Who’s Afraid of Haunted Real Estate?
You know the feeling
It’s a cool autumn night, and the twilight breeze begins to whistle through the window panes. Leaves rustle outside, and shadows dance along the walls. Grateful for the warmth of your bed, you shut out the light and curl up under the blankets. But just as you begin to drift off to sleep, you hear something – a soft noise. Maybe the floorboards settling with the weather. Perhaps a creak from the basement stairs. But nothing out of the ordinary, really.
But then. Then, there’s this feeling that you shouldn’t fall asleep just yet. So instead, you sit up and listen intently. Something is different. You push the blankets aside and quietly get out of bed. Padding silently across the room, you creep down the hall and peer out the windows. Everything appears to be in order. You check all the locks and open every closet door in the house, but there is simply no explanation for this feeling of unease. Nonetheless, you just can’t shake it. Several cups of tea and a few reruns later, you nod off to sleep, only to wake the next morning wondering what in the world had gotten into you.
If you’ve never had this experience, lucky you
If you have, then I’m certain you wondered (even for the briefest moment) whether or not your house might be haunted.
With Halloween just around the corner, Realtor.com released their Haunted Housing Report last week, indicating that 62 percent of consumers admitted to being open to purchasing haunted real estate. Thirty-six percent said they might consider a haunted home, and 38 percent said no way.
As a real estate salesperson, recently finishing classes, at the West Virginia Real Estate School, Spruce, it’s interesting to understand how people perceive homes with a spooky backstory, or what “warning signs” they think might indicate that a house is haunted. For instance, the Realtor.com report revealed that consumers considered the following as signs a home could be haunted:
- A cemetery on the property
- The home is over 100 years old
- Quick transitions in owners
- Unexplainable low price
- Close proximity to a battlefield.
Real Estate Salespeople Be Forewarned
But, real estate salespeople be forewarned: even though the majority of consumers are open to purchasing haunted real estate in West Virginia, many also expect to receive a discount. And you should also know that the following occurrences might stop a buyer from purchasing a house all together:
- Strange noises
- Warm or cold spots
- Flickering lights/appliances
- Supernatural sensations
- Ghost sightings
So there you have it. If you are (or aspire to hold) a West Virginia real estate license, keep an eye out for the properties with a bit of history. Every house has a story, but not every house has a ghost story.
To finish off in the spirit of Halloween, we thought it would be fun to share a few local haunted real estate stories: how would you like to be the listing agent for any of these West Virginia properties?
Borland Springs Hotel, Borland, WV
According to Theresa’s Haunted History of the Tri-State, this hotel was built by John Wilber Grimm in 1908, and business flourished until 1918 when Grimm’s son, Frank Chandis Grimm shot and killed 20-year-0ld John Maidens in the spring house. Apparently, the murder was the result of a love triangle involving a young woman named Miss Pearson, and soon after the crime, business took a turn for the worse. Despite renovations (including the blood-stained spring house) and other improvements, guests reported hearing strange noises and experiencing other eerie occurrences. The hotel officially shut down in 1941, but it is still rumored to be haunted.
The Apollo Theater, Martinsburg, WV
Built in 1913, the Apollo Theater came under new management in the 1920s by a man named Charlie, who often wore a fedora pulled low over his forehead and his coat collar turned up. During his time there, he enjoyed taking strolls along the streets of the city, puffing away at a cigar and taking in the hustle and bustle of the town. To this day, eyewitnesses have spotted Charlie’s figure outside the theater, and others have encountered the smell of cigar smoke while working inside the theater.
The Frederick Hotel, Huntington, WV
This hotel was the hub of entertainers
and high-profile newsmakers back in its heyday. It’s grand opening was held in 1906, and the entire construction cost $400,000. According to sources, the restaurant area and the sixth floor are the most haunted, and first hand accounts describe the sounds of children, footsteps, and the sound of keys jangling in the hallways. One eyewitness claims to have been sitting in the main lobby of the building when the lobby music suddenly stopped, and a scream broke the silence. Then the music picked back up as if nothing had happened. Others have heard the sounds of “ghosts arguing” and there was reportedly a murder-suicide in the building several years ago.
So there’s a sampling of the haunted history of West Virginia . . . whether you believe in ghosts or not, it’s still fun to learn about the rich history of local real estate. Those stories often last longer than the buildings themselves, and add to the lore and character of our hometowns. And speaking of, we love first-hand testimonials of real-life haunted houses. Please share your own ghost stories with the West Virginia real estate schoolin the comments!
These great halloween tidbits are brought to you by the West Virginia Real Estate School, Spruce School of Real Estate. Helping thousands of people get their West Virginia real estate license for over 20 years!
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