From things that go bump in the night to ghosts and ghouls of all descriptions, here’s a breakdown of U.S. attitudes towards haunted homes.

This article was reposted with permission from the contributor.

In this monster of a market, buyers are willing to overlook just about anything to own a home, including a few ghosts.

About 58 percent of homebuyers say they’d consider purchasing a haunted home, according to an October 2022 survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Clever Real Estate’s partner Real Estate Witch. In fact, nearly one-fourth of Americans (24 percent) believe they’ve already lived in a real haunted house.

Today, 69 percent of Americans believe in the paranormal — down from 76 percent in 2021 and 70 percent in 2020. Although Americans’ faith in the supernatural is waning, believers’ conviction stems from firsthand experience.

About 60 percent of respondents say they’ve personally experienced a supernatural event, with more than 1 in 4 people (28 percent) saying they’ve seen a ghost and 1 in 7 people (14 percent) saying they’ve seen a UFO.

However, about 1 in 4 respondents (26 percent) say they’ve experienced paranormal activity less often in the past year. It’s possible that as Americans return to pre-pandemic activities, they aren’t as well-positioned to observe mysterious occurrences in their homes.

As Americans spend less time at home in 2022, fewer people believe they’ve lived in a haunted house. Among those who have not shared a house with ghosts, however, two-thirds (67 percent) believe it’s possible for a home to be haunted.

  • Nearly 1 in 3 people (31 percent) knew the home was haunted before they moved in and still chose to live there.
  • Cat owners are a superstitious bunch, with three-fourths (76 percent) saying they believe in the supernatural. They are 53 percent more likely than non-cat owners to say they’ve lived in a haunted house.
  • Nearly two-thirds of sellers (65 percent) would only disclose a haunting under certain circumstances, while 8 percent would refuse to disclose a haunted home, even if it was required by law.
  • About 58 percent of Americans would consider buying a haunted house. Of those, more than 2 in 3 buyers (69 percent) would only consider purchasing a haunted house for a lower price in this scary market — a 10 percent increase from buyers who said the same in 2021.
  • If a haunted home matched all their criteria, 59 percent of buyers would still offer less than market value, while 1 in 6 buyers (17 percent) would actually pay above market value.
  • Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) would rather purchase a haunted house than live in a former meth lab.
  • Ghosts are frightening, but 94 percent of homeowners are more afraid of home repair issues, such as mold (63 percent), termites (63 percent), and foundation problems (60 percent).
  • Purchasing a haunted home is the least of buyers’ worries. The scariest aspects of homeownership are unexpected costs (54 percent), nightmarish neighbors (44 percent), and an inability to pay their mortgage (39 percent).
  • Despite widespread fears, few Americans take steps to ensure their safety. One-third of Americans (31 percent) fear house fires, but 40 percent don’t have a fire extinguisher. Yet 1 in 10 Americans has the equipment to detect a supernatural presence.

Nearly 1 in 4 Americans believe they’ve lived in a real haunted house

As Americans plan their Halloween festivities, many won’t have to step outside their front door to encounter a ghost.

About one-fourth of Americans (24 percent) believe they’ve lived in a real haunted house. An additional 17 percent say they’re unsure, leaving open the possibility that their home is bewitched.

The percentage of Americans who believe they’ve lived in a spook house, however, dropped significantly from 2021, when 44 percent said they roomed with ghosts.

As employees return to the office and Americans spend less of their free time at home, it’s possible they are less likely to observe otherworldly occurrences.

Unsurprisingly, Americans are more likely to believe they’ve lived in a haunted house if they already believe in the supernatural.

One-third of believers (33 percent) claim they’ve shared a home with ghosts, making them 7x more likely than non-believers to say so (5 percent).

Younger generations are more inclined to believe, with nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of millennials and Gen Z each saying the supernatural exists. By contrast, just more than half of baby boomers (55 percent) say the same.

It’s no surprise, then, that only 1 in 8 boomers (13 percent) say they’ve lived in a haunted house, compared to 1 in 4 millennials (26 percent) and 1 in 3 Gen Z (32 percent).

Cat owners are another superstitious bunch, with about three-fourths (76 percent) saying they believe in the supernatural. That’s 22 percent higher than the overall respondent pool.

Although cat owners aren’t any more likely to believe black cats are bad luck, they are 53 percent more likely to say they’ve lived in a haunted house.

2 in 3 haunted homeowners didn’t know their house was bewitched

Among those who have lived in a real haunted home, 1 in 3 respondents (31 percent) were aware of the haunting and still chose to live there.

But more than two-thirds of Americans (69 percent) were in for a surprise. Homeowners say they discovered their house was haunted after they moved in because of eerie experiences, such as:

  • Strange noises (61 percent)
  • Feelings of being touched or watched (52 percent)
  • Rooms emitting a haunted feeling (44 percent)
  • Strange shadows (43 percent)
  • Cold or hot spots (40 percent)

Some of this “evidence” may have rational explanations, such as groaning pipes or a malfunctioning air conditioner, but more than 1 in 3 Americans who claim to have lived in a haunted house (38 percent) say they have seen a ghost in their home.

Another 1 in 6 (16 percent) say a paranormal expert confirmed their home was haunted.

2 in 3 sellers would only disclose a haunting under certain circumstances

Only 16 percent of Americans who have lived in a haunted house knew their home was bewitched because the seller disclosed it.

There is broad support for more disclosure laws among Americans, but that support is waning.

In 2021, about three-fourths of respondents (73 percent) said the government should require sellers to disclose if their home is haunted. That dropped to 60 percent in 2022.

As the market slows, sellers may be wary of scaring off prospective buyers. Additionally, home buyers tend to devalue haunted homes, and sellers may withhold the information to keep more profit in their pockets.

Nearly two-thirds of sellers (65 percent) would only reveal a haunting under certain circumstances — such as a direct question from the buyer or a mandatory disclosure law.

An additional 8 percent would refuse to disclose a haunted home, even if it was required by law.

That leaves just 1 in 4 sellers (27 percent) who would willingly warn buyers about a haunted home — down from 38 percent in 2021.

More than half of respondents would purchase a haunted house

As rising mortgage rates slow fierce demand for housing, the market may seem a little less scary than it did last year. Still, 58 percent of Americans would dare to buy a haunted house. Just 42 percent say they wouldn’t buy one under no circumstances.

Of those, 25 percent wouldn’t hesitate to call a spook house home, while 33 percent would only do so under certain circumstances.

Millennials, desperate to own homes, are the most likely to risk living with things that go bump in the night.

Nearly 2 in 3 millennials (63 percent) would at least consider buying a haunted house, while one-third of those respondents (30 percent) say a possible haunting wouldn’t impact their decision at all. 

For comparison, just 16 percent of boomers say they’d buy a haunted house without question.

More than 1 in 3 haunted house buyers don’t believe in the supernatural

Many Americans don’t need convincing to purchase a haunted house. Five percent of buyers would actually prefer it.

Of those who want to live in a haunted house, 57 percent say it’s because they like interacting with the supernatural. Those buyers also show an interest in:

  • True crime (43 percent)
  • Horror movies (41 percent)
  • Saving money (35 percent)

The other 20 percent of buyers who wouldn’t hesitate to purchase a haunted house care less about paranormal activity and more about the practical aspects of home buying.

In fact, 39 percent of those buyers don’t even believe in the supernatural. They are primarily motivated by:

  • The condition of a home (43 percent)
  • Saving money on their home purchase (34 percent)
  • Finding any home in a competitive market (18 percent)

Saving money is the No. 1 reason Americans would buy a haunted house

Since 2020, the median home sale price in the U.S. has increased nearly 34 percent — rising to $440,300 in the second quarter of 2022.

With home values rising fast, many would-be home buyers are priced out of the market. To land an affordable property, though, Americans would tolerate a few ghouls.

Of those who would consider buying a haunted home, more than two-thirds (69 percent) say they’d do so to save money. That’s 10 percent more than the 63 percent who said the same in 2021.

Besides price, respondents say they’d consider buying a haunted house if it had:

  • Friendly ghosts (52 percent)
  • A safer neighborhood (50 percent)
  • A larger yard or more land (42 percent)
  • More square footage (38 percent)

Convenience is key to boomers and millennials, who are 2x more likely than Gen Z to overlook a haunting if a home is close to amenities.

Meanwhile, Gen Z seems to value quality education. They are 163 percent more likely than boomers and 45 percent more likely than millennials to buy a haunted home if it’s located in a better school district.

More than half of buyers wouldn’t pay full price for a haunted home

Although buyers are open to purchasing haunted houses, they clearly view them as less desirable. As a result, they wouldn’t pay full market value. 

Even if a haunted home matched all of their criteria, 59 percent of buyers would still offer less than market value — up from 52 percent who said the same in 2021.

The percentage of buyers who’d demand a discount includes:

  • 28 percent who’d offer 1 percent–20 percent below market value
  • 23 percent who’d offer 21 percent–50 percent below market value
  • 8 percent who’d offer more than 50 percent below market value

That’s striking in a market where the average home sold for more than its listing price for 17 straight months, stretching back to March 2021.

Although the market is cooling as interest rates rise, about 1 in 6 buyers (17 percent) would still pay above market value for a haunted house. Of those, believers in the supernatural are 38 percent more likely than non-believers to offer more.

Believers may find living with the supernatural more exciting than ordinary life, but they also tend to be young people who are willing to take more risks to own homes.

Nearly one-third of Gen Z (31 percent) would pay above market value for a haunted home, making the cohort 6x more likely than baby boomers to do so.

Likewise, millennials are nearly 4x more likely than boomers to pay above market value.

Haunted houses terrify more than 40% of homebuyers

Living in a haunted house can be a lot less fun than visiting one on Halloween. For 42 percent of Americans, nothing could convince them to purchase a home they knew was haunted.

Their refusal to buy a haunted house stems from concerns about their mental and physical health. Approximately 65 percent of Americans say living in a haunted house would cause too much anxiety, while 40 percent say they’d fear being physically harmed.

Another 1 in 4 Americans (22 percent) worry friends and family wouldn’t visit if their home was haunted, but those fears are largely unfounded. 

Two-thirds of respondents (75 percent) say they’d visit someone who lived in a haunted house, but nearly one-third of those people (31 percent) wouldn’t stay overnight.

Americans could be convinced to spend the night in a real haunted house, but it will cost homeowners a hefty price. Respondents would need compensation of at least $36,500 to sleep in a haunted residence. 

Other buyers avoid haunted real estate for more pragmatic reasons. 

Where some people see ghosts, others see concrete problems. Nearly 1 in 3 respondents (30 percent) say paranormal activity could actually indicate defects in the home, such as leaky pipes or a bad foundation. 

Another third of Americans (30 percent) worry that buying a real haunted house would hurt their resale value.

Just 1 in 4 Americans would move if they learned their home was haunted

Many Americans are reluctant to move, even if they think their home is haunted.

Before relocating, more than 1 in 3 Americans (36 percent) would first try to cleanse the home by burning sage or other methods. Americans would also try to:

  • Contact the ghosts (19 percent)
  • Make the home more comfortable for the ghosts (17 percent)
  • Conduct an exorcism of the home (16 percent)

However, some phenomena are too creepy for many to endure. One-fourth of Americans (25 percent) would move immediately if they learned their home was haunted.

The creepiest cases that would prompt Americans to eventually move from their home, even if not immediately, include:

  • Objects moving or levitating on their own (41 percent)
  • A serious crime committed in or near their home (37 percent)
  • Feelings of being touched or watched (35 percent)
  • Ghost sightings (29 percent)
  • Learning about a crime or death in the home prior to occupancy (28 percent)

Homeowners who have previously lived in haunted real estate are less likely to pack their bags because of spooky occurrences on a regular basis. But they have two noticeable red flags that indicate serious trouble — strange behavior and crime.

Homeowners who have lived in real haunted houses are 36 percent and 40 percent more likely to move if a child or pet begins acting strangely, respectively. They are also 14 percent more likely to move if a serious crime was committed in the home before their occupancy.

Overall, homeowners in 2022 are more tolerant of strange phenomena than they were a year ago.

Almost 1 in 5 respondents (18 percent) say none of these phenomena would convince them to relocate, compared to 11 percent in 2021.

Buying a haunted home is preferable to a former meth lab

Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) would rather buy a haunted home than live in a former meth lab.

Millennials and Gen Z consider previous drug labs as the most undesirable properties, while boomers view homes that were former cult locations with slightly greater disdain.

The younger generations, however, are willing to make significant compromises to own homes in a competitive market. Surprisingly, 56 percent of millennials and 58 percent of Gen Z would not consider a former meth lab to be a deal-breaker.

Homes that are less desirable than a haunted house also include homes:

  • Within a mile of a waste management facility (42 percent)
  • Within a mile of a prison (40 percent)
  • With a history of cult activity (39 percent)
  • Where a serious crime was committed (38 percent)
  • Next to a cemetery (33 percent)
  • That is dirty or cluttered (33 percent)
  • Within a mile of a busy highway (24 percent)

Assuming everything about a home fits their needs, nearly 1 in 4 Americans (24 percent) wouldn’t purchase a home that’s even rumored to be haunted.

Home buyers can’t be too picky in today’s market, however, and they are more willing to overlook potentially ill-fated omens than they were a year ago.

For example, more than one-fourth of Americans (29 percent) believe 666 is an unlucky number, but they are 58 percent less likely than last year to say a home with a devilish address is a deal-breaker.

Respondents are also 35 percent less likely than in 2021 to report that they’d avoid buying a house where someone has died of natural causes. Unfortunately, this could indicate greater familiarity with death since the onset of COVID-19.

94% of Americans believe home maintenance is scarier than a haunted house

Just 6 percent of Americans believe potential ghosts are the scariest aspect of homeownership. Instead, 94 percent of respondents are more afraid of home repairs to remediate problems such as:

  • Mold (63 percent)
  • Termites (63 percent)
  • Foundation issues (60 percent)
  • Asbestos (60 percent)
  • Water damage (58 percent)
  • Pests (57 percent)
  • Leaky roof (56 percent)
  • Lead paint (53 percent)

Gen Z is the least concerned about physical home problems, particularly those that involve noxious chemicals that can cause cancer.

Eighty percent of Gen Z does not consider radon more concerning than a haunted house, while 73 percent and 74 percent say lead paint and asbestos are also less worrisome, respectively.

These problems are frightening, however, because they’re expensive to repair. That knowledge does little to assuage the No. 1 fear of homeownership — unexpected costs.

A majority of buyers (54 percent) say HOA fees, home repair costs, and other hidden expenses are the scariest part of owning a home, followed by:

  • Nightmarish neighbors (44 percent)
  • The inability to pay their mortgage (39 percent)
  • Rising crime in the neighborhood (38 percent)
  • Natural disasters (36 percent)

1 in 10 Americans own ghost-detecting technology

Despite widespread fears about owning a home, few Americans take steps to ensure their safety. In fact, Americans are less likely to own home safety equipment than they were a year ago.

Although more than 1 in 3 Americans (38 percent) fear rising crime, more than half (56 percent) don’t have a security or alarm system.

Another third (31 percent) fear house fires, but nearly 1 in 4 Americans (23 percent) haven’t installed smoke detectors or sprinklers in their homes. Additionally, 40 percent don’t have a fire extinguisher.

Yet 1 in 10 Americans owns the equipment to detect a supernatural presence.

Gen Z harbors the most fears about homeownership

Gen Z expressed the most anxiety about homeownership, including the possibility of buying a haunted home (25 percent).

They are 3 times more likely than boomers and 1.5x more likely than millennials to fear the discovery of a house already occupied by ghosts.

It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that nearly one-fourth of Gen Z (23 percent) has equipment in their homes to detect a supernatural presence. That makes them 23x more likely than boomers and 2x more likely than millennials to own such technology.

Gen Z may harbor more fears about homeownership, but that doesn’t mean they take safety more seriously. In fact, they are the generation most likely to forgo basic safety items.

About 59 percent of Gen Zers don’t own a carbon monoxide detector, 51 percent don’t own a fire extinguisher, and 33 percent don’t have a smoke detector.

However, 6 percent of millennials don’t take any safety measures, making them the generation most likely to take no safety precautions at all.

Methodology

The proprietary data featured in this study comes from an online survey commissioned by Real Estate Witch. One thousand people were surveyed Aug. 31, 2022. Each respondent answered up to 21 questions related to supernatural phenomena and haunted homes.

Jaime Dunaway-Seale is a content writer at Clever Real Estate, the leading real estate education platform for home buyers, sellers, and investors. Before joining Clever, Jaime worked full-time as a journalist. Her writings about education, government, business, and sports have appeared in Slate, The Associated Press, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and Advocate Media.

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