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1 in 3 Americans would live in a haunted house (+ other stigmatized property stats)

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Would you be willing to share your home with a spirit from the other side? Whether or not you believe in ghosts, haunted houses and other stigmatized properties can present a real problem for buyers, sellers and realtors. These shunned properties can become less valuable due to their notorious pasts.

Right in time for Halloween, we ran survey questions about whether Americans would want to live in a haunted house or an otherwise stigmatized property. Here’s what we found:

  • 2 in 3 Americans wouldn’t live in a home the previous owner believes is haunted
  • 67% of Americans agree that sellers should disclose hauntings and other stigmas
  • Women feel strongly that stigmas should be disclosed (73%)

Read on to learn more about stigmatized property laws and how purchasing a haunted home, whether accidentally or on purpose, can impact everything from your home value to home insurance. We also look at seven haunted houses for sale today.

Only 1 in 3 Americans would buy a haunted house

Purchasing a haunted house can be a risky move for you and your bank account — especially if the broader community is aware of the hauntings.

This is because homes deemed haunted are stigmatized properties, which sell for 3% less and spend more time on the market than other homes. And even if a seller doesn’t disclose the haunting history in the listing, buyers or their agents can still find out by doing a little digging — so be careful whom you share your ghost stories with.

If you do end up living in a haunted house, prepare for a more difficult resell process. According to our survey results, two in three potential buyers wouldn’t move forward with a purchase if a seller disclosed that the property was haunted.

 

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While it may be harder to list a haunted home, you can get protection from unwanted roommates. Add this to the list of random things you probably don’t know about home insurance: Damage by ghosts is covered in common “open perils'' policies. Additionally, you can purchase paranormal activity insurance for an extra layer of protection (yes, it’s a real thing).

Most states don’t require sellers to disclose ghosts and other property stigmas

Buyer, beware: In most states, it’s your responsibility to find out if a house has ghosts or a history of tragic death. Yet a majority of potential buyers (63%) feel that disclosing stigmas should be required by the seller, according to our survey.

Stigmas go beyond the paranormal realm. A stigmatized property is a property with an unsavory past that could make it unattractive to buyers, such as a tragic death or previous criminal history.

Here are the main reasons a property would be stigmatized:

1. Paranormal activity

If ghosts have a habit of showing up in windows or turning lights on in the middle of the night, prospective buyers might want to know about it. Supernatural phenomenon can be hard to prove, yet houses with haunted reputations are considered stigmatized. States have differing laws on the duty to disclose this paranormal activity, but it’s always a good idea to ask a seller about shadowy presences if you are scared about living with spirits.

 

2. Murder or suicide

A tragic death, such as a murder or suicide, can have a big impact on the value of a home. This stigma can be especially unsavory for prospective buyers if the tragedy is splashed across headlines. Take the townhouse where Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman were murdered, for example. This property, well known for its involvement in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, sat on the market for two years before finally selling for $200,000 under asking price.


3. Criminal history

Known criminal history or activity at a residential address can contribute to public intrigue and stigma. It can also lead to fears of strangers showing up at the address seeking out the previous owner. Consider if the house down the street from you was once busted for having an underground meth lab: It may be forever ingrained in your memory as a trap house — no matter who the current owner is.

 

4. Public intrigue

Many buyers are also wary of purchasing a home that doubles as a tourist attraction. Addresses that are linked to a hit show or movie may draw unwanted visitors and crowds, causing annoyance or safety fears for the homeowner. For example, the witchy town of Salem, Mass. is inundated with Hocus Pocus fans each October. One house featured in the film is now a private residence and a popular tourist stop. It’s rumored that the visitors aren’t always on their best behavior, although the current owners are good sports about it.

 

5. Owner with previous debt

Not all stigmas dominate headlines or neighborhood gossip. A previous homeowner’s outstanding debt is a property stigma as well. While unpaid bills aren’t scary or intriguing to passersby, debt collectors may show up at the address and demand money from the new owners.

 

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Even if you’re not protected by law, you can still take steps to avoid purchasing a property with a sinister past. Doing your own property research and/or working with a realtor who has done their homework may reveal past events. Talking to neighbors about the previous owners is another great way to gain insight.

Stigmatized property laws by state

Selling a stigmatized property can turn into a moral dilemma. This is because many states don’t require disclosure about said stigmas, but potential buyers want to know about them.

In the visual below, we take a look at the duty to disclose laws by state. Stigmatized property laws vary across the U.S. and some states have protections in place for certain stigmas, such as previous violent death, but not others, like hauntings.

 

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It’s also worth noting that no state requires sellers to disclose a death in the home due to natural circumstances, so if dead bodies of any kind give you the heebie-jeebies, reach out to neighbors or do some online research before you buy.

7 haunted homes for sale in the U.S.

Do you have what it takes to live in a haunted house? Not everyone can stomach the ghostly sightings and mysterious moving objects. Decide for yourself if any of these seven haunted homes for sale could become your home sweet home.

 

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1. LaVeta Place, Nyack, NY

 

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This house is so haunted that the Supreme Court ruled it so, in a landmark legislation about stigmatized properties known as “The Ghostbuster Ruling.” Former owner Helen Ackley had told many tales about the poltergeists in the house, from phantom footsteps to shaking beds, but she failed to disclose them during the selling process. The court ruled against her after a potential buyer found out about the haunted house and sued to get his deposit back.

Beyond the scary stuff, the home is also a matter of public intrigue thanks to previous famous owners such as Ingrid Michelson and Matisyahu (although neither celeb owner has reported any paranormal experiences).

  • Address: 1 LaVeta Place, Nyack, NY
  • Size: 4,628 sq. ft.
  • Asking price: $1,850,000

2. The Sound Rock Castle, Key Largo, FL

 

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The oldest home in Key Largo, known as “The Haunted House on Largo Sound”, may also be the most stigmatized — although some buyers may be willing to live with the spirits in order to gain waterfront access to the Florida Keys. The home's walls are three feet deep with coral rock, which helped the structure and its owner survive the Labor Day hurricane of 1935. It wasn’t until the 1950s that haunting lore about the property began.

  • Address: 55 Oceana Avenue, Key Largo, FL 33037
  • Size: 4,200 sq. feet
  • Asking price: $1,550,000

3. Maplecroft, Fall River, MA

 

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Do you remember the tale of Lizzie Borden who bore an ax and gave her mother forty whacks? This rhyme strikes fear in school-aged children across the U.S., and now you can buy her former home of Maplecroft in Fall River. While this address is not the scene of the actual murders for which she was tried and acquitted, it is the place she lived out the remainder of her life. It’s rumored that her ghost still haunts the property today; paranormal investigators are said to have encountered a “presence” while filming there.

  • Address: 306 French St, Fall River, MA 02720
  • Size: 3,935 sq. feet
  • Asking price: $890,000

4. Villa Fortuna, Reidsville, NC

 

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This Victorian home is the cheapest haunted house on our list. Full of gothic flavor and ghost encounters, the house is being sold as-is and isn’t currently livable. It’s the perfect fixer-upper for a potential buyer who doesn’t mind uninvited guests. The current owner has observed some unearthly stuff onsite, from leather shoes moving across the tile floor to lingering smells of cigar smoke on the patio.

  • Address: 608 Vance St, Reidsville, NC 27320
  • Size: 1,548 sq. ft.
  • Asking price: $99,900

5. Loftus Hall, Langford, Ireland

 

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For those willing to dabble in international haunted real estate, this is the haunted listing for you. Loftus Hall is dubbed the most haunted house in Ireland, and legend says that Satan himself visited the property during the 18th century. You may feel right at home if you’re seriously disturbed. In addition to ghost stories, the historic mansion comes with 63 acres of property and 22 rooms to explore.

  • Address: Hook Head, New Ross, Co. Wexford, Ireland
  • Size: 27,124 sq. ft.
  • Asking price: $2,870,000

6. John Wayne Gacy property, Chicago, Illinois

 

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If you purchase this Chicago listing, you’ll share soil with deceased serial killer John Wayne Gacy, aka the Clown Killer. Tragically, this address is also the scene of nearly all his murders and the place where the bodies of his victims would be discovered. In 1978, 26 dead bodies were discovered in the crawlspace of Gacy’s home. The house where the atrocities occurred has since been demolished, but the lot lives on.

  • Address: 8215 W Summerdale Avenue, Chicago, Illinois
  • Size: 2,500 sq. feet.
  • Asking price: $435,000

7. Historic Frankfort house

 

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This four-story Victorian mansion comes with the spirits of two young girls, both of whom are said to have perished in the bedroom on the third floor. Lore says one died by fever and the other by violence. The hauntings are a local legend, and multiple previous owners and visitors claim to have met the ghosts or felt their presence. The screams of young girls, unexplained temperature drops, exploding items and more have been observed in the home.

The house was also the setting of 2018 horror film “The Girl in the Third Floor Window.” The producer of the movie said they sought out the property because they wanted to film in a real-life haunted house.

  • Address: 207 Center Rd, Frankfort, IL 60423
  • Size: 1,992 sq. feet
  • Asking price: $274,000

Every house comes with its own story. If you do purchase a home with a haunted past, sleep easy knowing that damage from the supernatural is usually covered by your home insurance policy — although it never hurts to double-check.

Source:
Zillow | Realtor

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