Anyone would think owning a property that is home to paranormal activity would be a real money-spinner. There should be countless opportunities to get the house featured on ghost hunting television programmes and even turn it into a profitable tourist attraction without having to make much effort.
But what if you just want to live at a home in peace? For anyone looking to get away from a haunted house and sell their property there may be worries that its price will be affected due to supposed paranormal activity. On the other hand this offers a good opportunity for those in the market for a cheaper place, though hauntings don’t always affect property value.
Selling a Haunted House
There is plenty of evidence which demonstrates that owning a haunted house can be a real burden and tricky to sell. In 2007 millionaire businessman Anwar Rashid purchased Clifton Hall in Nottinghamshire and moved in with his family. However, after various hauntings they quickly moved out only for Mr Rashid then being unable to sell the place. This resulted in him stopping paying the mortgage in order for the bank to repossess the property.
There are other examples of homeowners struggling to sell properties which have a well-known history of being haunted around the world. Only 1% of people asked in one survey said they would pay above the asking price for a haunted house. It does add a bit of intrigue and there are house buyers out there where spooky goings on prove attractive.
Many people are worried when selling a supposed haunted property that telling potential buyers about its ghosts and ghouls will lower the price they can get for it. Surely you don’t legally need to tell them about the spirit of a six-year-old girl who comes out at night and spooks anyone who’s awake?
There is no direct law stating that paranormal or haunted presences must be mentioned. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (which replaced the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991) comes closest by making sure no misleading or false statements can be made about the property for sale. Therefore if you own a home with a history of hauntings you cannot claim otherwise, or vice-versa, to increase or decrease value.
In the USA the laws regarding selling property which is known or believed to be haunted vary from state to state. On the whole they are stricter due to the famous case of Stambovsky vs Ackley. Ackley claimed her house was haunted, even doing interviews for local newspapers in New York and having it featured on a haunted tour, before selling to Stambovsky without making him aware of the situation.
Stambovsky found out about the ghosts and wasn’t pleased, believing it would reduce sell-on value. The case went to court and Stambovsky won on appeal due to ‘caveat emptor’ (let the buyer beware). This set a precedent across many states to avoid similar cases occurring, so that full disclosure of stigmatised properties about their past must be made to buyers and estate agents beforehand.
Other Haunting Factors
Natural death on a property should have zero impact on its resale value but if there has been a murder, suicide or both, it can diminish in the eyes of buyers. The psychological and emotional stigmatisation this brings often makes such property less desirable and will knock down its value. Though this does present a bargain to those unaffected by such issues.
Some buyers actively seek out property with an interesting history, believing myths about ghosts and historical events add to its character. For the most part paranormal activity does have a negative effect on property value yet it will depend a lot on the location and buyer.
With research showing property that is suspected to be haunted can sell at up to 20% less than market value, getting your home Ghost-Free certified should prevent this happening to you.