Farm Fridays

How to Sell a Haunted House

By Meaghan Loraas Last Updated April 8, 2022 5 min read

Hello there, and welcome back to Farm Fridays. As we near All Hallows’ Eve, I thought I’d give some advice on how to sell a haunted house. Now, I’m sure most real estate professionals would prefer not to win a listing with permanent tenants, but you can’t have everything you want. In these cases, it’s best to follow my tips on finding qualified leads for your spooky property. Hint: It’s all about the spin.

1. Check the Law

In most of the country, you can’t be held liable if you fail to mention a death on the property. However, these laws vary based on state and local statutes. While you are required to relinquish “material facts” to potential buyers, most states don’t consider “reason for moving” or deaths as “material facts.” This law is usually meant to include structural issues of the property, such as foundation problems or a leaky roof. However, in some states, haunted houses fall into the category of stigmatized properties. Stigmatized properties don’t necessarily sell for less money or stay on the market long. A survey from showed that nearly 60% of respondents would consider purchasing and living in a haunted house.

Unusual Haunted House Laws

  • In Kansas, it is illegal to scream in a haunted house.
  • In Oklahoma, you have to ask in writing if the house is haunted or psychologically affected. Then, the seller is required to provide the information.
  • In California, you do not have to acknowledge a death on the property if it occurred more than three years prior. However, if the buyer asks, you have to disclose the death.
  • In Arizona, you don’t have to disclose a death on the property, but you DO have to admit a haunting. 

In most cases, you do not have to disclose a death or a haunting on your property. However, I think it’s probably good practice to answer honestly if the buyer asks. 

2. Investigate

I don’t recommend trying to come up with your haunted house marketing plan until you’ve adequately investigated the property. You’ll want to see if the haunting is physical (dropped objects, doors closing) or more metaphysical (sensed presence, cold spots). Once you figure out the haunting symptoms, you may be a bit closer to figuring out what sort of ghost is present.

Types of Ghosts

There are a few common types of ghosts that tend to stick around and haunt a physical location. I’ll go through a few of them here. Keep in mind; I grew up in the South, so most of my knowledge is limited to the Southern gothic. However, due to the violent history of the deep South, haunted houses are pretty common (in my experience). 


Since I’m from Alabama, I have to start with haints. Haints are ghosts and spirits from the Old South. The idea “originated in the beliefs and customs of the Gullah Geechee people, descendants of African slaves who live predominantly in the Low Country and on the barrier islands off the coast of the Carolinas, Georgia, and north Florida” (Tales of Southern Haints). Typically, haints engage in poltergeist-like behavior: breaking things, making loud noises, moving items. However, some haints known as “boo hags” can be pretty nasty. A boo hag will come into your bedroom at night and drain your energy while you sleep. You’ll wake up exhausted and feeling unwell. No one wants that. 


Did you know that the word poltergeist comes from the German words for “loud ghost?” Unlike haints, who haunt locations, poltergeists tend to haunt a specific person. They make loud noises, move items, break things, and typically try to make life unbearable for the haunted. If your property is said to be haunted by a poltergeist, you may want to check if they left to keep haunting their person. 

Specters and Phantoms

Now, specters and phantoms are what you typically think of ghosts: see-through apparitions of a human. These ghosts often haunt a property or a person due to unfinished business or an unanswered call for revenge against their killers. 

3. Try to Get “Rid” of the Ghosts

As a real estate agent, you may not be particularly well-read on the subject of ghost removal. However, you’ll probably have a better time finding a prospective buyer if the property is free of paranormal activity. For all stigmatized homes, I suggest “cleaning” the house with sage or other products. You can do a couple more things to try and rid the home of ghosts, perhaps with the help of the current owners. 

How to Get Rid of Haints

Again, I know the most about haints. There are a few different ways to get rid of or distract haints. It is said that haints are notoriously easy to distract. You can paint the property or its aspects “haint blue” (an actual color). This particular shade of blue is thought to trick the ghosts into thinking they’re crossing water (which they cannot do) or underneath the sky (sunlight destroys them). Additionally, you can distract haints by putting out a bowl of rice (they can’t help but count each grain) or covering the walls in newspaper (they have to read every word!). If the property has a yard, you could try to build a bottle tree, a specific type of trap meant to trick the ghosts until morning light, during which they’ll burn to a crisp.

How to Get Rid of Phantoms and Specters

Like I mentioned earlier, poltergeists tend to haunt people, not properties. So I’ll focus on how to get rid of other ghosts. Typically, spirits in the form of human apparitions have unfinished business. In these cases, it’s unlikely that you’ll get rid of the ghost without helping it complete its unfinished business. Supernatural activity won’t stop until you figure out what the spirit wants and how to fix it. For this, you may need help from the original owner or an agent with experience selling the property. Whether the spirit suffered a natural death or an accidental death, they may still need to promote negative energy until they get what they want.

A benevolent ghost is critical to remove from any haunted home. Each case is different, but you may be able to get some help from a business like Austin Paranormal Investigations. The company, founded by a former Austin police officer, aims to “provide consultation to people who are experiencing paranormal activity and provide options to deal with its existence.” If you’re a real estate agent in Austin, you’re welcome. However, it’s not that hard to find paranormal assistance. Many paranormal investigators exist all over the country.

4. Price Reduction

If you can’t get rid of the spirits from the physical structure, you may have no other option but to reduce the selling price. However, depending on the notoriety of any stigmatized homes, it may be pretty easy to sell a haunted house while staying firm on price. Paranormal activity does not have to be a listing killer, though there is no doubt that the psychological impact is enormous. Stigmatized houses appear differently to different potential buyers. Scope out your leads to determine whether a price reduction is necessary.

5. Filter Buyer Inquiries

You may want to make sure that your buyer inquiries aren’t just interested in the bad energy. Besides, you’re in the real estate industry, not the attractions industry. You may want to screen your buyer clients to ensure that you’re not spending an excessive amount of time showing the haunted house because of its supernatural phenomenon. 

Conclusion: Tell the Ghost Story

Honestly,  I think that every real estate broker or agent should be honest about the “material defects” of the home, regardless of the local disclosure laws. I would want to know if my house was the site of human death, even if it was so that I was prepared for a haunting. Ultimately, I would advise you to report paranormal activity to buyers. You can even put a positive spin on the paranormal activity. For example, maybe your potential buyer is usually warm. You can point out all of the best cold spots in the house! Besides, selling a haunted house isn’t all that different from selling any other unusual property. You just have to find the right buyer. Happy haunting!