When realtor Scott FladHammer arrived fifteen minutes early for his appointment to show a 1909 farmhouse to prospective buyers, he was spooked to discover they were already there — sitting in the very barn in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where one of three gruesome murders had occurred.
Looking like something “out of the Edward Scissorhands movie with their jet black hair, black nails, and extremely white skin,” the eccentric clients had been there for two hours, listening for voices from the dead as well as other signs of paranormal activity.
And it didn’t stop there. Once FladHammer started showing them around the four-bedroom house last summer, they started asking odd questions. “They weren’t asking about the school system,” says FladHammer. “The previous owner had been run over and chopped up by his own tractor like a pizza cutter — they wanted to know more about that, the other murders, whether that had been documented, and who was buried on the property.”
Sellers, take note: this is not your typical buyer. Most people don’t want to talk about dead bodies, let alone live with them and their lurking spirits.
FladHammer knows this all too well. He says he has sold a dozen haunted houses over the past four years, including, he notes, one that looked like just the Amityville Horror House (which is currently on the market for $1.15 million).
Here’s how he — and other experts — suggest you do it:
Know state laws Got ghosts? Contact your state’s regulatory agency/real estate commission to see if you’re required to disclose this because you could be spooked by a lawsuit if you don’t. The case that led to a change in New York’s housing law — and, ultimately, set the precedent that hauntings affect valuations and should therefore be disclosed — dates back to 1991. That’s when the New York Supreme Court ruled that the would-be purchaser of a Victorian home in Nyack, New York, be reimbursed his down payment and released from his contract. Why? The seller, who had written articles about the presence of poltergeists in her abode, had failed to make note the unwanted tenants on the sales contract.