Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ghosts Have To Live Somewhere

From the Deadline Newsroom's Haunted House Series

by Broderick Perkins
© 2007 DeadlineNews.Com

Deadline Newsroom – As if the current housing market isn't frightening enough to scare the dead presidents out of your wallet, real estate Web pages offer some deliciously devilish fun with real estate served up with a side of fright.

San Jose, CA real estate agent Mary Pope-Handy, who has a penchant for things that go bump in the night, created

The Web site reveals that while specters and phantoms will hole up in old opera houses, hotels, churches and the like, they seem to prefer good old fashioned single-family homes -- just like most living buyers.

Offering both tall tales and the straight scoop, Pope-Handy giggles at the ghosts while examining the serious side of haunted houses and how truly frightful it can be to sell a home when tortured souls moan for a rent-back.

"Most homes with unexplained, possibly ghost phenomena, do not experience terrifying events. Ordinarily it's limited to lights and other electrical items going on and off, the sounds of doors or windows opening and closing, footsteps, or an occasional spotting out of one's peripheral vision or sense of a 'cold spot' in a home," she says.

Nevertheless, apparent apparitions or unexplainable conditions, disclose them, even if you don't believe them.

"In most areas, it is no longer 'buyer beware' but instead the burden is on the seller to disclose anything affecting value or desirability," she added.

The cost of outing Casper-like capers can be as chilling as Edgar Allen Poe poetry , but ectoplasmic fraud can lead to a much greater fear -- a buyer's real estate attorney.

Cable News Network's (CNN) "Real Estate's Scary Side" Web page reveals how frightful it can be to try to unload a house when the sheets won't stay on the bed.

The cable television news network reported a study of more than 100 "psychologically impacted" houses (with supernatural stigma caused by murder, suicide, or fatal illness) can kill a deal, take 50 percent longer than comparable unhaunted homes to sell and bring in an average of 2.4 percent less.

Randall Bell, real estate's "master of disaster" consultant whose "Bell Curve" analyzes factors that reduce real estate values, says a well-publicized murder can lower the selling price of a home by much more -- 15 to 35 percent.

But not every haunted house is a hated house.

A few buyers seek out accommodations with abominations and don't mind paying a dividend for a home that isn't insulated against the kind of chill that can be a real thriller.

San Diego Paranormal Research Project pairs creepy buyers who want to live in an American Scream with those trying to unload haunts.

Pope-Handy will have none of that.

She's so fascinated by the subject that she includes numerous links to haunted houses, hotels, walking tours, and additional ways to chance a meeting with the metaphysical or to deal with selling property under a spell.

However, she says, intimacy with spirits is best left to the ghouls.

"Some people will seek to spend the night with ghosts. Not me. I like ghost hunting, but am not interested in sleeping with dead people," she explains.

© 2007 DeadlineNews.Com

Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist of 30 years, is publisher and executive editor of San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service, and the new Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's new backshop. In both cases, it's where all the news really hits home.

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