Would you move into a haunted house? Not many of us would, meaning the demand for haunted houses is pretty low. But there is someone, somewhere, who is willing to do it. And for that guy or gal? That means they’re probably going to get an amazing price on the property. The house itself doesn’t even have to be haunted (if it could be at all) — people just have to believe it is.
And belief, when it comes to the real estate market, can be an amazing ally for the frugal.
In a day and age where mortgages and rent keep going up, many of us would jump at the chance to lower our living expenses. In many cities, a two-bedroom apartment in a generally desirable area can be prohibitively expensive. You can forget about buying a house in these cities, too, as you’ll need to be a millionaire to afford the down payment.
So if a property with some “issues” becomes available, you might want to swoop in and see whether you can nab it at an amazing price. You can deal with the ghosts or whatever after the fact. Cheap rent or mortgage payments might be worth it.
We worked with New York real estate company Triplemint to devise a list of superstitions many people hold that bleed into the real estate arena. Typically, these beliefs hurt the seller and help the buyer — assuming the buyer doesn’t hold the same beliefs.
We’ll start our list off in rather morbid fashion.
1. Did someone die in the house?
Nothing delivers the heebie jeebies quite like knowing someone died in your house or apartment. Of course, people have to die somewhere, and it’s often in their homes. For some people, it’s not a big deal. For others, it’s a total deal breaker. If a death occurs inside of a property, it can have a significant impact on the value. A non-natural death in a home can drop the value by 10% to 25%. If you’re OK with that you might be able to swing a cheaper mortgage or rent.
Next: When someone dies in a home, there’s the worry the person doesn’t “depart” right away.
2. The property is ‘haunted’
Yes, that’s a recipe for a ghost. You can believe in hauntings or not, but the power of belief is strong — so strong, in fact, that it can determine whether someone wants to buy or rent a property. Sometimes, a haunted house can become an attraction (think Amityville), making the “ghosts” an asset. But more often than not, people aren’t going to want to live in a haunted home.
Now, we move on to something a little less spooky and a little more design-oriented.
3. The staircase faces the front door
Evidently, people can get turned off of a property if the interior elements aren’t aligned just right. It has to do with feng shui, in some cases, which involves the flow and movement of energy within the house. Apparently, the staircase facing the front door can throw the energetic balance into flux. There are things you can do to remedy the situation, though many people won’t bother. For you? That means less competition — and a cheaper price.
But nothing will get you a discount like a property on a certain floor of an apartment or condo building.
4. The ’13th floor’
A lot of people have issues with the number 13. It’s considered to be bad luck in many cultures, which is why Friday the 13th is typically considered to be a day fraught with peril. That extends into the world of real estate, too. A lot of people are uneasy about buying or renting a property addressed 13, which means you might be able to find a steal if you’re willing to tempt fate. Triplemint broker Lucas Callejas said, “I’ve had renters who decided to skip a showing when I mentioned it was 13-C.”
That’s not the only number people are uncomfortable with.
5. Uncomfortable addresses
There are all kinds of unlucky numbers. We just discussed 13, but you could add 666 — which, of course, is the Biblical “number of the beast.” If you’re not religious, 666 might not mean anything one way or the other. But for a lot of believers, it’s a number to avoid. Just look at the trouble Jared Kushner has gotten himself into with 666 Fifth Avenue, for example.
It’s not just the address. The physical orientation of a property can also make it less desirable to some buyers.
Have you ever given much thought to which direction your house or apartment faces? Most people probably have not — unless they were considering how much sunlight they’d receive during certain times of the day. But in some cultures, it’s incredibly important. Boris Sharapan Fabrikant, a broker with Triplemint, gave us an example:
“My client is a Jain Indian. For him, it was very important to have the entry to the apartment face East when exiting the apartment. Walking out toward east is good luck. It’s where the sun rises — start to the new day is best walking out toward east.”
It sounds better than being a little too close to a graveyard.
7. Proximity to cemeteries
Let’s face it: People don’t like to think about death. It’s weird, uncomfortable, and morbid, even though it’s something we’ll all have to face one day. Nothing is a more stark reminder that our time is brief than a cemetery, and that’s one of the reasons a property close in proximity to one can take a hit in terms of value. Plus, they’re creepy. And there are hauntings to worry about, as discussed. On the other hand, some people find a nearby cemetery means more peace and quiet.
Cemeteries, though, aren’t the only historical reminders that can make a property less attractive.
8. Historical markers
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the movies, it’s that you don’t want your house built on any Native American burial grounds. Surprisingly enough, there are a ton of those, depending on where you live. Most of the time, they’re not marked. But there are other historical things to take into consideration, such as whether your property was a battlefield of some sort or maybe sacrificial grounds. Again, this can make some people uneasy, but it might open up a better deal for savvy buyers.
Now, look away from the Earth and to the stars.
Are you one of the millions of people who look to the stars for guidance? Astrology’s a thing — a big thing, in some circles — and is often used or consulted when buying property. If it isn’t in the stars, some people aren’t buying or renting. That means you can swoop in and take advantage. Although you might not give a damn what your horoscope says, a lot of buyers do.
Finally, do your shopping on a certain day of the week, and you might make out like a bandit.
10. Home shopping on certain days of the week
If you’ve ever gone to Costco on a Sunday, you’ve committed a cardinal sin of retail. But that’s due to crowds. On the other hand, some people’s beliefs keep them away from the markets (including the real estate market) on certain days. For example, shopping on Saturdays is frowned up or seen as something that will bring on bad luck. Sounds like a great time to take advantage of a less busy market.