Photo: James Bombales
Two years ago, I booked a stay on Airbnb in an apartment building in Warsaw, Poland that had once been home to Henryk Stażewski, the Polish avant-garde painter. The mid-century style studio, which had been in the host’s family for generations, featured chevron parquet wood flooring and beautiful built-ins.
I was absolutely smitten with it — that was until I was awoken in the middle of the night by an ominous presence. There were no floating figures or unexplained noises, but I was frightened enough to wake up my boyfriend and “sleep” with one eye open until the sun rose.
While I’ve never lived in a haunted house, that spooky, four-day stay has made me wary of moving into a new place and later discovering that I’ve got a ghost for a roommate who doesn’t even split the bills!
And it seems my concerns are justified — 23 percent of respondents to realtor.com® ‘s fourth annual Haunted Real Estate Report say, with certainty, that they have lived in a haunted house. Another 20 percent indicated they may have, but who hasn’t thought the same after being startled by a strange shadow?
Perhaps most surprisingly, nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said they didn’t know the house was haunted before they moved in. Thirty-seven percent claimed to have known and moved in anyway, and the remaining five percent just said “maybe,” which I find very confusing. Like, did your realtor casually mention that someone died in the house and you thought, “Now this is a place I’d like to live!”
Apparently, some people do think that way because 21 percent said they would be willing to put up with paranormal activity and move into a haunted house. Clearly, they haven’t seen The Haunting of Hill House — that fixer-upper just wasn’t worth it! An additional 21 percent of respondents were on the fence about it and 54 percent responded with, “Oh hell no!”
Photo: James Bombales
Whether or not you’re legally obligated to disclose the fact that a house is haunted varies from state to state. These are referred to as “stigmatized” properties in the biz, and they include residences where a murder or suicide has taken place, in addition to less macabre things like a busted meth lab or hoarder house.
Today’s homebuyers can turn to sites like DiedInHouse.com (it’s exactly what it sounds like), where you pay a fee in exchange for a comprehensive report on any unsavory activity that has taken place at the property in question. Alternatively, if you’re looking to offload a haunted house, check out our handy guide on how to sell it.
Buyer beware, you’re in for a scare!