A recent survey found that over 60 percent of Americans believe they have seen a ghost. Four in ten believe their pet has seen one, too. In addition, one in three people believe that have lived in or stayed in a house that is haunted. The top response to seeing a ghost? Scream and run away. (Sounds sensible to me.) Is your house haunted?
Would you buy a house you believe to be haunted? Last year, Realtor.com released the results of another haunted house survey, in which a third of those surveyed said they’d live in a haunted house. Of course, people wanted something in exchange, with 40 percent saying they’d need a price reduction, 35 percent wanting a better neighborhood, 32 percent needing more square footage, and 29 percent requiring more bedrooms.
There’s more than one way your home can be haunted. Forget about ghosts, poltergeists and things that go bump in the night. Here are a few horrors that could make your dream home into a nightmare (on Elm or any other street).
Neighbors. Maybe you enjoy thrash metal remixes. Perhaps a symphony of incessantly barking dogs is your idea of heaven on earth. Is there a rundown property that has streams of visitors at odd hours? If you are looking for a new home, check out the neighborhood. Don’t just visit during the day. Drive through the area at night, with your car windows open. Go on different days at different times. You may find that the rundown house is simply an elderly person who could use some neighborly help. The impromptu concerts are teenagers in a garage who shut it down promptly at 9 pm. The dogs? That could be a deal-breaker.
Zoning. You’ve found a home with an amazing view. Or you’ve found a home in a quiet wooded area. Before you commit, you’d better find out what can happen to “your” view or “your” woods. Talk to your Realtor® to find out if there’s anything on the horizon, like a new shopping development or a high-rise building. Don’t stop there. Go to the city or county planning department and understand the zoning for the area. Are you buying in a mixed-use neighborhood? That could mean shops, bars and restaurants, which you could love or hate, depending on your point of view. Are you in an historic preservation district? That could seriously restrict any remodeling, from fence height to exterior paint colors. Is the quaint 2-lane road scheduled to become a 4-lane highway? Be sure you know what’s on the drawing board before you buy.
Pests. Shhh! What’s that noise? It could be the whisper of a passing ghost, or the patter of tiny mouse feet. Those little piles of sawdust might be the remains of a woodworking project but they could be the leavings of an industrious termite colony. The bathroom ceiling could be a Goth art project or black mold. If you’re buying a home, you need a thorough home inspection. If it turns up any questionable results, go a step further and bring in a specialty inspector. If you’ve been living in your home for a while and you start to notice odd noises or something that doesn’t look right, don’t wait too long to find out what’s going on. Those dripping walls could be a leaky roof, or something sweeter.
This week, no matter what you believe, a variety of strange creatures may haunt your house, especially on the 31st. Don’t be afraid. There’s a surefire way to rid yourself of the terror. Give them individually wrapped Snickers® and they’ll leave you in peace. Until next year.