Good to know   /   Buyer Advice  /   Spooky Houses Can Be Good Buys

Spooky Houses Can Be Good Buys

What makes a house look haunted? It could be the tumbleweed landscaping,

paintless trim, broken steps or crooked roof. A house can also carry a stigma that makes buyers reluctant such as an untimely death within the home or a history of renters that could include hoarders, drug dealers, or other unsavory characters. But, it could also simply be ugly or poorly designed with a floorplan or features that don’t quite make sense. 

These are the homes that don’t sell well because buyers don’t appreciate subpar maintenance, bad design, and icky vibes – none of which has anything to do with the home’s structure. Any material problems can be torn out, repaired or replaced. Any stigma fades with time, which means the house for sale that gives you the creeps could turn out to be a good investment.  

Would you be able to look past a home’s shortcomings to get a good deal? According to, nearly half of homebuyers wouldn’t touch a stigmatized or haunted house, but one in three buyers would purchase one if they could get a lower price. Fortunately, spooky houses are usually discounted and priced to sell with sellers that are willing to allow you to bring inspectors and contractors to address all your questions and what-ifs. Your financial commitment should be no more than the cost of the home plus the cost of renovations as long as they’re equal to or below the other home values in the area. 

Here are a few things that you can overcome to you end up with the best house in the neighborhood: 

Poor lighting – Dark rooms can be depressing, so what can be changed? If the house has no ceiling lights, you can add canned lights, chandeliers, ceiling fans, sconces, and other lighting solutions to brighten the place. You can replace or enlarge the windows. You can trim trees and replace overgrown bushes. You can update the electrical panel to allow for the installation of more outlets and lighting.  

Bad living design – Low ceilings, awkward corners, or rooms too small for their purpose can make a home feel claustrophobic. What can you do to make it feel more spacious and gracious? Ceilings can be raised into the attic. Walls can be removed and space can be “borrowed” from another room for better flow.  

Poor maintenance – Keeping a home in good condition shows that it’s loved, while neglect makes homebuyers feel uncomfortable. Make a list of what needs to be fixed and what needs to be replaced, and if you’re not sure what to do, your inspector, contractor, and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional can each contribute ideas and expertise. 

Mystery stains and smells – If the problem is odor, it could be pets, smoking, old furnishings, or musty spaces. Dampness can suggest water damage in bathrooms or kitchens.  The odor simply has to be identified and eliminated through cleaning, remediation or remodeling. 

Lack of updates – Interiors that are stuck in the past look more like period movie sets than homes. Updating which can eliminate a lot of problems. But think about it. Does it matter if a home is two or three generations out of date? If you’re going to update, you’re replacing what’s theree anyway to make it your own taste and lifestyle. 

Just make sure to get remodeling and repair estimates before you close on the home so that you can avoid over-improving for the neighborhood. If the costs are way too much, such as foundation problems plus remodeling, you can pass this nightmare up. Otherwise, welcome to the home of your dreams.