Property Inspector: How to tell if your house is haunted

A haunting can make a big difference to a house: if you’re selling a home, you’ll probably have to lower the price to find a buyer. If you’re a buyer, you may be excited about the investment potential of a bed and breakfast with added tourist appeal. Or maybe you’re living in the home and you just want to be able to sleep at night.

But what are the signs that there really is a presence on your property? How can you tell your imagination isn’t simply spooked?’s October podcast tracks down Loyd Auerbach , Director of The Office of Paranormal Investigations, to find out how to tell if your house is haunted.

He offers these eight easy steps:

8 steps to take if you think your house is haunted

1. Be rational

A lot of the time, there is a rational explanation for what you might think is a ghost.

“The first step is to assume your house isn’t haunted and look for normal explanations for things that might seem strange,” Loyd Auerbach, Director of The Office of Paranormal Investigations, tells

“People make very, very bizarre conclusions about even the simplest explanations. It’s understandable. People are emotionally on edge, especially if they’ve been watching these shows that tell them that this stuff is evil – and it’s not. It’s not bad at all.”

“It used to be probably 20% of cases we could figure out even over the phone,” he adds. Of the others, 25% to 50% “have really good, understandable explanations”.

2. Don’t believe what you see in the movies

Room going cold? Footsteps on the stairs? The symptoms that the movies tell you to look for are often completely incorrect. Especially if your heating is on the blink.

“If it’s the room getting unusually cold, that is a complete stereotype and incorrect. I have been looking for a normal explanation for that more than anything else! It could be your insulation.”

3. Check for animals

Bumps in the night? Try animals in the attic…

“I’ve had cases where people hear footsteps from their attic or upstairs but it turned out to be acoustical. In other words, the set up of the floor or the room seemed to magnify simple noises. I had one, years ago, where it was a squirrel pushing nuts across the floor!”

4. Don’t call a ghost buster

Think you’ve got a ghost? Who you gonna call? Not a ghost-hunting group, says Loyd, if you want an explanation for your haunting.

“People don’t seek out parapsychologists any more; they seek out ghost hunters… If you contact a ghost hunting group, given that most of them follow the methods you see on TV, it’s probably more likely that you’ll be told you have a ghost then you’ll be told there’s an explanation… It’s what we do in investigations. We look for normal explanations… They’re not going to help you with understanding or dealing with the phenomena. There are exceptions, but that’s rare.”

5. Don’t panic if there was a death in your home

Homes where there has been a death are often stigmatised or presumed to be haunted. But that isn’t always the case.

“Ghosts don’t necessarily go to where they died. They go to where they lived. Sure, if someone died in the house, that may be where they hang around, but if they died in a car accident, they still might come back to the house – or they may go to the local bar where they used to hang out!”

6. Beware of living people as much as dead people

Got a bad feeling about your home? Check the previous owners – residual energy left in a property doesn’t always come from beyond the grave…

“We have a demarcation between an actual ghost and what we call residual hauntings or imprints. A lot of the second category is about who lived in the house before, even if they’re still alive. It really is more about the living leaving these impressions behind. It could be that the couple previously were continuously fighting with each other… You walk in the house and you feel it’s bad, like people were fighting there. That’s a haunting. That’s still the same kind of thing.”

7. Have a party

If all else fails, invite some friends round to scare the bad feelings away.

“It’s a little bit harder when people get that emotional reaction, that visceral reaction, like it doesn’t feel good and they don’t want to live there. That can be dealt with, if you really like the house… just by having people come in and having a really nice party – put some really good emotions into the house!”

8. Try talking to them

“Having direct communication with someone is the best way to deal with the phenomenon.”

“It really is about what the ghost needs. There’s the idea of ‘sending them into the light’ that you see on TV, but if they’re not ready, you can offer them another suggestion. We’ve done that. We had a case where a former owner [of a house] was asked if there was a place he had wanted to go but had never had the chance to… The reply was he always wanted to go on safari in Africa when he was alive. And we said ‘Why don’t you go on safari? The lions can’t hurt you anymore!’ The family never had an experience with him again…”

Notes to Editors

Founded in 1999, is the leading independent website for international property, with than 400,000 listings in over 100 countries around the world, marketed on behalf of agents, developers and private owners.

The website address is and the office address is 24 Jack’s Place, Corbet Place, Spitalfields, London, E1 6NN.

Contact Dan Johnson on 0207 952 7650 for further information

Property Inspector image courtesy of Snowshot .

For more information on suspected hauntings, paranormal activity or to get in touch with The Office of Paranormal Investigations, visit