Real Estate News
Real Estate News

From The Abnormal To The Paranormal: Dealing With An Unusual Home


Written by Jaymi Naciri
Monday, August 10, 2015

Thinking of buying a home with a story to tell? Or maybe your home is so unique you're worried it might be a hard sell. The average buyer may not embrace the idea of shacking up with a ghost or owning a home that is so out there it becomes a sideshow, but, you know what they say…it only takes one.

Something bad happened there

A house where someone died might make you quickly nix it from your list. And here's a sobering thought for the squeamish: "Many states do not require realtors to disclose whether or not a violent crime occurred on the property, which is why—if this type of thing matters to you—you should always do your own research," said Jezebel.

If the home was the scene of a grisly or famous murder, and the price is right, buyers may be able to overlook what happened there. In some cases, the home's past might actually make it more saleable, although looky-loos can make it hard to live in.

The LaBianca house, scene of some of the Manson murders, Nicole Brown Simpson's L.A. condo and Jeffrey Dahmer's childhoom home in Ohio (where he killed his first victim and scattered the remains around the house as a teenager) were all purchased post notoriety. Even by the standards of those who are fascinated by the murder genre, this one may be over the line.

The location is terrible

We're not talking about a house in a semi-iffy neighborhood. How about one that features a glorious view…of the freeway. You might think that would be a turnoff. But not to everyone.

The Houston home of University of Houston architecture professor Ronnie Self, "perched on the edge of 288…with 20 lanes just below…sits as close to the freeway as Self could get it," said Swamplot.

It features a view of downtown in the background and one more obvious advantage: you can always tell what the traffic is like.

Location, part 2

What if the view out the window isn't so much about cars, but, rather, headstones.

Actually, people who can get past the whole "dead people out my window" thing might actually enjoy living close to a cemetery "because of the unobstructed views, the ease of parking and the, well, peace and quiet," said the Wall Street Journal.

If you can deal with the location and it's the view that's getting to you, you can always disguise it using some of these creative solutions from Apartment Therapy and Houzz.

Ghosts

Are you seeing dead people?

"Nestled within sunny San Diego's ‘Old Town' is one of the world's most enduring haunted house legends. Built in 1857 by Thomas Whaley, the brick house occupies the spot where Yankee Jim Robinson was publicly hanged years earlier," said Oddee. "Add to that the suicide of Violet Whaley in 1885 and other Whaley family deaths over the last century, and you've got a house so crowded with ghosts that it regularly appears on ‘Most Haunted' lists."

A real live haunted house might be interesting to tour, but do you want to live in it? And if you decide to sell your haunted house, do you have to disclose your ghost?

"Haunted properties fall within the category of stigmatized properties, or real estate that is not defective in any physical manner, but due to psychological or emotional factors may have a reduced value," said REALTOR® Magazine. "About half of U.S. states have laws that deal with stigmatized properties, but most don't require sellers to disclose if they have a ghost."

In some cases, ghosts and ghouls may make the house more valuable, they added. "Some customers look for homes with an interesting history, as they feel it adds to a property's character. Not everyone is bothered by the possibility of spirits hanging around."

The house is just plain weird

Unique is a relative term, but some homes go beyond unique and slide right into weird. At the very least, REALTOR® Magazine's tale of agent Kat Barry's showing of a fascinating, dilapidated Pittsburgh mansion should be a cautionary tale for agents to tour properties before they bring in clients, or at least make sure their clients have an open mind and a sense of humor.

"We noticed right away that there were hooks in the walls in this grand foyer and all kinds of bicycle parts everywhere. Also, the first floor was pretty much gutted. Hanging from the ceiling in the dining room was a swing made out of a plank of wood and white nylon rope. The only lighting in the room appeared to be icicle-style Christmas lights. When we finally located the first floor ‘bathroom,' it turned out to be little more than an empty Home Depot bucket on a closet floor. In the pantry were jars of mysterious liquids that looked like lab chemicals, and rubber hoses, large rubber gloves, and PEX piping laying around. There was more of that in the kitchen, as well as a few 100-gallon drums of God only knows what."

Turns out the house was not a meth lab, as the agent feared, but was rather in the process of being converted to run on vegetable oil. Really.



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