Sunday, October 25, 2015

A haunted house for sale can lure or repel buyers

Crayhay Mansion - Midland Park
A busy open house can be a real estate agent's dream. But for some people who turned out for two open houses at a majestic Victorian home in Midland Park, it wasn't the prospect of buying the home that piqued their curiosity.

Instead, they were there as ghost hunters.

As Halloween approaches, real estate agents say rumors of ghosts can attract the curious but also scare off prospective buyers and silence owners, who are trying to sell their home or tamp down rumors about their house. But in other cases, an opportunity to rub elbows with a ghost can be a draw (think "The Amityville Horror").

Over the years, Internet lore had grown about the Midland Park home, with rumors of apparitions, including those of a former owner and a cat. Stories about the home, known as the Crayhay Mansion, abound with tales of the uninvited. It's unclear how or when the accounts began. What is clear is that neither previous nor current owners want to talk about them, as was the case for several of North Jersey's alleged "haunted" properties.

The Crayhay Mansion, which sold in August, had been on the market since April 2014. The home, built in 1864, had an urban myth, which the sellers knew about when they moved in, said Patti Crawford of Keller Williams Village Square Realty in Ridgewood, a co-listing agent on the house. Curiosity seekers drawn to the open houses would head for the third floor of the house, where the cat is rumored to appear, but would leave "a little disappointed," Crawford said.

The sellers had bought the home in 2006 for $955,000 and said they never experienced anything unusual in the house, said Nena Colligan, the home's other co-listing agent. The house's price was reduced several times before it was sold in August at $710,000.

Colligan said the final price reflects a market adjustment. "We're not selling at 2006 prices," she said, but admits, "I think the stories did hurt the value of the home."

One couple came very close to buying the home until the wife learned from a friend of the online stories. After some additional Googling, the wife was scared away, Colligan said.

"People really do react to it. It really does make people uncomfortable," Colligan said. "I was surprised how much it did that." Even the eventual buyers had heard the stories and called to check out the rumors ahead of seeing the home. The new owners would say only that they have not experienced anything out of the ordinary.


Ana O'Callaghan lived in a Victorian home in Ridgewood for 13 years.

Throughout her time in the home, which was built in 1871, O'Callaghan said she and other family heard unexplained footsteps and objects falling, and saw numerous ghostly images, such as of an older gentleman in Victorian garb and a little girl, who liked to play with her daughter's toys. O'Callaghan later learned from her next-door neighbor that an 8-year-old girl had died in the house in 1950.

"There was definitely a lot of activity" going on in the home, O'Callaghan said. "I just think certain souls either come to visit or are grounded to the home they lived in and don't understand they left."

Read Full Story: North

No comments: