Interested in buying a ‘haunted’ house? There’s lots to consider — including some potential benefits

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Should I buy a house that is haunted? I am interested in a historic house but there are rumors of paranormal activity.

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Historic homes associated with paranormal stories may not be for everyone. But there may be benefits to those who are brave enough to take on the terrible and the unknown.

If a property is believed to be visited by otherworldly forces, it may be considered “tarnished” by some potential buyers. In the context of real estate, a stigma can be defined as a non-physical, intangible characteristic of a property that may elicit a psychological or emotional response from the potential buyer. There may be something in or around the property that does not affect the appearance or function of the property but may be considered by some to be emotionally disturbing.

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Examples of asset stigma include:

  • It was the scene of a major crime;
  • It was previously owned by a notorious person;
  • It was the scene of a suspicious death;
  • There are reports that it is haunted.

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Generally, sellers are not required to disclose the psychological stigma associated with a property. Stigma is about perspective – in other words, what may seem completely unacceptable to one person may be of no concern to another.

Talk to your seller about anything that concerns you beyond the physical characteristics of the property and that may affect your enjoyment of the property. This will ultimately help your representative find the right home for you.

You can also do some independent research to see what you can uncover. You can search online and go through local archives, and neighboring residents can often be a good source of information as well.

In the spirit of the Halloween season, here are some of the potential benefits of buying a property with a scary reputation.

There may be less competition: When rumors are swirling about possible extraterrestrial activity, there may be a tendency for some to stay in the clear, reducing your competition. This may mean a better shot at accepting your offer.

You can get a better price: Ask yourself, “Can you live at that address?” For some, the answer is an emphatic “No!” Is. For others, this won’t be a problem, especially if they can secure the home at the right price.

You’ll be able to embrace the Halloween season by: If known as a local haunted house, your historic home could be one of your community’s star attractions throughout October. Should you really believe that your property is haunted, you can still embrace the scary reputation and go the extra mile to decorate for Halloween.

Historic properties can be very attractive, spacious, well built and located in prime neighborhoods. Owning a historic home can also give you a sense of pride and accomplishment as you restore and enhance it to its original glory with modern-day touches.

Should it be carefully removed in view of the bitter story associated with it? Find out… if you dare.

Joe Richter is the Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) and a contributor to STAR. Follow him on Twitter: @RECOhelps. This column is for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.



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