I was doing some research on a different blog topic and I came across an article in the National Association of Realtors(R) archive on listing haunted houses. Me being me, I HAD to read this article. I have never had to list a haunted house and I don’t feel I know exactly what a haunted house is. My analytical mind says there is always some explanation for things, but the other part of my brain says that kind of thinking is too limited and there is so much I don’t know about to make that call.
In starting my research for this topic I began by asking Agents: would you sell a listing that is haunted and if your state didn’t require disclosure, what would you disclose to Buyers? I asked Buyers: if you learned the house was haunted would you still live there. Many agents said they would still disclose “happenings” in the house. The majority of the Buyers said they wouldn’t buy a haunted house, but if they found out their current home was haunted they wouldn’t leave if the ghosts were friendly.
I did call some agents in the Southeast to see if they could help me understand the pros and cons of listing a haunted house, but to my surprise none of the people I spoke to have ever listed one. I just thought all the agents in any historic city in the Southeast had to experience it at one point or another! (being funny). I was directed to a site that seems to find Buyers and Sellers of haunted houses, kind of like a haunted house brokering of sorts.
Some seem to pay a premium for a well publicized haunted home. Lizzie Borden’s home is now a bed and breakfast and they even have ghost cams where you can watch from the safety of your own home for any paranormal activity. In 2010 both the house from the movie Amityville Horror and the house Joel Rifkin, serial killer, brought his victims home to were on the market.
Here in Arizona a haunted house is a Stigmatized Property, so like a suicide or murder in the home, it does not have to be disclosed, but if questioned about a possible incident it does have to be reported. I would personally recommend any client to disclose upfront what they see or hear happening in the house and let the buyer find out on their own what that means to them and if it is something they can live with. There are some things you can do to “clean” a house of spirits, it involves prayer, burning sage and a few other things, but it seem to be pretty effective. Lastly, I would prefer to take a haunted listing than a short sale listing . Just kidding!
So I am curious:
- in a competitive market would you rather: wait to buy a short sale or would you be ok moving into a proclaimed haunted house that is available in 30 days?
- as an agent what would you disclose upfront if your Seller told you their house is haunted or wait to see if a Buyer asks?
- have you ever listed a house that was haunted? What were the pros and cons?
(BTW – thank you Mike Benton for helping me with the title of the blog:))