Now, if you're reading this because you're expecting some tips on where to take the kids for a little Halloween thrill this weekend, I have to disappoint you. Rather, I'm talking about the real thing.
Opening the Zillow "PRO" newsletter today, I got pointed to an apparent new service they offer--identifying the "most hauted houses in the U.S." (PROS: Make sure to check there before your next listing appointment--it might help you avoid unpleasant surprises!)
For an alternative, and probably more comprehensive, directory, visit HauntedHouses.com. The site's operators make a very professional distinction between "real" (i.e., serious) and "fun" (i.e., Halloween party-type) haunted houses. You can search by state--possibly before you hand in that offer on the house. And a secure login section is reserved for "Haunted House Owners." Another great service for affected sellers (and all owners of haunted homes will want to sell sooner or later, won't they?).
Only one of the mentioned homes in the Zillow guide is local, and it happens to be... the White House. I wonder if the Obama family was aware of the fact that the ghost of Abraham Lincoln has frequently been spotted (or "felt" -- eek!) there before they started their plea for the priviledge to live there. But then again, they might have figured it out the hard way by now, and it didn't seem to have hurt them. As an added bonus, Lincoln probably gives good advice.
Homes for sale that are inhabited by ghosts (and there must be a good many of them in the current market) fall under the category of "stigmatized property." In our jurisdiction, there is no requirement to disclose the problem condition. But even if not documented, experieced agents will just know, won't they? I don't know any realtor who wouldn't admit that they occasionally enter a house, either for a showing or to preview, and know right away that it's better to leave again before things get too scary.
Does anybody remember Dennis, the ghost in Cordelia's gorgeous rent-controlled LA apartment? Just shows that if the price is right and the place is beautiful, people can adapt to all kinds of shortcomings.