Halloween is just around the corner, and many people will be getting their homes ready to welcome hordes of the undead (of the costumed variety) for a night of spooky fun. However, if you're trying to sell your home, it could be worth pointing out that there are some real-life horrors that could put people off…
Research from Skipton Building Society has found that fears of the supernatural put many buyers off when searching for a home, particularly if they're looking at older properties. It isn't just colourful wallpaper, patterned carpets and avocado bathroom suites that put people off such homes – signs of mice (21%), bats (14%) or even squeaky floorboards (9%) are cited as top excuses for not buying an older property, and some are even concerned about otherworldly residents.
Indeed, one in 10 respondents said that the possibility of ghosts (10%) being present would be enough to even put them off viewing, with many (45%) seeing homes built more than 46 years ago as no-go zones. Others are concerned about not knowing the history of the property (20%) and about the type of people who once lived there – or what happened to them.
Knowing that someone had died inside the property would be enough to put 21% of buyers off, while 20% cited a lack of natural light and 16% wouldn't buy it if they know "unsavoury" people used to own it. Similarly, 13% wouldn't buy if a criminal used to own it, while not liking the history of the property would deter the same proportion of potential buyers, and 10% wouldn't buy if one of the rooms was a lot colder than the others.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the fears of many would-be buyers, two-thirds of those surveyed said they loved the idea of moving into a new build home, and 38% would take the plunge if money was no object.
The biggest attraction for more than half of respondents is the ability to determine what the lighting, carpeting and appliances might look like before moving in, with other draws including the lack of cleaning required, cheaper decorating costs and the perceived guarantee that there'd be no paranormal activity (unless it was built on an old burial ground, of course).
"It seems it's not just the unexpected costs associated with buying an older home that is scaring the nation; a fear of ghosts, mysterious property past and even dead pets buried in the garden are enough to put people off from buying an older house," said Rebecca Willey of Skipton Building Society.
"Whilst it may spook some, purchasing an older property full of historical charm is a real treat for others. However, it's not hard to see why so many people want a new build home, as they provide an opportunity to create the home of your dreams, without the hard work and baggage from previous owners.
"So whether you prefer a new build blank canvas or a home full of character, you will need to ensure your finances are in the best shape possible to ensure you get the keys to your dream home, no matter how old – or haunted – it may be."
If you're selling an older property, it may be worth giving it a bit of TLC to ensure the superstitious aren't put off: focus on creating more light, for example, fix any squeaky floorboards and vow to solve any mice or bat issues. If you need a bit of a financial injection, consider getting a personal loan to help cover the cost (by improving your home, you may be able to up the asking price, so it could pay off in the long run).
Looking for that all-important property? Make sure your finances are in order by checking your credit score. Once that's sorted, find the top mortgage deals to keep your repayments as low as possible, and ensure your dreams don't turn into a Halloween nightmare.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
Moneyfacts.co.uk will, like most other websites, place cookies onto your computer’s
hard drive. This includes tracking cookies.