarding real estate closings, send a stamped (.45) 4"x9 1/2 " self-addressed envelope with a request for pamphlet "R".

Robert Friedman is an attorney with offices in Akron, Williamsville and Buffalo. If you would like a question of general interest relating to law and real estate answered in this column, send it to: Robert Friedman, 74 Main St., P.O. Box 31-L, Akron, NY 14001-0031.

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