As is tradition, around this time of year I detour away from sustainable real estate trends for a closer look at stigmatized properties, paranormal-influenced cases of buyer’s remorse, and DIY methods of spiritual house cleaning.
Because really, when you get to the heart of the matter, a severe case of “things going bump in the night” may not have anything to do with the brutal ax murder that occurred in your basement in the early 1920s. Rather, unexplained phenomena experienced by homeowners could very well be the result of a clunky old boiler, drafty windows, and/or shoddy insulation that needs replacing — stuff that a professional energy audit, not a smudging, could easily remedy. However, if your toaster oven starts levitating or your wife starts insisting that you address her only as "Zuul Gatekeeper of Gozer" then you've got a whole other issue on your hands.
Today, here’s a look at a recent online survey conducted by Realtor.com that yields some insight into exactly how American homeowners feel about supernaturally afflicted properties. Interesting enough, 62 percent of prospective homebuyers would be kosher with co-cohabitating with the possibly malevolent spirits of a home's previous occupants — 26 percent of those surveyed indicate that they’d have no qualms with buying a home known to be haunted while 36 percent said that they’d consider it. Thirty-eight percent of the 1,410 respondents polled as part of the Haunted Housing Report said no way in hell.
Naturally, a reduced price plays heavily into the picture with 34 percent of respondents saying that they’d willfully move into to a stigmatized property if the price was reduced up to 30 percent with 22 percent looking for deeper deals of 31 to 50 percent. Only 12 percent of those polled would pay full market value for a home still inhabited by Barbara and Adam Maitland or that's an official stop on the Murder House Tour.
However game some brave homebuyers may be when it comes to moving into a steeply discounted property with a history of eerie occurrence, there are a few “intolerable” things that would have ‘em packing their bags and calling up their broker in hysterics in no time: levitating objects (75 percent), ghost sightings (63 percent), objects moving around mysteriously (63 percent), and flickering lights or appliances (61 percent). Thirty-four percent of respondents would be scared away if they experienced warm or cold spots in their new homes. Personally, my breaking point would have to be if a giant clown doll put me in a chokehold.
For those who have the good fortunate of not living in a potentially haunted house themselves (35 percent of those surveyed say they have), 51 percent know of someone else who has.
In a follow-up piece for the Wall Street Journal on how haunted properties influence homebuying habits, Paul Brewer a professor in the communications department at the University of Delaware who focuses on the paranormal, claims that homebuyers on the fence about the whole “haunted thing” are easily swayed by expert opinions: "If a house has a reputation, with media coverage presented as credible or even scientific, that can shape people's beliefs and shape people's perception.”
My question to you: Would you move into a home, discounted or not, where something terrible/violent happened or that is perceived to be haunted?
Via [Realtor.com], [WSJ]
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