Spooky! Would you live in a haunted house?
Would having a spooky spirit as your roommate bother you? Or are you part of the one-third of consumers who said they would live in a haunted house, or at least consider it, like another 25 percent, according to a recent survey from realtor.com®?
A death in the home doesn’t bother 47 percent of homebuyers, and 27 percent said they would at least consider residing in a home where someone died. However, after reading about the experience of Realtor® Stephanie Vito, who is with Ramus Realty Group in Pottsville, they may reconsider their opinion.
Vito had a spooky experience with a client. “I had taken a listing appointment for an elderly woman in Schuylkill Haven. Her husband had passed away a year ago in the home, peacefully in his sleep. She decided that it was too much to handle on her own and called our agency for an appointment to list,” said Vito. “After we had walked through the home, we were sitting in the kitchen and she started telling me that she would often get phone calls from her husband’s old cell phone number on the landline in the kitchen. The caller ID would have his name and number, but no one would be on the other end. She told me that she felt her husband was ‘checking up on her’ periodically.”
According to his widow, he was doing more than that. Vito continued: “Not putting much thought into it, I changed the subject to the listing contract. At that moment, I heard footsteps above me. It sounded as if someone was pacing. We were the only ones in the home, so I looked over at my seller and she told me, ‘Oh don’t worry that’s just my husband.’”
Yet, more than one-quarter of respondents said they believe they have resided in a haunted home already, and 14 percent think they may have. However, 40 percent said they would require a price reduction to buy a haunted home, and 42 percent would not consider buying a haunted house, regardless of any extra features.
Even if a dead body is included?
Realtor® Robin Paeplow of Century 21 Frontier Realty in McMurray was training a new agent, and the two went on a listing appointment to an abandoned restaurant in a rather remote area. In true horror movie fashion, it was raining and there was no electricity in the bar.
“The other agent was enthusiastically roaming from room to room in the dark, this place was huge, there was old furniture, cobwebs, probably rodents. It was reminiscent of the Bates Motel,” said Paeplow.
The other agent insisted on checking out the basement, despite Paeplow’s objections. “This basement had room after room and as I recall, we either had a pen light or her phone, but not much light to see at all. Each room we entered was freakish, and as we turned to look in the last room, she waved her light, and I jumped and gasped. I saw what I thought was a leg.”
“That young agent heard my gasp, shoved me out of the way and flew up those rickety stairs and bolted out the door. I was left without light to navigate those treacherous stairs. When I finally made it up and out of the basement, there she was standing laughing at the door.”
The “leg” turned out to be part of an old workman’s jumpsuit, said Paeplow. “And, yes, after we were back to safety we thought it hysterical. I am still not sure which part of this is the horror story, the abandoned bar or my plunky little newbie agent leaving me behind with a ‘dead body.’”
Seriously though, as agents, must you disclose to homebuyers that a house is haunted? PAR’s Director of Law and Policy Hank Lerner, Esq. recommends that if the previous owner had used the haunting for publicity, it is best to be upfront about a house that may have a reputation as the “ghost house.”