A haunted home in the US could be a good property investment project, according to one expert. Bonnie Vent, psychic detective and creator of the San Diego Paranormal Research website, which allows owners of haunted houses to advertise their properties for interested buyers, told TheMoveChannel.com's Property Inspector that the smart money lies in ghostly bed and breakfasts.
"I've had this real estate page up for about six years now and what I've noticed is that haunted bed and breakfasts are where there's added value," she said. "To have a haunted reputation is always a good thing because people like the idea of coming to stay there. It's very different to wanting to buy a haunted house and live there permanently until death do them part!"
However, when dealing with property that is alleged to have paranormal links, it is important to be completely honest, as lawsuits can ensue. Ms Vent explained that in the UK a couple bought a home only to be told by neighbours that it was haunted. They had not heard this prior to buying the property and sued the sellers for not disclosing the information. They won the case and were able to get out of the property deal.
In the US there are different laws about disclosure depending on the state in question, so it is important to do research before seizing an investment opportunity. While no rule exists specifically relating to hauntings, there are regulations about disclosing murders, suicides and other untoward activities. For instance, in California it is a legal requirement to state if there has been a death in the property in the last three years, as this is classed as a stigmatised home.
Nevertheless, there is a market for haunted properties and those with a history. Novelty hotels and bed and breakfasts receive a lot of interest. The bed and breakfast industry currently has an estimated worth of USD 3.4 billion in the US and 36 per cent of properties have achieved 'historical designation'. However, changing customer requirements mean that proprietors must stay abreast of the latest trends and developments to appeal to their target audience.