Charlotte firm adds ghost-busting inspectors for nervous homebuyers
Spooked that the newly renovated house you're about to buy in Charlotte may be haunted?
By law, sellers aren't required to reveal whether your future home might have a ghost guest, but one online real estate company operating in Charlotte says it has a solution.
Bungalo recently announced plans to send paranormal investigators into any home it's selling in Charlotte, part of its home inspection service that will be available through Halloween.
Bungalo officials say every Charlotte home for sale on their site this month will first be inspected by a "professional paranormal investigator" from the Carolina Paranormal Unit.
"No one wants to buy a house that'll give them the creeps, especially with the surge in haunted homes like the "Watcher" and "Conjuring" houses," a Bungalo spokeswoman told The Charlotte Observer, referring to homes in the TV drama series "Watcher" and the "Conjuring" horror films.
The No. 1 goal of the nonprofit Carolina Paranormal Unit is to assist "people in need of help with the paranormal," according to the group's Facebook page. No. 2 is "to research and study paranormal activity."
Each paranormal inspection report will be available online and, according to the online Bungalo form, will answer whether the inspector heard voices or knocking, had "feelings of being watched," found cold or hot spots, or unexplained movement or electrical fields, or saw shadows, orbs or apparitions.
The paranormal report is in addition to Bungalo certifying each home with a 160-point quality inspection and an outside third-party inspection, the company says.
The service may give buyers information about a home not normally found in North Carolina real estate disclosures.
Home sellers are legally required to disclose certain problems with a house such as a leaky roof, faulty plumbing, broken air conditioners, and termites.
But what about ghosts?
North Carolina law doesn't require a seller to disclose that a home is believed to be haunted, according to Fayetteville-based Hutchens Law Firm, which has offices throughout the Carolinas. The firm addressed the question in a blog post called, "Home Buyers Beware ... of Ghosts?"
A belief that a ghost roams a home is not considered a "material fact" that would require disclosure under the law, Realtor Cynthia Hegler, owner of Belmont-based Southern Home Group, told the Observer in an interview Wednesday. Belief in ghosts and other paranormal activity in a home is regarded as rumor or hearsay, she said.
Per the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, an agent "cannot lie" when answering a potential buyer's question, Hegler said.
She answers clients' questions truthfully, she said, and she has been asked about ghosts before when selling homes. She recalls showing two homes for sale located near cemeteries in Charlotte.
The interested buyers asked about ghosts. Her reply?
She hadn't heard any rumors about the homes being haunted and that she had not personally experienced anything supernatural inside.
Similarly, Hegler said, state law doesn't require an agent in North Carolina to disclose that a murder occurred in a home.
"But when somebody asks us, you should never lie. You should say 'yes' (if it happened)."
She recalls selling two homes where well-publicized murders had occurred, one in Charlotte, the other in Kings Mountain. Hegler says she was upfront with the buyers about the crimes, and the houses still sold.
Hegler complimented Bungalo on sending paranormal investigators into its for-sale homes.
"This is a hot market," she said. "11,000 of us are selling homes. It's great marketing."
Has a ghost ever been found in a home?
Could a ghost really be in a home in the Carolinas?
Well, we hate to ruin your Halloween. But let's hear from some researchers and investigators who say they earnestly investigate claims of paranormal activity but have yet to find evidence.
Scientists and paranormal investigators from the Center for Inquiry have found not one shred of evidence of a ghost or goblin at thousands of scenes of reported sightings worldwide over the decades. The center, which publishes "Skeptical Inquirer" magazine, was formerly known as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.
As Live Science.com reports: "Ultimately, ghost hunting is not about the evidence (if it was, the search would have been abandoned long ago). Instead, it's about having fun with friends, telling stories, and the enjoyment of pretending they are searching the edge of the unknown."