WARNING: THESE STORIES WILL HAUNT YOU LONG AFTER YOU STOP READING
One of our favorite things about real estate agents is how great they are at storytelling. And when you combine our favorite holiday of Halloween with that skill, you receive the most terrifying tales that’ll scare the living you-know-what out of you. Due to the success of our previous 3 Bloodcurdling Haunted House Stories Told by Real Estate Agents, 2019 Edition, we asked agents like yourself to tell us more of your creepiest, crawliest haunted home listing stories. Below are the spookiest submissions we received. Thank you and enjoy!
Check out our latest podcast episode Haunted Houses, Part II where we further explore other ghostly stories from real estate agents like yourself.
4 Haunted Home Listing Tales Experienced by Real Estate Agents
1) First Listing Gone Wrong
About fifteen years ago, I joined the real estate industry in the hope of selling my recently-deceased great uncle’s home in Buckhead (North Atlanta). The home is one of those southern-styled, three-storied carriage homes that was, more or less, beaten up from years of neglect. My uncle suffered from mental illness, so it was not surprising the current state of the home.
One hot summer day, while working with a contractor, we noticed a cold draft flowing through the first-floor home office. It was strange because the A/C was not on and it was 94 degrees outside. He thought the air could be flowing from the basement, so he went to check.
Five minutes went by. Then ten minutes. I eventually opened the basement stairwell and yelled down the staircase. An unfamiliar, burly voice responded: “Help me.” I ran downstairs only to find the contractor tied up and knocked out unconscious. Thinking it was a home burglary, I immediately called the police. Upon waking up, the contractor had absolutely no recollection of the event or even asking for help. He was immediately rushed to the hospital where tests were inconclusive. The next day, I returned to the house with my future ex-husband as back up. We scrounged the house, looking for any sign of a break-in. There was none. We then heard a loud noise in the basement. We ran downstairs, only to be met with a frigid, stale air that smelled like the acidic scent of mangroves. And then suddenly, before our eyes, part of the basement ground literally fell through to reveal a perfectly square hole.
My husband and I were shook. Just moments ago, we were in the basement and saw no hole. Now, there was this 3x3 perfectly square. Dumb as he was -- there’s a reason why we’re divorced -- he stuck his hand inside and felt bone at the surface. “Call the cops, honey. There’s a dead body in there.”
Police excavated the basement and found two bodies. My first thought was it had to be my uncle. Since 18 years old, he had owned the home after his parents died in 1944. However, examiners determined the bodies would’ve been killed by “excruciating torture to the genitals region and blunt force trauma to the head” around that date. At that time, my uncle was overseas fighting the Nazis and didn’t return back from Paris until 1947.
To this day, we have no idea why parts of the house were so frigid, who was screaming for help, or if my uncle was the murderer. It’s left my entire family in the dark. And worst of all, the foundation was destroyed. We ended up knocking down the house and selling the property. Not exactly the way you think your first listing will go, if you ask me.
2) He Would Be Upset if He Knew
I received a rather weird call for a listing. The seller told me I couldn’t go see the house because she “had a male ghost, and he would get upset if he knew she was selling”. I agreed to initially meet her at her office instead.
So, we get the home listed and we set a day for the showings. I got to the house and started to take some photos and every time I would take a photo, there was a blurry image in it. I could not take a photo without that appearing. Then, I asked the seller if I could use her restroom. As I walked down the hall, the door slams shut.
About 5 minutes later, the open house began shaking, cabinets were opening and closing, and you could hear a gastly cry. There was a rocking chair in one of the rooms and it was rocking like crazy.
Next thing I know, the seller begins whispering to the ghost saying something like, “You can come with us. Please don’t be upset, we need a larger home. It’s not about you.” The entire open house debacle lasted a whole thirty minutes. The ghost eventually calmed down, but the owner didn’t think it was a good idea for any more people to go inside the home. Let’s just say I didn’t end up selling her home.
3) A Flooding by Hanging
I was selling a house that was in foreclosure for an elderly widowed woman. It was a $500,000 house but decorated in the late 70's style, so it needed some updating. While I was there painting and staging, all of the faucets would turn on at the same time...all over the house. I would then have to go into each bathroom and the kitchen to turn off the water. When the house was being inspected after getting under contract, I held my breath hoping that the water faucets wouldn't turn on all at once with the inspector on-site.
The inspection was going well until I heard a very large stream of water flooding the basement. I rushed in and turned the water off at the main. I then had the plumbing fixed and damage remedied.
It turned out that the seller had forgotten to tell me that her husband had committed suicide by hanging himself on the water pipe in the basement. The exact pipe that broke!
4) Nothing Feels Better Than a Good Nap
I scheduled an appointment with a listing agent to show a historical "vacant" house to buyers (a couple and their two school-age children). We toured the main floor, where one or two pieces of antique furniture remained for “staging,” but it was otherwise cleared out. We walked upstairs and in the master bedroom there was a bed. And in the bed was a very old lady! We left immediately, and I phoned the listing agent from the front yard. Apparently, the elderly lady was the homeowner who didn't like the assisted care facility she'd been moved to, so she occasionally made her way back to the house for a nap. Not a haunting, but it felt like one
Bonus: The Fiduciary Responsibility of Ghosts
Here’s a true story that helps to illustrate the impact of stigmatized property. While at work one day, I received a phone call and quickly recognized the caller as a client I had assisted with a home purchase months earlier. Listening further, I detected serious concern in his voice.
As the client talked, I listened while automatically running through a brief mental checklist of his closed transaction:
“Paperwork completed correctly?” Check.
“Home inspection performed?” Check.
“All inspection issues addressed or negotiated?” Check.
“Building permits research?” Check.
“Insurance, title report, loan and closing documents taken care of?” Check.
I run through a few more items in my mind, then hear him say the word “Ghost.”
Backstory: After looking at many homes, this buyer and his wife ended up making an offer on a house that had some “back and forth” on the price, but it was ultimately accepted. Looking back at the transaction, there was never any indication to suggest this would be anything but a “normal” home purchase. And everything was normal. Until after the transaction closed. Which is when things took a decidedly different turn.
Not very long after this buyer and his wife moved into their recently purchased home, they began to hear strange noises, usually in the middle of the night around 2 or 3 AM. But then things got much stranger.
The sounds they heard appeared to emanate from inside the house for no readily explainable reason. Sounds like dropped tableware, moving furniture, bells ringing. You get the idea.
After a while of having their sleep disturbed, the homebuyers grew concerned and began to ask around the neighborhood. “Do you hear strange sounds at night like we do?” After being told “No” by at least one neighbor, the man asked if the homebuyers knew about the event that had occurred inside their home. The new owner said “No.”
Story specifics vary, but the neighbor apparently explained that a child had died inside the house and was then laid to rest on the property. Understandably, this distressed the home buyers, who thought they should have been told before buying the home.
After speaking with the home buyers, I next called the seller’s real estate agent for the transaction and simply asked: “Did you know that the property had a history of a death in the house?”
“Yes,” he quickly answered, then followed up with what I knew aligned with what Oregon real estate agents are instructed regarding state real estate law: “But my principal broker told me we didn’t have to disclose it.” And he was correct.
I also understood that particular REALTOR® had a fiduciary responsibility to his seller client because if the seller’s agent had openly revealed the situation while marketing it, there was a good chance the property would have sold for considerably less. Usually, the rule is “disclose, even if an item seems trivial.” Yet, in this instance, there was no state law requiring such disclosure, and the seller had a vested interest in not bringing the issue up.
As a result of the impact from their home purchase of the stigmatized home, the homebuyers moved and ultimately rented out the property. Witnessing this unpleasant situation had me researching to better determine what might have been done differently. At the time, there were no online resources solely dedicated to determining if a house is stigmatized. On top of that, repeated online searches eventually turned up only one news story relating to the property. And that was accomplished by a search using the specific house address and buried in a list of other website information. It was virtually a “needle in a haystack.”
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