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Haunted Homes Spook the Market

Friday, October 28, 2016

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Buying a home is a stressful proposition. That nice-looking house can come with all kind of strings attached: old wiring, leaky roof, plumbing problems. Then there are the houses that come with another kind of issue—the paranormal kind.

Real estate website TopTenRealEstateDeals.com has put together a list of what it calls the top ten haunted houses on the market this year, just in time for Halloween, and they range from obscure sites of violence and mental asylums to some very famous homes.

Details on two of the listed houses appear below.

Amityville Horror

The best-known name on the list is likely the Amityville Horror House, inspiration for the book and movie series of the same name. The home at 108 Ocean Ave. in Amityville, NY, is on the market for the second time this decade, having sold for $950,000 in 2010.

Amityville house
Images: TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The so-called "Amityville Horror House," at 108 Ocean Ave. in Amityville, NY, is on the market for the second time this decade.

The 5,000-square-foot Amityville house has been remodeled, which is probably the least that could be done. The house was the site, in 1974, where Ronald DeFeo Jr. killed his entire family—both parents and four siblings—with a rifle.

The 1977 book The Amityville Horror, by Jay Anson, detailed the supposedly true events of 1975 and 1976, when a family moved into the house where the murders had taken place, and over a 28-day period experienced a slew of frightening paranormal phenomena.

The next inhabitants of the house have said they lived there for a decade without any trouble, and the Amityville tales have been dismissed by some as fiction. George Lutz, who had lived in the house during the alleged haunting, has insisted that the events did take place.

The Amityville house has been on the market for $850,000 since June.

Spirits and Photo Shoots

Elsewhere in New York, on Staten Island, is the Gustav Mayer House, an 1855 mansion that hasn’t witnessed murders, but is known for its owners' less-than-average behavior.

Mayer himself, a baker who reportedly created what would become Nabisco’s Nilla Wafers, lived there until his 1918 death, and both of his daughters stayed in the house until their respective deaths, both in their 100s. As the story goes, the pair never even went downstairs, staying in their bedrooms their entire adult lives.

Gustav Mayer house

Even after a new owner took over the Gustav Mayer House in the 1990s and updated the first floor, the rest of the house—the exterior, and the upstairs where the ladies resided all those years—remained in state.

Even after a new owner took over in the 1990s and updated the first floor, the rest of the house—the exterior, and the upstairs where the ladies resided all those years—remained in state.

While some say there are whispers of haunting in the house, others have flocked to it: Top models have been involved in photo shoots at the house in recent years, as it’s been in great demand for its mix of grandeur and decay.

As of last year, when the house first went on the market, the New York Post reported that the owner was doing renovations to the building, which might eliminate some of the creepy charm. But if you believe those who say it’s haunted by the spirits of residents who spent decades there without going outside, you might wonder if a renovation will really cleanse the house.

The Gustave Mayer house is currently still on the market, for $1.75 million, according to Realtor.com.

Haunted Houses and the Law

Some states have laws on the books stating that a seller must disclose to a potential buyer if a property is thought to be haunted, as such properties can be considered to be “stigmatized.”

In a Realtor.com guide to selling a haunted house, the site recommends that a selling agent speak up if they or someone else has witnessed “objects levitating or moving by themselves; strange voices or sounds when no one else is around; or recurrent, out-of-the-ordinary phenomena with light and shadow.”

While the condition of, say, the Amityville Horror house may go without saying, it’s best to check local laws when putting your spook-ridden property on the market.

Read the full list of 10 “haunted” properties, including a “Santa Claus Ghost Town” and a Michigan mental asylum on the market, at TopTenRealEstateDeals.com.


Tagged categories: Business matters; Historic Preservation; Residential

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