October 31st is synonymous with ghouls, ghosts and grim goings-on, and the UK has no shortage of haunted houses for those who like a fright or two. However, experts at Choice Finance say buyers should think twice before buying a property with a horrible history.
In a 2005 study, one in three people claimed to have lived in a haunted house, but for some, the prospect of sharing their home with an otherworldly visitor would be enough for them to back out of a sale.
The internet makes it easier than ever to find out every last detail around a house sale, from the number of car thefts in the area, to the general happiness of those living nearby, so any rumours of paranormal activity could stick.
The legality of declaring a house haunted to a buyer is a bit of a grey area. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations are the closest thing we have in the UK to statutes covering hauntings, although there can be no hard and fast rules as ghostly goings-on would be difficult to prove conclusively.
Research has shown that estate agents believe a property with a suspect history can force the property price to drop by up to 20%, and can become twice as hard to shift. Those with a taste for the supernatural might not be put off from buying, but could potential lenders turn down applications on a haunted property?
Unless the owners have gone to the press with their story, or the property has an infamous history, there shouldn’t be an issue, but it is something potential buyers should think about, says Managing Director of Choice Finance, Matthew Pennell.
Pennell said: “Before deciding to buy a haunted house, buyers should think about what their long-term plan is. If they intend to stay for the foreseeable future, a spooky reputation shouldn’t be too much of a problem. For those who want to sell though, potential buyers can be put off by rumours of hauntings, and this can mean the price of the house may have to be reduced.
“I’ve never heard of a mortgage application being refused based on a reported haunting, but lenders will always want to know about any potential details that could negatively impact the property’s value. If the property in question had a particularly infamous and well-known reputation, buyers might want to have a discussion with an experienced broker beforehand, who will be able to give advice and ensure buyers are getting the best possible deal.”
For anyone still up for taking on a spectral dwelling, check out properties for sale in some of the UK’s most haunted areas:
Cannock Chase, West Midlands
Not only does this wooded area boast ghost and ghouls, but it is also a hotspot for reported alien and werewolf sightings.
Pluckley Village, Kent
Pluckley is reputed to be the most haunted village in Britain and has a Guinness Book of World Records entry to prove it. There have been up to 16 different entities spotted in the area, so anyone who buys here will have ample opportunity for ghost-hunting at the weekends.
Home to headless horsemen, a Black Abbot and a number of other apparitions, Prestbury is arguably the Cotswold’s spookiest environs, with one of the village pubs boasting a grand total of nine ghosts.
Pendle Hill, Lancashire
Pendle Hill is famed as the home of an infamous group of witches, accused of multiple murders in the 17th century and who were later found guilty and hanged during the Lancashire Witch Trials. One bewitching property up for sale here was one of the preaching locations of John Wesley, a founder of the Methodist Church and rumoured dabbler in the occult.