Haunted house listings tempt one in three, scare off more


One in three homeowners, 32 percent, say they “ain’t afraid of no ghosts” and would consider buying a home perceived to be haunted.

Another 33 percent said “maybe,” but 35 percent aren’t about to live with things that go bump in the night, according to Realtor.com’s “Haunted Real Estate Survey.”

Conducted from October 1, 2012 to October 3, 2012, the survey scared up responses from 1,910 Realtor.com consumers.

Here are the questions asked and how they were answered.

Would you ever consider purchasing a home that was perceived to be “haunted?”

  • Yes – 32 percent.
  • Maybe – 33 percent.
  • No – 35 percent.

If your home has a reputation for ectoplasmic activity, you should disclose it, even if law doesn’t require it. Disclosing paranormal activity, as well as more tangible stigmas could certainly cause your home’s value to drop, but failing to disclose them could cost you a much more horrific liability suit.

“Learn the requirements of your state, board  and  broker if you want to have a ghost of a chance in selling it,” said Mike Netzel with the Mike Netzel Team – Keller Williams Realty Pittsburgh, PA.

How much would a “haunted” home have to be discounted from its market value for you to decide to purchase it?

  • I would pay more than market value – 2 percent
  • I would pay full market value of the home – 15 percent.
  • I would pay 1-10 percent less than market value – 12 percent.
  • I would pay 11-20 percent less than market value – 17 percent.
  • I would pay 21-30 percent less than market value – 18 percent.
  • I would pay 31-50 percent less than market value – 19 percent.
  • I would pay 51 percent or more, less than market value – 17 percent.

“I found a few of the results surprising, such as that anyone would pay more for a haunted house. Many owners of haunted habitats seem to think that their home is worth more because of the ghosts, but I’ve never spoken with a buyer who agreed with that,” said Mary Pope-Handy, a real estate agent with Sereno Group, Los Gatos, CA and publisher of the Haunted Real Estate Blog.

What’s more, default on the mortgage of a haunted house and it gets, well, repossessed.

What rumored spooky happenings would not stop you from purchasing a home, assuming the home is otherwise a good fit (Select all that apply)?

  • Warm or cold spots – 62 percent.
  • Strange noises (footsteps, doors slamming) – 48 percent.
  • Objects being moved from where they were placed – 44 percent.
  • Flickering lights/appliances – 45 percent.
  • Strange sensations – 43 percent.
  • Ghost sightings – 41 percent.
  • Levitating objects – 36 percent.
  • Strange voices – 35 percent.
  • All of the above would stop me from purchasing a home – 24 percent.

“Not so intuitive is that 48 percent of home buyers wouldn’t mind the noise associated with a spooky home. I’d have thought that would be the No. 1 cause for aversion,” said Pope Handy.

Would you ever consider purchasing a home if you found out someone had passed away in it (assuming the home is otherwise a good fit)?

  • Yes, regardless of how the person passed away – 41 percent.
  • Yes, if the person passed away of natural cause – 41 percent.
  • No – 18 percent.

Most states’ disclosure laws don’t deal with the forms the deceased take in the after life, but they do address death as a stigma you must disclose if it occurred within three years of the sale. Trade associations often suggest disclosing any death, no matter how long ago it occurred, especially if the seller asks.

The one exception is death caused by AIDS. Federal law defines AIDS as a disability and such a disclosure could be deemed discriminatory.

If you decided to purchase a “haunted” home, would you seek professional help to eliminate the spooky happenings associated with the home?

  • Yes – 11 percent.
  • Maybe, I would need to see if they bothered me – 62 percent.
  • No – 27 percent.

But, who you gonna call?

“If you are afraid, take a tip from an old voodoo priestess I know,” said Della Neely-Stout of Camellia Real Estate Group in Baton Rouge, LA.

“Put salt in your left pocket and sugar in your right. The evil spirits will be repelled and the friendly ghosts will know you are a purveyor of good juju,” Neely-Stout advised.

Read more “News that really haunts home!”

About the author

DeadlineNews.Com's Publisher, Executive Editor and Founder, Broderick Perkins, was the first real estate journalist to manage a daily newspaper's online real estate section. He parlayed more than 30 years of old-school journalism into a digital real estate news service offering "News that really hits home!" -- the Silicon Valley bootstrap, DeadlineNews.Com. Network with Broderick Perkins on LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, Google+ and the Bloomberg Business Exchange.

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