It’s almost Halloween and I thought this would be a great time to share a very true story I recently experienced when working with a buyer. The names are changed, but I promise, that’s the only component of this story that isn’t true.
Let me start by letting you in on some of the unwritten rules among real estate agents when it comes to supposedly haunted houses—they don’t exist. But, let’s just say for a second if there were ghosts, spirits and supernatural entities inhabiting homes throughout our service area, we would probably be embarrassed to bring it up over the office water cooler.
I think most people have had a creepy experience, or know someone who has seen something they can’t explain, but the topic of ghosts is one of those things that simply can’t be validated. Am I a believer? I really don’t know, but I will say I did have a bit of scare about a month ago during a showing.
I had been working with a client, “Denise”, trying to find her the perfect investment property. As I’ve mentioned before, I sell service, not homes, and I wanted to find her the exact property that met all of her specific needs. I was thrilled when I found a perfect home in Hagerstown’s Historical District; it was well within her price range, was unoccupied and move-in ready with not a single repair required. Amazingly, even a selection of antique furniture was included in the sale, which made my client very eager to take the tour.
Arriving at the property we were both stunned by the regal beauty of this home! I think we both knew before I even opened the lockbox that this was going to be the perfect house for her.
She loved everything about it: the hardwood floors, the oak staircase, the stained glass windows and the five bedrooms. “I can so picture owning this house!”
What really caught her eye, however, was the beautiful antique desk resting in the corner of the first floor study.
“Look at this detail,” she gasped. “It’s so sturdy! You know, Kevin, they don’t make desks like this anymore.” She reached for the handle and pulled open the handcrafted top drawer. “There’s something in here…” I watched as she retrieved a piece of paper, nothing special, just a regular white sheet of average copy paper consisting of a few hand written words. Her mouth dropped as I watched the color run from her face.
“What is it?” I asked. She extended her trembling hands, passing me the document. I reached in my pocket for my reading glasses, placed them on and read the following message:
“Do Not Buy This House, It Is Haunted!”
“Kevin, I love everything about this home, but I don’t want it if it’s really haunted!”
Every real estate agent knows you have a fiduciary obligation to your client. It was up to me to try to get to the bottom of this cryptic note. I immediately called the seller’s agent and asked if she knew anything about this mysterious warning. I watched my client, hinging on every word of my side of the conversation. She seemed confused when I ended the conversation by saying “Ok, they’re coming over right now?” I smiled, “Thanks Elaine, you’re the best!”
Even before I clicked off my cell Denise was tugging on my sleeve. “What did she say? Who’s coming over?”
“The next door neighbors will be here any minute….and they’re not ghost busters!”
“BONG!” The old-fashioned doorbell startled both of us. “There they are,” I said.
We opened the door and were greeted by “Steve” and “Marcie”, a middle-aged couple, both wearing nervous grins. “Let me apologize for my husband,” Marcie began, “You see, he and Frank, the previous owner, are really good friends. When Frank said he and Lisa were moving to Chicago, Steve here told him he wasn’t going to let them.” Marcie’s gaze turned sternly to her embarrassed husband. “Steve?”
“Yeah, I thought it would be funny to leave a little note to scare away buyers, one last little prank to play on Frank. I’m sorry, really, it was a dumb idea!”
I think Steve could tell by our facial expressions that we really didn’t know how to respond. He reached towards the paper still in my hand, and asked, “May I?” I passed him the note as he pulled out a pen and began scribbling something down. “Here”.
He held up the paper to show us the same words, written in the same exact handwriting as the original “warning”. “Sorry….it was a joke.” “And I’m sorry Steve can be an idiot,” Marcie quipped.
Needless to say, Denise purchased the home and has a renter prepared to move in next week, just a few days before Halloween in fact! That, I’m afraid, is the closest I’ve come in my professional career with something supernatural? What about you? Do you have any spooky Halloween stories? Share them here so we can all enjoy!