You think your house is haunted and you want out. Maybe your home even has a scary phantom voice that is commanding you to get out. Either way, you are probably concerned that it will be difficult to sell a house that is haunted. Thankfully, you are in luck. Realtor.com has recently conducted a survey that should help you and your real estate professional come up with a strategy that will get you top dollar for your cursed listing.
Awhile back I was curious whether sellers were required to notify interested buyers if their house is haunted. What I found was that it is debatable. According to Arizona law, where I practice real estate, you need to disclose material facts or any information that may affect the value of the home. If the house is haunted, it may not be an ideal place to live, but then again, some of you may be screaming at the computer screen, “Ghosts are not real!” Good point. It would be difficult to prove whether a home is haunted. That being the case, if you believe it is, and you have shared that belief, especially publicly, you should probably disclose it.
The term I have heard some use is to disclose if the house is “notoriously haunted.” I love that term.
In my previous article, I wrote about how a seller in New York got sued and lost because she had talked to the media about her house being haunted but did not disclose it when she sold the home. Her house was “notoriously haunted” by her own doing, but it is still a subjective term. For this reason, in my previous article, I recommended disclosure.
I recently got feedback from fellow real estate agents on this topic, and one salesperson told me she and her broker currently have a listing they decided to disclose is haunted. They felt it was better to be safe than sorry. Of course, their concern now is whether it will have an adverse effect on the sale.
Another great haunted real estate story I got was from an agent in my brokerage. She says she sold a home in which two men had died on two separate occasions in the home’s history. They did not disclose this, and, at least in Arizona, homeowners do not have to disclose deaths in the house. The house was sold and sometime had passed when she received a call from the buyer’s agent. The agent asked if she knew about anything that had happened in the home because one of the new residents was seeing a man outside of her window at night!
Queue scary shriek sound effect! AHHHH!
Had they known, or believed, their house was haunted by a man who had died there in the past and had disclosed that, does not necessarily mean they would not have found a buyer. Another agent responded he had sold an alleged haunted house to a local occult bookstore owner who is very happy with the haunted home.
That is a win-win situation if I’ve ever heard one, but there are only so many occult bookstore owners to go around. For the rest of us, we may need to work with our real estate agent to come up with a strategy, and according to some new info from Realtor.com, your real estate agent may need to do some wheeling and dealing, but selling your haunted house can be done.
Someone at Realtor.com noticed I had written about real estate and haunted houses and clued me into a survey just posted today. In the press release, they wrote, “Many people are open to living with ghosts year-round, especially when a few bumps in the night lead to more home for their money or the chance to live in a better neighborhood, according to the results of a Haunted Real Estate survey released today by realtor.com®, a leading online real estate destination operated by News Corp., subsidiary Move Inc.”
Out of 1000 people surveyed, 33% said they are OK living in a haunted house. This is good and bad. It shows that there are buyers out there for your haunted house, but not as many as for a non-haunted one. This is surprising given that many people do not believe in ghosts, but even if you do not think there are such things as ghosts if someone says a house is haunted, why risk it, right?
25% of those surveyed said they might live in a haunted house and 42% said no way.
But here is the interesting part, most were not enthusiastic about living in a haunted house, but they would do it under the right circumstances. For instance, 40% said they would do it if they could get a price reduction on the home. 35% said they would do it if it meant they could afford to live in a better neighborhood, and 29% said they would live in a haunted house if they could get more bedrooms.
As for the occult bookstore owners and the like, only 8% of those surveyed said they would need no extra perks to purchase a house that is allegedly haunted.
Here is something else you will want to consider when selling your haunted home. People are more open to living with certain types of paranormal phenomena than others. For instance, 48% said they would be OK living in a home that has cold or hot spots. The idea here is that ghosts can suck the energy out of the room and cause it to be very cold. I am not familiar with the hot thing, so maybe that has something to do with those fiery demon types. Still, as long as the ghosts only make it hot or cold, quite a few people can handle that.
45% said they would be OK with strange noises, 39% were good with strange feelings, and 35% could handle “unexplained shadows.” What people liked the least were levitating objects or the feeling of being touched. Only 20% were OK with that, which to me still seems like a high number.
Now when it comes to a potentially haunted house, meaning someone has died there, but there are no reported levitations or hot or cold spots, many more can deal with that. 47% of those surveyed were OK with that. 26% said no way, but in Arizona, homeowners do not have to disclose if someone died in a home they are selling. These people may prefer not knowing anyway. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, but like in the story above, it may look in your window at night.
Having said all of this, another thing to keep in minds is that many people believe they have already lived in a haunted house, so it is no big deal. 28% of those surveyed said they had lived in a haunted house before. When asked what made them believe the home was haunted, 58% said strange noises, 51% said strange feelings, and 40% claimed to have seen moving objects, or experienced objects disappearing.
That is a lot of people! More than 1 out of 4 people have lived in a haunted house before? No wonder the ghost hunter shows are so popular. Too bad more people don’t catch the ghosts on video.
So, what does this mean for the haunted home seller? Well, many people essentially said they would live in a haunted house if the price is right. That means if you list a haunted house, unless you get lucky and get an occult bookstore owner or one of the 8% who are okay with it, you should list the home expecting to have to drop the price for those who want some incentive to overlook the wobbling chandeliers and creaks and moans at night. Your real estate agent may even need to probe and find out if that is a holdup and what it would take for the prospective buyers to overlook the minor little haunting issue.
As for buyers, this survey reveals something else. If there is a swanky neighborhood you want to live in, but cannot afford, wait for a haunted home in the area to come on the market. You may be able to scoop it up at an excellent price for the area. You have to be prepared to share the home with the current non-living residents, or perhaps get the house exorcized, but in the movies that sometimes upsets them. Then the walls bleed. That would be bad.