Spooked out Brits are refusing to move into period properties because of dead ‘spirits’

From discovering asbestos to dealing with ghosts, homeowners are put off buying older properties

Ghosts, major repairs and drafty rooms are just some of the reasons British house-hunters are refusing to move into period properties, according to new research.

In a new study of 2,000 adults, one in 10 says the possibilities of spirits being present in a property is enough to put them off viewing anything built more than 46 years ago.

The poll carried out by Skipton Building Society, showed that 46 per cent of people avoid older houses because they don’t want to be hit by hidden costs, while a third loathe the idea of having to clean up someone else’s mess. Fear of discovering asbestos
and not knowing if dead pets are buried in the garden are other reasons
why many people avoid moving into an older property.

Researchers found only four in 10 people would consider moving into an older house if money was no object and they would rather not know about the property’s past.

The study shows many Brits are concerned about the stability and reliability of older buildings – with 44 per cent claiming they’d worry about the damp and 38 per cent having trepidations about structural issues.

Rebecca Willey, from Skipton Building Society, which carried out the research, said: “Buying an older home, especially a ‘fixer upper’ is not for the faint hearted, nor is it everyone’s cup of tea.

“Living in and modernising an older property can take years of unplanned and costly repairs.

“But it seems, it’s not just the unexpected costs associated with buying an older home that is scaring the nation; a fear of ghosts, mysterious property history and even dead pets buried in the garden are enough to put people off from buying an older house.”

Researchers found that when house hunting, 45 per cent would immediately disregard any properties over 46 years old, while a further 58 per cent would discount a house which was filthy upon viewing.

Understandably, two thirds of people polled love the idea of moving into a house which is considered a ‘new build’ and over a third (38 per cent) said they would buy a new build home if money was no object.

One in 10 respondents claim they have regretted buying an older property, and would never do it again.

The chief reason for regret was the expense of keeping the house warm, while 28 per cent became overwhelmed by the amount of decorating that was needed, and the same percentage discovered a raft of ‘botch jobs’ made by the previous owner.

But sadly for 56 per cent of homeowners, the choice of old or new very much comes down to money, and when they next come to move they will be forced to buy whatever they can afford at the time.

Rebecca Willey added: “It’s not hard to see why so many people want a new build home. New build houses are not only cheaper to heat and come with a host of warranties, saving people money on their bills, but they provide an opportunity to create the home of your dreams, without the hard work and baggage from previous owners.

“But what is clear from our research is a home is what you make of it – and the compromises you are willing to accept to get on, or further up, the property ladder.

“So whether you prefer a new build blank canvas or a home full of historic charms, you will need to ensure your finances are in the best shape possible to ensure you get the keys to your dream home, no matter how old -or haunted – it may be.”

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