Tips for Finding Haunted Houses for Sale: Pros & Cons

Updated August 2, 2021
House on a scary night

You're not only not afraid of ghosts, but you want to cohabitate with one because your cat isn't cutting it at making things go bump in the night. While most people move in with a ghost accidentally, some intrepid souls seek out haunted houses for sale just for the thrill of it. So if you're ready to take the plunge and to have an invisible roommate, then get ready to find your dream haunt and make that creepy house on the corner all yours.

Start With Local Listings

Sometimes, a house won't sell because something about the place turns buyers off. They don't know why they rejected the house, only that it just didn't feel right. This can happen with a haunted house. When a realtor knows the house is haunted and it isn't getting any traffic, they might decide there's nothing to lose by playing up the haunted house angle. This seemed to be the tactic a Texas realtor took by listing the property with a heading of "Holy Ghosts Batman!" So while it may seem a bit on the nose, search local listings and see if any exasperated realtors have decided to lean in to the whole ghost thing. It happens more often than you might think.

Check the Deed History

If you didn't luck out and find that creative realtor willing to turn a ghost into a marketing feature, then you may need to do some research. The deed history is a great place to start. One indicator a house for sale might be haunted is that it has had multiple owners over a short period. While there are certainly are legitimate non-ghost reasons that a house might change ownership several times, it's an indicator you may want to investigate further.

Look for Stigmatized Properties

Depending on the location of the home, a known haunting can fall under the laws for stigmatized properties and require disclosure, although only a few states have any specific requirements surrounding paranormal activity in a property. For example, in New York if the homeowner has cultivated a reputation for the house being haunted (like, say, having Ghost Adventures come film there), then a sale can be rescinded. In New Jersey, if a buyer directly asks, the seller must disclose truthfully. Zillow has provided a handy reference to laws and/or court decisions regarding selling haunted houses in each state, so take a look and see if you can use such disclosure requirements to winnow out a haunted house for sale.

Ask the Neighbors

Many real estate professionals suggest you get out and talk to the neighbors when you're buying a house, and this might be especially helpful for those seeking a home with a little more...soul. You can take the direct route and ask outright if they've ever heard of the house being haunted or noticed anything odd there themselves, or you can be a bit more subtle and ask open-ended questions such as, "Is there anything unusual about this house I need to know?" Be warned that many people are wary of discussing ghosts and hauntings because of how others might perceive them, so often asking directly will yield better results than beating around the bush.

Look for Old News Reports

As part of your due diligence, search for mentions of the property on real estate websites, social media, and in the news media. Many publish feature articles about real haunted houses, especially around Halloween.

Look Into the Land

If you can't find anything about the house, then consider searching for information about the land. For example, if the house is on land where a battle during the Revolutionary War or Civil War was fought, there's a good possibility there are a few ghosts hanging about or at the least some residual energy.

Buy Next to a Cemetery

While it's no guarantee, homes on properties that abut a cemetery often get a little of the ghostly action from the neighboring property. Once again, it's not a guarantee, but it can certainly up your chances of having a ghoulishly good time in your new home.

Buy in a Haunted Neighborhood

According to Trulia, the best regions in America for haunted houses are in the Rust Belt (northeastern and midwestern US). Likewise, some states have more haunted reputations than others, so they are a good place to start. Older homes are the most likely candidates. Metro areas are considered high on the list of places ghosts prefer. The buildings tend to be older with little new construction, conducive to attracting and keeping ghosts. Boston is cited as a top haunted metro.

Low Angle View Of Buildings In City

In addition, Trulia also published the top 10 cities where you're more likely to find a haunted house for sale. New England has quite a few cities that are apparently attractive to ghosts. Abandoned homes seem to be an ideal find.

Look for Specialty Realtors or Assistance Groups

Look for a local real estate agent or group that specializes in paranormal homes. Other places to look for realtor listings of haunted houses include:

  • Old Houses Under $50K lists several haunted homes that will require renovation, but boldly state the house is haunted.
  • sometimes features haunted houses for sale.
  • Spooky Houses for Sale shares listings from across the country of houses that might be haunted.

Pros for Buying a Haunted House

The pro for anyone wishing to purchase this type of home is the homeowner's desperation to sell. You may be able to purchase it for less than market value. After all, buying a home with a reputation of being haunted increases the odds it is an authentic haunted house. You may be able to get a beautiful home that aligns with your needs and has strong historic value.

Cons for Buying a Haunted House

If the home has garnered significant media attention, its price may actually be higher than it normally would be. There's no guarantee the house is actually haunted and the ghost(s) could very well move with the owner. It does happen.

Ghost Woman on Haunted Staircase

Another con is the paranormal activity may be much worse than the homeowner lets on. A few weeks after moving in, you may discover yourself to be a homeowner desperate to sell.

Finding Haunted Houses for Sale

If you really, really, really want to live in a haunted house, it may take a little work on your part to find the right home in the perfect location with a resident ghost or two waiting there to welcome you. Be sure you know what you're getting into before taking on a house that already has otherworldly residents.

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Tips for Finding Haunted Houses for Sale: Pros & Cons