Got a ghost? You’ll get a fright if you sell the house

Got a ghost? You’ll get a fright if you sell the house
Got a ghost? You’ll get a fright if you sell the house

You might think your home is out of this world but if it has a macabre history it may come back to haunt you.

At least that is the claim of a new study which reveals that supposedly haunted houses are having thousands of pounds wiped off their value the moment they are investigated for paranormal activity.

Statistician Dr Geoff Ellis said his study into 25 British "haunted houses", sold over the last half-century, revealed they lost an average of 17 per cent off their value compared with the sale prices of similar homes nearby.

What was said to be Scotland's most haunted house lay empty for decades before it was finally sold.

The eerie 18th century home, called Windhouse, nestled in the centre of a tiny island nature reserve, had only one permanent resident since the 1920s - a ghostly apparition known as the "lady in silk".

Legend had it the haunting was the result of one event, in the 19th century. The house's then-owner, a man called Harrison, decided that sheep would be more profitable than people and evicted his tenants in a mini Highland clearance.

One old lady, forced from her home, is said to have cursed Windhouse and everyone who would ever live in it.

Ghostly inhabitants have since included a lady dressed in silk who is believed to be the spirit of a woman whose skeleton was found under floorboards of the main stairs.

So called because of the rustling sound of her dress and petticoats, the ghoul was said to walk three times in a circle at the top of a flight of stairs, give a sigh, and then disappear.

The Grade-C listed home on Yell, Shetland which was first built in 1707 and then rebuilt in 1880, was eventually bought in 2003 by the couple from Cheshire who fell in love with the place and planned to renovate the castellated house. But it fell through.

Twelve years later the building which is on Historic Environment Scotland's buildings at risk register was put back on the market, with offers above £25,000 and prospective purchasers were advised not to enter the site because of the building's extremely dangerous condition.

Dr Ellis's research suggests having a haunted house would knock almost £40,000 off the average UK property price when it came to selling it.

A separate survey of 2,000 Britons found nearly one in four believed their houses were haunted, while 55% said they would be put off buying a haunted house.

The study, believed to be the first in the world looking at paranormal property, was commissioned by TV channel Really to mark the new series of Help! My House Is Haunted.

Barri Ghai, Sandy Lakdar and Chris Fleming from Help! My House is Haunted on Really

Adam Collings, Really channel director said: “It’s staggering how much money could be wiped-off the value of your property, should you feel your house is haunted; and eye-opening to see just how many of us have experienced spooky goings-on at home.

"The research suggests it’s probably a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for paranormal activity when viewing a property, as your new house could become a very bad investment when you come to sell it, should it be found to be haunted.”

The gloomy findings also found that well over half of the Scottish respondents (61%) say they’d be put off buying a haunted house, whilst 27% of property buyers have felt a spooky presence when viewing a house, which has put them off buying.

It certainly did not appear to put off Prince Charles who bought Dumfries House, a then dilapidated 18th century Scottish mansion that he saved for the nation at the 11th hour, 11 years ago.

It was put on the market and its contents were already on their way to an auction house ready to be sold off. But a group convened by the prince secured the property and its furniture for £45m, with £20m personally guaranteed by Charles himself.

The Duchess of Cornwall recently admitted that a visit to the rundown mansion soon after its purchase left her spooked and that she was unable to enter for several years after being convinced it was haunted.

"It had a really eerie feel about it," she said. "There was definitely a ghost. Without a shadow of a doubt. I remember the first time I walked up the steps, got into the hall and I thought I can't go any further. I literally froze. If my hair could stand on end, it would have done.

"I remember leaving and thinking I don't want to come back here again and I didn't for a few years."

Camilla would later become more accustomed to the house's idiosyncrasies .

Given the survey results, it was perhaps unsurprising to find that eight in ten Scots (80%) polled said they would lie to their estate agent to cover up the fact their house was haunted to avoid the financial consequences.

Latest Property News