Depending on where you live, there may or may not be rules on the books which require a realtor to disclose if there was ever a death in the house. The real estate jargon is "stigmatized properties," and each state's laws vary. However, since ghosts don't affect the physical nature of the house and aren't exactly provable, most real estate laws do not cover disclosure of ghosts. It's considered rumor if that.
Would you buy a haunted house?
You can get a good deal, if you're game!
This results in a lot of families finding to their surprise that they are not the only ones occupying their houses. In some cases, the family may be able to make a legal case that they should have been warned. In other cases, these incidents serve as the basis for changing the laws. For example, most of our contemporary laws about this sort of thing stem from the original Amityville Horror case. (Which ironically is widely considered a hoax designed to get the family out of a punishing mortgage for a house they could no longer afford.)
But assuming that the realtor is up front about the hauntings, these properties can sell for substantially below market value. One might almost say "suspiciously" below market value in some cases!
Hong Kong has a similar stigma against homes where the residents died, particularly violent deaths and suicides. Called "hongza," these houses are considered haunted, and typically sell for 15-20 percent off the normal asking price. Considering the price of real estate in Hong Kong, that's a killer deal (if you'll forgive the pun). Housing prices have risen 70 percent in Hong Kong since 2009.
And a man named Ng Goon Lau has made himself the King of Haunted Houses by buying up a string of these houses at bargain basement prices. He then either resells them at a price or rents them out to non-superstitious people.
If you want to try your hand at buying a haunted house at a bargain, real estate data blog Trulia has crunched the numbers and found the top 10 towns to find a haunted house. They based their analysis on the number of houses priced below market value and built before the 1940s.
The Rust Belt turns out to be the best place to find a haunted house, including towns like Detroit, Toledo, and Cleveland. They also broke out just the towns in the south, and I trust you will not be surprised to see New Orleans on that list!