Should you warn a potential buyer that your house is haunted?
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, this time of year always gets us talking about the supernatural, and haunted houses in particular.
In America, hunting for ghosts, exorcisms and everything else related to the paranormal is much more popular than in the UK. But even there, many haunted houses are left standing empty. Although people love to tour haunted homes and hear ghost stories, it seems that they aren’t confident enough to actually buy a property with supernatural beings lurking inside. However, others actively seek out haunted houses to buy and live in.
So, with that in mind, should you tell someone interested in buying your haunted home that it comes with a few supernatural beings included in the asking price?
Richard Carpenter, from Fine & Country St Neots, has some advice. “In my experience a property being haunted can, and has, put people off buying a property. It’s also the same if a property is near a graveyard. Although enthusiasts may be drawn to a haunted property, this sort of buyer is few and far between!”
In the USA, sellers are much more likely to say that they think their property is haunted. There are lengthy lists online of eerie manor houses for sale where horrific crimes or deaths have happened. Even people who don’t believe in ghosts may find themselves unsettled to know that terrifying things have taken place in the property years previously.
Karen Titler, from Fine & Country Colchester, recently had a property on the market that was rumoured to be haunted. She was about to have the house featured in a newspaper, but the sellers quickly decided that they did not want any potential buyers to know about the property’s spooky connections.
“Our clients were worried that telling potential buyers that the property was haunted could literally scare someone away,” she explains. “I can understand their concern as there are many people out there terrified of the supernatural – but at the same time it could also be a selling point for others.”
But do estate agents have a responsibility to tell the buyer that the house they are interested in could be haunted?
Richard Carpenter says: “It is also important to consider consumer protection regulations when selling a potentially haunted home.”
If you’re worried about buying a property with paranormal activity included, then it’s worth asking specific questions before you sign. Although asking if your dream house is rumoured to have ghosts may seem irrational, it’s the best way to make a buyer confess to a haunting before you’re moved in. It’s better to feel foolish at this stage than to end up living in a horror house with ghostly screeching keeping you awake in the early hours.
Karen Titler agrees with this, and would never specifically lie about a property’s haunted connections. “If the buyer asks the specific question in relation to the history of the property and we were aware of any such circumstances then we would be honest and tell them what we knew,” she says.
So, there’s no clear right or wrong answer. Telling buyers that a house is haunted will put off a lot of people, but you might find a keen buyer from hundreds of miles away who is desperate to live in the same house as some ghosts. But then beware of selling them a false promise; could they be angry if the paranormal apparitions do not appear? The majority of buyers are likely to want a peaceful night of sleep in their new home, rather than being kept awake by angry spirits, so perhaps it’s best to keep your suspicions to yourself when selling a haunted home.
Whatever you decide, have a happy Halloween!
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