Around Town

Looking to buy a house? Check to see if a ghost lives there first.

Elmwood Cemetery is located in Charlotte’s Fourth Ward.
Elmwood Cemetery is located in Charlotte’s Fourth Ward.

Cemeteries make nice neighbors, in theory: manicured lawns, a plethora of walking paths and its residents are, in theory, quiet. But what if the undead want to pop over for an afternoon tea or a cup of sugar?

In North Carolina, a spooked-out homeowner doesn’t have to tell you the reason the house is for sale is because it already has a ghostly occupant.

North Carolina homeowners also don’t have to disclose if anyone died on the property for sale, upping the likelihood of a ghost — if you believe in that sorta thing.

In fact, only nine states have laws regarding the disclosure of a death on the property, according to a new analysis of real estate disclosure laws by Zillow. California sellers must tell buyers about a death on the property within three years of the sale. In Alaska, that disclosure shrinks to one year. In South Dakota, only homicides have to be mentioned.

Our state is not an anomaly regarding ghosts, either — only four states deal with paranormal activity in real estate disclosure laws: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Minnesota.

In New York, if you publicly brag about your haunted home and then sell it without telling your buyer, the sale could be rescinded. In New Jersey, a buyer should specifically ask about about a ghost — by law, the seller has to answer truthfully.

Psychologically affected property

Paranormal or supernatural activity is a “psychologically affected” attribute that does not need to be disclosed, according to Massachusetts and Minnesota. Psychologically affected property is a place where a death occurred or was the site of a felony or criminal organization activity.

In neighboring South Carolina, sellers do not have to disclose psychologically affected property — unless the buyer asks.

A graveyard analysis

How do we know if a house is haunted, anyway? Zillow’s report determined potential haunted real estate by looking at the amount of cemeteries in an area.

In North Carolina, Asheville has the most graveyards of any metro, with 262. Charlotte is in second with 186, just ahead of Raleigh with 183.

The surprise factor: The Queen City has slightly more graveyards than New Orleans, which has 185 — and is a city known for its cemeteries. Maybe Nicolas Cage should buy a plot in Charlotte and give up his New Orleans pyramid tomb?

In Charlotte, Cage could one day haunt Fourth Ward, which has two graveyards — the most in the area.

Zillow analyzed the number of graveyards in neighborhoods around the country and found that in general, their presence had no conclusive effect on home values. The median home value in Fourth Ward, for example, is $75,500 higher than the metro overall.

Worried your home already has a housemate? There is a solution: a company that operates in Charlotte will send paranormal investigators into any home it is selling, according to a recent article by The Charlotte Observer.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer