Haunted Real Estate
I must say it doesn’t feel like Halloween season if I don’t watch some Ghost Hunters. It helps to get me in the spooky spirit. This combined with all the haunted stories I have heard from family, friends and acquaintances got me thinking: what happens when a realtor is asked to list a haunted house? Is there a market for this?
Turns out, on Monday, October 28th Bernice Ross contributed some of her frightening experiences to Inman News. In this article she details two houses with dark pasts that not only scared her, but also potential buyers. One story centered around the home of a friend of hers. The most intriguing part of this tale is what happened after she decided to sell. Throughout the selling process the escrow officer died from a heart attack, the officer at the title company who was handling the file also had a heart attack, and the buyer’s arm became mysteriously paralyzed. It ended up taking almost a year for her to sell the house.
Stories like these make it hard to believe anyone would actually consider buying a haunted house. I know I would not appreciate these forever house “guests”. However, I may be of the minority. According to realtor.com’s 2013 Haunted Housing Report, 62% of respondents are open to buying a haunted home!
I believe the two main determinations in people’s willingness to live in a haunted house is due to believing a haunted house would be priced lower and perhaps the potential buyer already having experience with haunted real estate. The study noted that 35% of respondents had at one time lived in a home they suspected to be haunted and another 51% have heard experiences about someone else’s haunted home experience.
However, everyone has standards of spooky that would scare them off from the potential sales. Of the respondents who would consider purchasing a haunted home, these were the top occurrences that would scare them away from signing the deal:
- 79% Levitating Objects
- 63% Objects Being Moved From Where They Were Placed
- 63% Ghost Sightings
- 61% Supernatural Sensations
- 61% Flickering Lights/Appliances
- 60% Strange Noises (Footsteps, Door Slamming)
- 34% Warm or Cold Spots
Although these phenomenons can scare away some potential buyers, there are always the few who see this as a plus. These niche buyers are not looking for a discount, but hope things will go bump in the night. Angela Colley detailed some tips on selling a haunted house on realtor.com including:
- Waiting for the right buyer can be better than slashing the asking price.
- Research the home’s past.
- Find someone in the field to help market your house.
- Be ready to tell stories.
In fact, Medium/ Researcher Bonnie Vent hosts a forum on her site helping buyers and sellers of haunted houses find each other. She helped sell the Spreckels Mansion in Coronado for $9 million after two mysterious deaths in 2011. Her site has dozens of listings for haunted houses that detail the activity that is taking place at the house. Many discuss moving objects, flickering lights, their dog’s strange behavior and the effect it has had on their children.
Here are some quotes of the activity inside the houses:
“Husband has seen images walk through, has heard things in cupboards and doors slam, daughters have seen kids and people in home. Lights have just came on. Upstairs bedroom curtain keeps getting moved back like someone is looking out the window. A spindle from an old rocking chair was taken out of the chair and thrown into the 14 ft. ceiling when we were away one afternoon.”
“Two house 'guests': one is kind and makes your arm tingle, the other rushes past. Both are manageable, entertaining.”
What I found interesting was the number of haunted listings being marketed as a great resource for a bed and breakfast. While I may not be the first in line to stay at a haunted hotel I know this could be a lucrative business for all the paranormal lovers out there.
One case in point is this active listing from Bonnie’s site. This featured real haunted house is listed for $239,000 in Epsom, NH and has 3,300 square feet.
The story behind this house’s haunting is that “It was built in 1760 and it has been stated there is a small boy still on the property. There was a lot of activity that occurred when a 5 year old clairvoyant girl was staying in the house. She said there was a boy who would tease her and play mean games with her in the closet. She told us his name was Crystal. Research shows there was a Chris Towle who died of the plague in 1832 at the age of 8. Voices have been heard, unexplained touching and many cold spots. Doors have rattled, music, lights and TV turning on by itself. There have been sightings of a woman in a blue dress and dishes rattling in the night in the in-law apartment. Doors will be opened that were closed.”
Would you ever buy a haunted home?