The movie concept of a couple buying a new house only to hear mysterious footsteps at 3 A.M. is not new to us. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those times when you can say, “It’s just a movie.” It’s true—these things happen in real life.
Take for example an account shared by Roy Widing, a real estate agent in Oregon. In the story, one of their clients reported paranormal occurrences in the house since they moved in. Both the real estate agent and the buyer did not know this, so they did some asking around. On the buyer’s side, the neighbors told them about a death that happened in the house years back. The real estate agent, on the other hand, consulted the seller and got the same information.
What About Disclosure?
From the situation of Wilding’s client, one would ask, “Shouldn’t the seller or the real estate agent disclose such information?” Well, the answer is tricky.
There are states that require disclosure of this information while some don’t. The keyword here is “stigmatized”. It means that apart from the physical structure of the house, there are some details that may deter buyers. A house is considered “stigmatized” when there have been unnatural deaths, drug-related ventures, murders, etc.
Stigmatized properties do not only pose a problem during the process of selling, but they also lessen the value of the property. In Hong Kong, the value of a unit where a murder occurred decreases by more than 35%, the same floor almost 20%, and the same estate by more than 5%. Before taking out a multifamily loan, researching on these details is necessary to ensure the value of the property.
While sellers and real estate agents are required to notify buyers of structural issues, ghosts are not part of the legal deal. However, some real estate agents brave this challenge and tell prospective buyers because of ethical reasons.
Who Would Buy a Haunted House?
No one can really blame the sellers, though, as 49% of prospective buyers would never purchase a haunted house. Only 18% said it wouldn’t matter while the rest would consider the purchase under various conditions—such as a price cut (15%), a larger kitchen (9%), and a better neighborhood (9%).
There’s not an absolute zero market for a haunted house. An example would be the odd properties in Salem where rooms for rituals, sacrifices, and the occult attract an interesting market. Then, there are always the millennials. A survey by Clever Real Estate found that 24.17% of millennials would buy a haunted house. This percentage is 13 times higher than that of boomers.
Whom You Are Going to Call?
Well, you can try the ghostbusters. Maybe the Catholic Church.
If you buy a haunted house because of undisclosed information, a tangible and realistic course of action is to review the law. Consider checking your state’s law on stigmatized properties. At the same time, go over the documents you signed in relation to the property. There might have been some details that you overlooked regarding this feature of the house. If you’re lucky enough to find a loophole, you can take the legal course of action to save yourself.
Meta title: The Spooky Properties in the Real Estate Market
Meta description: Believe it or not, there are haunted houses on sale. Real estate agents and sellers won’t tell you, but millennials most most likely buy them.