The ghosts and goblins in our homes might be more than Halloween decorations fashioned from scissored bed sheets and carved pumpkins -- so say a large number of those recently surveyed about living in a haunted house. According to the poll by Realtor.com, more than a third of the consumers it questioned reported living in a haunted house, or at least in one that they suspect might be. And 63 percent said that they either would be willing to buy a haunted house or at least consider it -- though far fewer would pay full market value.
2013's Haunted Housing Report from the real estate listing and news site asked 1,400 consumers a few weeks ago a variety of questions about their experiences with and attitudes toward haunted real estate. Among the "warning signs" of a possible haunting: 61 percent cited a cemetery on the property; 50 percent, a home being at least a century old; while 45 percent said a very low price and a quick change of ownership. Close proximity to a battlefield was a concern for 43 percent.
Of those who would buy a haunted home, many said they'd only do so at a deep discount. Such a home would have to have a purchase price greater than a 30 percent, said 41 percent of the respondents, before they'd even consider buying one. But don't bank on deciding once you're ready to buy. Chances are you will not know that a house is haunted, because in most states the seller will not have to disclose purported paranormal activity -- as seller disclosures tend to focus on the structural issues of the home.
The main way to find out: "Do your homework about the property. Go poke around the neighborhood. Ask questions," says Leslie Piper, a consumer housing specialist for Realtor.com who is also a licensed San Francisco Bay-area agent. Piper told AOL Real Estate that she once bought a haunted house without realizing it. Although she never saw a ghost or spotted levitating objects, Piper says she did have eerie feelings about her Victorian home and had a reputed expert in such matters burn sage there as a way of removing the spirit.
"The concept of a house being haunted is one thing," says Piper, "but actually seeing it, takes it to another level." For instance, most survey respondents -- 75 percent -- said levitating objects would keep them from buying the home, whereas somewhat fewer -- 63 percent -- felt that they would be dissuaded by ghosts. Sixty-one percent said that they'd be scared off by "flickering lights/appliances" or "supernatural sensations," with 60 percent expressing wariness about "strange noises."
In 2012, Michele Callan and her then-fiance, Josue Chinchilla sued their landlord for a $2,250 deposit on a Toms River, N.J., home that they claimed was haunted, AOL Real Estate reported. The couple claimed to be victims of disturbing paranormal activity that included menacing voices, flickering lights, moving bedsheets and clothes mysteriously flying from closets.
Others, meanwhile, relish the possibility of a haunted encounter. The owners of purported axe murderer Lizzie Borden's former home (pictured above), where she reputedly killed her parents, rents as a bed and breakfast for those hoping to spot the ghosts of Andrew and Abby Borden wandering the grounds.
Then there are whole towns in the U.S. that embrace the spirit of the Halloween season, not just now, but all year round, as seen in the slideshow below. Included are links to a sampling of homes for sale in those places -- but please don't assume any supernatural "extras" come as part of the deal:
AMERICA'S TOP HALLOWEEN TOWNS:
More about haunted houses:
Real 'Haunted' Houses
10 Haunted Houses You Wouldn't Want to Live In
Haunted House Discounts in Hong Kong Scared Off by Housing Boom
More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find homes for sale in your area.
Find foreclosures in your area.
Find homes for rent in your area.
Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.