Whether you believe in ghosts or not, ‘haunted houses’ affecting the value of property prices is a very real and tangible thing.
Over in the US, homes where a high-profile crime or murder occurred can sell for a huge 25 per cent under market rate, which poses a big opportunity for house-hunters looking to snag a bargain, The Hustle reported.
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According to a US real estate appraiser, Randall Bell, who priced the Heaven’s Gate house where 39 cult members committed suicide in 1997, a death in a home can both decrease its value and double its time spent on the market.
Bell told The Hustle that when valuing a home is based on three criteria: cost (price of sale and any foreseeable repairs), use (potential income you could generate from the property), and risk (anything that could jeopardise the future value of the home.
Basically, Bell says ghosts are a big risk, because whether or not the buyer believes in them, they can still affect the public perception of a home and create some very real challenges for the people who live there.
But how do buyers know the property is haunted?
In the US, laws state you have to disclose if your house is haunted, according to Finder.com.au.
The precedent for this was set in a 1991 case where the defendant knew her house was haunted, but when she sold it, neither she nor her real estate agent disclosed that fact.
Someone then bought the house and claimed to experience paranormal activity, sued to recoup their cash and break the contract.
The court ruled in their favour because whether or not the haunting was real, it affected the property’s resale value.
In the United Kingdom, no such laws exist because, scientifically, hauntings aren’t real.
But buyers have been pretty burnt by this precedent when their haunted house has failed to sell on the market.
Similarly, no such laws exist here in Australia for hauntings specifically, but there are laws around stigmatised properties.
What are stigmatised properties?
Most ghost stories originate from some kind of gruesome murder. And if your house has any such history, Aussie laws say you have to disclose that to potential buyers.
The precedent for this started in Sydney’s suburb of Ryde, with the Gonzales house.
Sef Gonzales murdered his father, mother and sister in the home, which agents failed to disclose when a couple bought the property in 2004.
The couple found out and were eventually refunded their deposits, and the agents copped a whopping $20,000 fine.
How much of an impact does it really have?
Finder says it’s tough to pin down a figure, but that stigmatised properties absolutely sell for less.
Property valuers in a Hong Kong study agree that a home where a murder or suicide occurred could see its value drop by up to 30 per cent and urge sellers to adjust their price expectations
Over in Japan, properties that have seen suicides, murders or lonely deaths are extremely difficult to shift, and are often given away for free.
My house is definitely haunted. What can I do?
If you know there’s something supernatural about your home, and there’s no logical explanation for it, Finder says it’s probably not all bad.
A 2013 survey by Realtor.com found 62 per cent of respondents would be open to purchasing a haunted house.
In some cases, it could even increase the value.
Bell told CNNMoney that a reputedly haunted house in Las Vegas was sold to several buyers at a premium price, with each new inhabitant actually hoping for a ghostly encounter.
Finder says it’s all about finding the right buyer, which might be best done through private treaty rather than auction.
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