Halloween weekend here, some people cannot resist the excuse to look at a haunted house. Strangely enough, there are buyers for whom a distinguished relationship with the dead makes a property all the more attractive.
“Haunted houses are a funny one,” says veteran estate agent Kevin Allen of John D Wood & Co. “It makes some people much more interested in a property and others run a mile.” However, the research shows that almost half of people surveyed by Clydsedale and Yorkshire bank said they were more likely to go view a house if it was rumoured to be haunted. Telling clients the
horror stories may be a risky marketing strategy, but it can, occasionally, pay dividends.
“Scary stories don’t ever really affect the price,” says Allen. “Unless they’re really well known, of course, then the notoriety pushes up the price.” One of the properties featured here, Bowes Hall, certainly fits into that category. The rather bloody and strange story of a previous tenant’s mysterious death is said to have inspired Charles Dickens to write Nicholas Nickleby.
Jenna Margetts of Stratton Creber has a subtler approach when it comes to telling a property’s spooky tale, saving the truth as long as she can. “I don’t advertise the story to people straight away, but if they want the history of the house
when we’re looking round then I tell them.”
Whether you believed in ghosts or not, history always fascinates. Harry Buchanan from
Jackson Stopps & Staff says that people regularly choose a home with an interesting history
over one without. Indeed, they are
currently marketing a property that the author of Dracula died in and it is attracting lots
So whether you’re easily spooked or not, it
is best to ask after a house’s history. You wouldn’t like any nasty surprises when the time comes to sell.
ST. GEORGE’S SQUARE, LONDON
Bram Stoker the Irish novelist best known for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula died in the house for sale in St. George’s Square in Pimlico in 1912. The property is a grade II-listed Thomas Cubitt building. Contact: Jackson-Stops & Staff Pimlico on 020 7828 4050 or go to www.jackson-stops.co.uk
TWO SAINTS CHURCH, CHURCH HILL, SHEPHERDSWELL, KENT
This converted Methodist chapel in Kent has arched gothic windows. The original chapel dates back to around 1870 but has been sensitively remodelled.
Contact: Jackson-Stops & Staff, Canterbury on 01277 781600 or go to www.jackson-stops.co.uk
THE GRANGE, VIRGINIA WATER
This development was once a sanatorium for “mentally afflicted persons,” it has now been converted into a number of luxury apartments. To make things errier still, the apartment currently on the market within this development is being sold by a spiritual healer. Contact: Barton Wyatt on 0134 484 3000 or go to www.bartonwyatt.co.uk.
TREASSOWE MANOR, LUDGVAN, PENZANCE
This Cornish Manor has its fair share of history and horror. It is built on the site of a 13th Century monastery; the ruins remain in the garden to this day. It is also thought to have had a ghost until it was exorcised in the 18th century.
Contact: Stratton Creber on 01872 240999 or go to www.strattoncreber.co.uk
BOWES HALL, BOWES, BARNARD CASTLE, COUNTY DURHAM
Bowes Hall in Country Durham is famously thought to be haunted. The wife of a previous owner George Clarkson’s mysteriously died there. Furthermore, the story appears to have inspired Charles Dickens when he was writing Nicholas Nickleby. Contact: Jackson-Stops & Staff, Darlington on 01325 489 948 or go to www.jackson-stops.co.uk