Realtor.com released its annual Haunted Real Estate Report and calls the 2018 findings "spookier than one might expect."
The report found that one in three people – especially millennials – were willing to take a chance on a haunted home if there was something to sweeten the deal, while 18 percent of people say that a haunting wouldn't affect their purchase decision at all.
"In a competitive market, it's harder for prospective buyers to be extremely selective," says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. "If a house is commensurately priced, or has desirable features, the fact that it may be haunted seems to matter less. This report shows that, for those looking for a good deal, a lower price, better neighborhood or larger kitchen can balance out a few spooky happenings."
The survey of 1,067 people across the United States was conducted in early October by Harris Interactive through online interviews.
When asked to decide between a haunted or non-haunted home, respondents fell into one of three categories:
- I'll buy, but I need something more: One-third of respondents were willing to take a chance on a haunted home if presented with additional features. Topping the wish list was a cheaper home price (15 percent), followed by a tie between a larger kitchen and better neighborhood (9 percent). Millennials are the most price-sensitive of all demographics, with 17 percent persuadable by a lower price tag.
- Nothing else required: 18 percent of people wouldn't require any additional features to choose a haunted home over a non-haunted home – perhaps the percentage that don't believe in ghosts. Nearly 25 percent of people aged 35-54 said they wouldn't be affected by the haunted nature of a home while making a purchase decision.
- Would not buy, not for anything: For the remaining 49 percent of possible buyers, there's no price low enough or kitchen large enough to make them purchase a haunted house. The older generation of homebuyers is most reluctant, with 61 percent of those over 55 insisting that they would never buy a haunted home as opposed to 41 percent of millennials and Gen X'ers.
Living in a haunted home is more common than one would imagine. Nearly two in five people believe they have lived in a haunted (or possibly haunted) house – and 44 percent of them either suspected or were fully aware of said haunting before moving in. In fact, the majority of people under 55 years old suspected – or were sure – their home was haunted before they moved in, a decision possibly incentivized by a lower home price or better neighborhood. Hearing strange noises (54 percent) topped the list of most common spooky behaviors, followed by odd feelings in certain rooms (45 percent) and erratic pet behavior (34 percent).
A seller's haunted dilemma: To reveal, or not to reveal?
When posed with the hypothetical question of selling a haunted house, people were polarized on revealing its spooky status to potential buyers. While Florida has no specific disclosure requirements for haunted properties, some realtor.com survey respondents would tell buyers anyway.
- Yes, tell them everything: The most popular approach is full transparency, with 34 percent of people saying they would tell interested buyers everything. Men and millennials are the most likely to divulge all the details to buyers.
- Only when asked: In second place, 27 percent of people would choose the less risky route and divulge details only when asked.
- Mum's the word: Saying absolutely nothing is the third most popular approach for hypothetical sellers, with 22 percent preferring to stay quiet. This is a strategy preferred by 25 percent of those over 35 years old.
- No details please: The least popular selling strategy, at 17 percent, is to admit that the house was haunted but not provide details.