In the spirit of Halloween, we fun folk at Walker Sandford have decided to to push out a true house hunting, haunting story that ended in a real nightmare for an estate agent handling the property.
Reported to (and by) the Ombudsman Service this well documented ghost story begins with a Mr and Mrs Thomas.
The Thomas’s were experienced landlords, looking to purchase a large property which they would let in the short term, and eventually move into with their family.
The couple spotted an old manor house online and contacted the vendor’s estate agent to arrange a viewing. During the viewing Mrs Thomas suddenly felt ill, pale and queasy.
She turned to the estate agent and asked: “Is this house haunted?” Visibly spooked, the agent curtly replied: “I’ve never been asked that before”.
The viewing continued. Mr Thomas approached the master bedroom across the landing. As he walked down the dimly lit corridor, he felt an icy cold breeze across his face. He reached out to the door handle and, as he slowly turned it and pushed the door ajar, it quickly slammed shut.
The door pushed back, with such a force that Mr Thomas felt like someone had shut the door on him from the inside. The estate agent turned to Mrs Thomas and joked: “that must be that ghost of yours” as he opened the door. Mr Thomas nervously laughed it off and they continued the viewing.
Despite their unnerving experience, the house had already seduced them. Without a second thought, and to make sure this amazing proprty was taken off the market the Thomas’s paid a large non-refundable cash deposit. No contracts were exchanged and all the parties were happy to move forward to completion.
Several weeks passed and the purchase was set to go ahead.
Keen to learn more about their future home, they sat engrossed, browsing the pages, but as each page turned the book revealed more and more the Manor’s sinister history.
Now, for some homeowners a resident ghost is a delight, for others sensitive to sharing with a nonpaying, sitting tenant or two who roam the halls creaking across the floorboards and flickering the lights, it can be a problem.
Now what would you do?
Would it put you off a purchase, and how much could you reasonably expect to be told before you made the decision to buy?
Well for the Thomas’s the love affair was over. As the couple reflected on their experiences during their only viewing, a sinking feeling set in. Their dream purchase quickly turned to a Dickensian nightmare. Angrily they called the estate agent to ask why he had not disclosed the property’s creepy history.
The agent it seems (unconvinced of ghosts) had not been informed, and the vendor was pleading innocence….
“Home Information Packs cover a range of issues,” says John Vaughan of Savills estate agency, “but ghosts aren’t one of them”.
Needless to say, the disenchanted couple withdrew from the sale the day before the exchange. The vendors retained the deposit.
Angrily The Thomas’ contacted the Ombudsman Services to complain that the estate agent should have answered their question about the haunting during the viewing, and they asked for their deposit back.
So what happened next?
Well before I tell you will you ponder on this quandary for a moment?
Is it reasonable to pursue a complaint against an estate agent who didn’t disclosed the presence of a ghost? And, if you had a haunting and wanted to sell your home, would you want people to know? Would you love to live in a haunted house or does the thought send cold shivers down your spine?
Now with all that in mind here is the final word.
Remember I said this was a REAL GHOST STORY! The ombudsman’s rendition of this tale and the final decision can be seen at ombudsman-services.org .
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