In my career as a Realtor, I have sold over 500 homes in the Bryan and College Station area. A few of these properties were homes that had a history; that is homes where previous owners had died on the property.
According to the law in Texas, if the house is considered a “Notorious House,” meaning the home is well known by the general public for what has happened on or in the premises, be it due to a death or a home repeatedly said to have ghosts, it has to be disclosed to all potential buyers. However, an exception to this rule is if a death occurs on the property and it was the result of natural causes, suicide, or an accident unrelated to the condition of the property. Under these circumstances, the death that occurred does not have to be disclosed to a potential home buyer.
Back in my first year of selling real estate, many years ago, I was showing a young couple a home that had just come on the market for sale, when the neighbor walked out and waved us over. “Are you thinking about buying Mrs. Murphy’s home?” she asked. “Yes, my clients answered. It has a great floor plan!” “Well, it’d be mighty fine to have you as neighbors,” she responded…” then almost as an after thought she added “Ya know, she be dead 4 or 5 days in that house before they found her.” Needless to say, we did not write an offer on that home.
Often, when a Realtor sells a home, we have no idea if a death has occurred on the property or not. (We do find out quickly via the neighbors however, if the home has a reputation of being haunted.) I will never forget one listing appointment I went on, where the Seller told me, “The neighbors will tell you this home is haunted, but really it is not. The ghost-lady is only seen peeling potatoes here in the kitchen occasionally.”
If you are a Buyer and concerned about the possibility that someone might have died in a property you are considering buying, the best way I have found to determine if the house has a past is to Google the property address on the World Wide Web. Typically, if something noteworthy has happened to the home, it’s likely there is a police report posted on the web that can tell you all the details. I discovered this when a previous client called me asking why I had not told him there was a ghost in his house before he bought it. I assured the client the home did not have any uninvited inhabitants, as it was less than 5 years old and only had one previous owner—whom we had met at the closing table, just a week or so ago. I asked the client what made him think there may be a ghost in his home. His answer was for me to come over as it was currently standing in the room with him. (Truly, I had no idea how to respond to that statement.) After a bit of research on public records and police reports, I typed in the property’s address on the world wide web. To my surprise, the web pulled up the home right away and, as it turned out, the Seller’s spouse had committed suicide in the master bedroom of what was now my client’s home. We had the home blessed by my client’s church and thankfully, they report no further encounters.
During my career, I have only sold one officially Notorious Home. This was a home where a family of 4 had been murdered back in the early 1970’s and, almost everyone in town knew the home for the events that had occurred there so long ago. I can tell you, property value can definitely be affected by a home’s grizzly past. This property went for approximately $25,000.00 less than what a home in the area would normally sell for—and was under contract 3 separate times— before finding a buyer who was ok with the property’s history.
While I am certainly no psychic, and am not sure if I personally believe in ghosts and deceased spirits roaming the earth, I have shown a few vacant homes where both myself and my clients got a bit of an uneasy feeling walking through the home. I can definitely recall one particular home in Bryan that I can confidently say—“if there is such a thing as a haunted house, this house 100% fits the bill.” Every time I would try to take interior photos of the home, they would come out fuzzy and yellow. The lights inside the property were constantly flickering whenever I went from room to room and, I would switch off a light, leave the property, get in my car, and notice the light was back on! I offered the Realtors in my office a free lunch if any could provide me with interior photos that were not blurry or out of color, and although several Realtors tried, their cameras would die in the home or their pictures would come out like mine. I never had to pay out on my offer with a free meal. Needless to say I was “Oh, So Happy!” when that house sold.
If you are feeling especially brave, and want to stay at a Haunted House, right down the road just about 40 minutes from Bryan-College Station in Calvert, Texas there is a little Bed & Breakfast known as The Hammond House. The TFC Paranormal Research Team, a real ghost-hunting team based out of Bryan-College Station, recorded Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and other readings at the Hammond House. According to Casey Linda Unger, who headed the team, the property definitely has a few ghostly inhabitants.
To learn more about the Paranormal Research team right here in BCS, you can go to their web site http://www.freakuency.org/about.htm and for information on the Hammond House, or to schedule a little get away just go to http://www.thehammondhouse.com/index.php but, if the place is haunted, don’t expect a good night’s sleep!
If you have questions or are thinking about buying or selling your home,–notorious or not– feel free to give me a call at 979-218-2235 or visit my website: www.buyincollegestation.com