I was chatting with a friend of mine who is a Realtor here in Colorado and she said that it’s a very crazy time. The market is tight and most homes are selling for quite a bit above the asking price after grueling bidding wars. I’ve moved three times in the last 24 years and I think that’s plenty. Real Estate purchases are financially and emotionally scary for me.
Think about it. A house is likely the biggest purchase you will ever make yet you don’t get to “test drive” it. You make your purchase based on a few hours (or less) of observation. You will not likely meet the neighbors until you move in and if you bought in the summer you will not know that the driveway tends to ice over from October to May. Worse yet, there are certain things that a seller does not have to tell you about a property that might be as important as the leaking downspout to some buyers. Such as the specter that clomps up and down the main hallway every night at 3:35 am, or the moaning sounds that have been heard in the attic.
You might have seen recent reports about a lady in St. Louis who discovered she was renting a home that once belonged to serial killer, Maury Troy Travis. She had no idea about it until someone she knew saw a documentary about the killer and recognized the house. Police found video tapes in the basement of him and his victims. Adding to the grossly disturbing find, the dining room table that the landlord (Travis’ mother) gave her was clearly visible in crime scene photos. Luckily, it was ruled that she could break the lease.
There have been other creepy properties that have been for sale over the last couple of years. The Amityville Horror house, the Lizzie Borden ax murder house, and the Jonbenet Ramsey house, just for starters. I’m not sure if any of these properties sold but the current data shows that they have a pretty good chance.
A Realtor.com survey said that 62% of Americans would consider buying a haunted house. I suppose for me it would be a matter of circumstances. I wouldn’t mind a story of a ghostly apparition from time to time but I think if I knew a serial killer had lived there or a terrible murder had occurred, I would keep shopping. For me, there is something about that kind of dark event that would bother me.
Perhaps you are not troubled by such things. Maybe you are even purposefully looking for a haunted and/or creepy place, there are some niche Realtors who specialize in stigmatized properties to serve you. A stigmatized property can be a place where a murder, suicide, tragedy, or hauntings are reported. Some of these niche Realtors offer house spiritual cleansings and other paranormal services for buyers and sellers, ghostbusters with a closing contract!
However, remember, a seller doesn’t always have to tell you if a property is stigmatized. So, if you prefer a paranormal free place from the get-go, you could look at a police crime map of the area or contact a service provider like Died In House. For a fee they will run a search and report back any deaths reported in the residence. That is no guarantee that the house is spirit free, however. There is a theory that land can be afflicted and thus any building on it will be too, ever seen Poltergeist? An other theory is that individual people can be haunted. If that’s your problem, well, good luck because where ever you go, there you are.
There is something equally disturbing. That’s finding out the house you thought was haunted, isn’t. There was a woman in Washington state that noticed some strange stuff going on in her house. The back gate would not stay closed even after she made sure she latched it, odd smells were filling the rooms of her home, and the home had become cold even though she heard the furnace running. She had a repair man come out and he discovered that her furnace was fine but the duct work under the house had been severed. He found evidence that someone had been living under her house and damaged the duct work to stay warm. It’s just like my grandpa always used to say: it’s not the dead you have to be afraid of, it’s the living.
So on that cheery note, Never Turn Off the Lights because you never know what stories the walls would tell if they could talk. If you do hear them talking, it might just be a creepy squatter living rent-free in some dark corner of your house.