Saturday, July 24, 2010

halloween might be especially spooky

Charlie and I found a house that we really liked today. It was built in the 60's and hasn't had a SINGLE upgrade. But, it's situated on over an acre of beautiful land, on a beautiful street, with a babbling brook cutting through the back portion of the property.

As Henry traipsed around through the grass, and darted past mature maple trees, I could just imagine our children perched on rocks with their fishing rods trying to catch dinner from the brook, or squealing in delight as a tire swing, suspended from one of the solid branches, curved out over the expansive lawn.

This is the exact kind of space we want. So thank goodness our Realtor finally came around because we were ready to find a new one on Monday.

Now although we both like this house, these are a few points we're pondering...

1) It's at the upper end of our price limit which means that if we bought this house, we'd have to live with the almost 50-year old wall mounted oven that's the size of a toaster and baby blue bathrooms until we could scrounge up enough moola for any replacements. Of course, if we were to buy this house, we'd try not to dwell on these components as being significantly outdated and instead, consider them cool vintage.

2) It was evident that the person who lived in the house had been older. And it was obvious that people had been packing up and cleaning out the house, organizing piles of things to possibly keep, possibly donate, and possibly haul off to the dump. As soon as I walked in the front door, I was struck with a feeling of sacredness. It was difficult to shake that feeling as I was walking through someone's home and imagining where I would put my desk, amid their life time of memories. When I went downstairs in to the finished walk-out basement, and saw the stacks of dusty trophies and an antique baby cradle amid a box of stained photographs, I got totally choked up.

My father has been in an assisted living facility for the past 18-months, and soon, his home will be going up for sale. Very soon, my siblings and I will be sorting through his belongings, and life time of memories, discussing who wants what and what goes to charity. I know that it will be challenging for me because so many of my father's belongings I will distinctly remember him using. And yet, just because I distinctly remember him using, or touching, or storing something, is that enough of a reason for me to want to take it to my own home? In a way, it feels like by keeping my dad's belongings, he will always be with me.

Sorting through a loved ones possessions is not easy because in doing so you are definitively dividing up what was once whole. As you disassemble a collection of that person's treasures, you are continously reminded that time has passed, those days are over, and an era has ended.

As I stood looking over the belongings in that house today, I said a little prayer for strength for the family of the owner. Moments later, I was joined by Charlie who was walking around and nodding in agreement that this space might work for us. But then, without even so much as exchanging a single word about the "feelings" that I had, my husband turned to me and with wide eyes, held out his arm and said, "OH MY GOSH. Jen, check out my arm! I'm COVERED in goosebumps!" Despite the hot temperatures, not only were his arms covered in goosebumps, his legs were too.

He pulled his arm back in, scrunched his shoulders up and very quietly whispered, "Someone died here. I can feel it." Then he slowly looked around the room and up at the ceiling while murmuring, "Respect. Respect. Respect."

We stood for another moment, wondering if the space might be haunted, until the silence was broken when our Realtor called out that Henry had stripped off all his clothes and was running around the upstairs, stark naked.

Either he heard the spirit tell him, BE FREE!!

Or, he'd had enough of being fully clothed in 105 degree temperatures.

Tonight, I came back to our hotel home and Googled the owner's name. Within a matter of seconds, I confirmed that Charlie was correct. He died in the house, just a few months ago. My husband was almost unnerved, and told me this could be a deal breaker for him.

Consider Charlie's mother passed away in his family's home in Santa Barbara. A few years ago, one of his nieces went to knock on the door and see if she could walk through the house where she had created so many childhood memories. The new owner let her come in, and then wasted no time telling her that they totally felt the spirit of the woman who had died there, 18 years ago.

So my question to you internet is two-fold:

1) Would you buy a house where you know someone had died?


2) Would you be worried that you might be haunted if you put in a low bid on a house where someone had died because it really is crazy expensive and totally outdated and how in the world does someone cook in an almost 50-year old wall mounted oven that's the size of a toaster?


  1. I guess it just depends on your level of superstitions.

    When I was a teen I slept in the bedroom of someone who passed away just a short while before. I didn't really know the person & never gave it much thought, just made the room "mine" & it never once creeped me out. However, having read every post in your entire blog I'm going to make an educated guess that this WILL indeed affect you & your family tremendously & may well be reason enough for it to be a deal breaker.

    It does sound like a very beautiful home though so if it were I, then I would totally push past any of those worries & jump on the bandwagon while the bandwagon's good!

    Just my 2 cents :o)

  2. 1) no
    2) yes

  3. I'm amazed at Charlie. And no, I would NOT buy that house! :)

  4. I thought you were going to (and should) pick right back up and drive back to San Diego.

    Until I read this post.

    And now I think you should stay. In that house.

  5. 1) yes for sure.

    2) as long as it's close to where you want it to be, I'd got for it.

  6. gives me the hebee shebees just reading this post! lol would i live in a haunted house? sure i would, not all hauntings or ghosts are bad. this was a loving family, whose kids probably left years ago and dad/mom would have nothing to do with spending money to upgrade the house--"that would be a silly way to spend our money" now you have a charmer of a home, that with your own touches will be your home. redo/remodel as you can, certainly doesn't have to happen before you move in! i would recommend going up $15,000 on home in CA (sounds like that might happen)and coming down equal amount on new place... hopefully where the 2 land will free up some cash to do some work. good luck! (i enjoy reading your blog, btw)

  7. Oh dear. I think I would buy the house, yes, and charge the goosebumps and all on being easily impressed, hehe. As you said, the context was obvious, no need of spirits if you are emotional and overtired and oversensitive.

    Happy that you had better luck today! THough I was wishing we could meet in SD it will be harder.

  8. Yes I would live in a house where someone had died - actually perhaps I do!

    I wouldn't worry about hauntings and low offers. Just get that house for the best price you can for your family.

    Good luck!

  9. My husband died in a hospital bed in our living room. He had a 3rd (or 3rd & 4th) stroke in Sept 2001 and was extremely disabled but I could transfer him. In Oct 2009 he developed CHF, possibly had another stroke and I needed a Hoyer lift to transfer him. That is when I had to move him into the living room. Although he did not speak for 8+ years I KNOW that he was happy to be home. It does not bother me at all that he died here, it was what we both wanted.

  10. PS - My father was on hospice care and also died in his own bed in his own home Nov 2007. It is truly easier on the sick person and the family to have a loved one at home and at peace. Their house (built in 1950 with no major updates since the '70's) had three offers the first week it was listed and sold very quickly.

  11. IMO it would be all about the type of death:
    Old person, natural causes? Sure.
    Violent murder? No way.

    You can always have someone come out and bless the house.

  12. The previous owner of our house died here - and we found out the exact same way (a feeling + google). We feel a constant presence of her life here primarily because her sister lives nearby and walks her dogs past every morning. The really sad part? They still - after almost 4 years - wander up and will try to wander in as if they live here. I'm very glad we bought the house (though there were probate issues that tied up the sale and then subsequently tied things up for her kids, I was told) but I sometimes feel as if we live in HER house, if that makes sense.

    (Good luck with the house hunting!)

  13. Sorry to say, that would definitely be a deal breaker for me as well. That stuff just freaks me out! I don't even like being in my grandfather's house alone since my grandmother died there 15 years ago.

  14. Our last home was 50 years old and the husband had passed away in the living room (they were the original owners). I renovated the home room by room. I thought of the couple often. It is funny, if I had not read your post I would describe it as a feeling of a "presence" but mostly just a feeling of "respect".

    We loved the house! We would still be there except we were transferred to NC.

  15. If I could I'd buy it without hesitation!! The owner died in a place called home, a place full of love, full of memories and I'm sure would be thrilled to have a family move in and be able to do the same. I know I would want someone to move into my house and love it way I love it and make memories the way I have. I wouldn't say Charlie's goosebumps are haunting, I see them as a comforting sign - Henry's too! :)) I think it sounds like a great place to call home. Sending lots of positive energy your way in hopes of helping you make your decision. The best of luck to all of you.

  16. Did the owner die of natural causes? That wouldn't bother me at all - if he or she was murdered, then it's a deal breaker.

    I was wondering when you were going to get to the low ball part. Just make sure it's not low enough to be offensive. Throw in a letter telling the seller about how you can picture your kids growing up there.

    Then maybe ask a priest to bless the house?

  17. I am now covered in goosebumps-I would buy the house maybe the ghosts will persuaded to tell your young one not to strip all the time-or maybe he will tell him to strip all the time.

    Good Luck

  18. i live in a house where someone died -- my kids tell me that they feel the spirits -- for some reason they leave me alone -- i think that they almost feel comforted by them........ no, it's not a deal breaker -- and figure out a way to get a new oven.........

  19. OK, Jen, I know you are prone to a bit of drama and exaggerating... so I'm not sure if you really mean EVERYTHING in your posts. But what exactly do you need in a house? If you can afford over an acre of nice land in Fairfax, then you've got quite a bit of money to work with. There are lots of possibilities out there. It's all about trade-offs. For me personally, I could care less about blue bathrooms as long as they work, I just want a nice big yard with mature trees for the kids and a nice neighborhood to enjoy.

    Now, to answer your specific questions... I think I could live in a house where someone had died a peaceful death after a long life. My grandfather died with hospice care, two of my neighbors had their mothers die in their homes with hospice within the past year, I wish more people had the luxury of passing away peacefully in their homes. Now there are two things that would bother me... I don't think I could deal with the thought of a violent death in the house (shudder), and I don't think I could deal with a lot of old person smell (we rejected a nice house in Falls Church because it smelled too much... I just couldn't deal).

    And as for the oven, why don't you just replace it? $1000 bucks can get you a bigger wall hole and nice replacement oven. Aim for little functional fixes here and there. I think you will learn to love a "dated" homes little quirks.

  20. We bought a house just like that in Colorado (we recently moved to Charlotte and had to sell it, quite sadly!). It was built in 1955 and completely vintage. We thought we'd want to gut and redo it but, like you, our budget was tight. We came to truly love the pink and brown bathrooms, the funny old cabinets and--yes--the tiny oven. Believe it or not (although we later changed the kitchen around a bit to accommodate a new gas range, we didn't really renovate still had the old cabinets and linoleum floor when we left). You can always change the house, but darn--that amount of outdoor space is priceless.
    As for the ghostiness, we had the same time. I quite liked it. Josie still remembers seeing "something' or "someone" in her room when she was about four and is very comforted by it. If it was a good person who died under favorable circumstances I'd be all for it. (a bloody murder, I think, would be a major deal breaker.

    Figure out what you really think is a fair offer and go for it. We did that on our new house and after some dealing got a fair offer accepted. Shortly thereafter, the appraisal came back twenty thousand under that and we got a major bargain. We were just happy knowing that we had paid what it was really worth.


    I'm really enjoying the story, particularly considering you're living through what we did six months ago.

    (p.s. I've been reading you since Henry was just a twinkle. I hope this makes some sense since I have three lovely small children clamoring for breakfast!)

    xo, Amanda

  21. I would live there. But then, things like the house possibly being haunted wouldn't really bother me. I grew up in an old, old house that several people thought was haunted. My parents still live there. I loved that house.

  22. Yes, certainly put in a low bid, you will not be haunted. The previous owner probably only paid $10 - $50 for the house (my parents paid $10 for theirs in 1950), whatever the heirs get is a total gift.

  23. Of course you low bid it. It's on an ACRE. Thank God. You need some space, girl. You'll live with the oven.

  24. YES I would buy a house where someone died! Everyone dies eventually and the most peaceful place to have that happen is in ones own home. If everyone was lucky enough to die that way, every home would have someone die in it eventually. When I'm old and die I hope that a family with children as joyful as yours comes to live in MY house.

    My BIL lives in that area and his house has been for sale for over a year. They are already 200K below where they started, which was 200K below what is was worth five years ago, and this week they received an offer for 50k under what they are currently asking. They are chasing a sinking market. The price that is on that house is not necessarily what comparable houses are selling for. Have your realtor give you a list of comps that have SOLD in the last six months, adjust for the updates, and make an offer. The surviving relatives will be relieved to receive an offer and you can negotiate from there.

  25. I say, put in a low a new (but cheap) stove and if it's meant to be, it will be. I can almost guarantee that the previous owner would love for a young family to move in.

  26. Jen:

    So, the realors say: location, location, location.

    If this house is in a great area and the schools are good as well, I wouldn't hesitate!!

    However, I would offer much lower than the asking price. Maybe 25% lower due to all of the renovations needed. With that offer, I would attach a long letter about your family, your transfer and how much the house would mean to all of you. By that, just what you wrote in your last post. Write about your family in the East, your struggle for children, the need for a short commute so you could spend more time with your family, etc.. Write about how you could see your family growing up in that house.

    The prospect of a ghost in the house is all in the mind as we each have different feelings about death and the passing of a soul. If you both feel that is a possibility, then I wouldn't move there. It would always be a problem for you.

    Good luck with the house hunting..

  27. as long as he died peacefully I think I'd be ok with it - though I'd make sure of that fact first!

    Glad you found something you like!!

  28. albeit creepy.....maybe it's a sign that THIS IS your place. This man's spirit will be there to protect you. Just like Charlie's Mom watching over that new family.

  29. hmm well would charlie feel comfortable there? Would you? I do believe houses have history and I myself had had "feelings" in places before. I have no idea what it is or how to explain it, but non the less it was there.

    I would feel ok asking for a lower price, after all it does need to be updated, I'm sure they are expecting for lower bids. Just as Charlie followed his gut feeling on the fact he knew someone died there. Follow that gut feeling on the purchase of the home. In my experience that gut feeling is never wrong and rarely leads you astray.

    Good Luck!

  30. Go for it. The people who own the place may well be thrilled that a family will live there and keep up the good mojo. Put in a reasonable bid, say your prayers and see what happens.

    and , uh yeah, babysitter should have told you about computer lemonade marriage.

    But, yes, seriously, this is the house you are meant to have-I don't know what made me just type that but you know, I have to go with my instincts and I feel strongly for you on this one.

  31. I purchased and lived in a house in Nova Scotia where someone had died. It was a little creepy at first, but I found that he loved the children and I just got the sense that having little kids playing in his home brought him joy and peace.

    Every once in a while, the lights would flicker oddly or a door would close and I would just say, 'I hear you, [insert name here], nice to know you're still around." Things would settle right down.

    When he was 3 or so, my son noticed the "old man standing in the corner" a couple of times, but it never bothered him. I just told him the gentleman's name and said he used to live here. My son accepted that and over time, he stopped seeing him.

    I'm glad you've found a home, and I wouldn't let the fear of a spirit stop you from buying it.

  32. If it didn't feel like a malicious haunting, I would TOTALLY go for it. Remember, people only started moving out of their old houses and dying in hospitals/assisted care facilities only recently. Before then, MOST people died in their houses.

    Of course because I live in the UK, that is more common than not - I understand that might be a bit freaky to you guys! But before this house I live in now, I never lived in anything younger than 100yrs old. SOMEONE would have died there. And I have lived in some pretty haunted places, if by which you mean that you can 'feel' a previous person's presence. But that's why I love the UK and its sense of history ;) Even in this new house there is a deep sense of people being here before (there's a Roman temple just 500 meters away, and Oliver Cromwell left a cannonball in our church. Plus the oldest Neolithic chalk horse sits just above my daughter's preschool.. we camped there just last night and you can TASTE the history!).

    So - long answer is I would TOTALLY jump on this property. It sounds unique, and I think you would regret letting it go. It sounds like kid heaven, too... a BROOK?! For REAL?!!

    (don't worry about the oven - you will get round it. just pretend you're camping, right?!)

  33. Your "House Hunters" show has now turned into "Ghost Hunters." No, I would NOT buy the house. You will never feel comfortable there...

  34. If I loved it enough and had a "good" feeling about it and the person who lived there I would totally do it. I'd make peace with the "spirit" of the person who lived there and enjoy getting to know who they were and how much they loved the house (so much so they never made a change). This being said, I have lived in 2 houses that were haunted by the person who had died there. The first one was a rental and creeped me out so we moved. Our second house we had constant "action" once we started changing things. Finally we did the research, got to know the family of the woman who passed there and eventually found out why she was so "present" still. We made peace with her and eventually moved to another house but I still dream about that house and actually kind of miss the cranky old soul that always gave us a run for our money. :-) It can make life interesting, but not that you don't have enough adventure in your life.

  35. I have never commented, but read faithfully. The house we have lived in the last 8 years is a house where a man dies in. I suspected when we bought it because of the story of him dying suddenly. After moving in, my friend told me she knew the owners and confirmed that he did die in the house. I had to stop her becasue she almost told me where he actually dies, information I really did NOT need to know. At this point we have lived in the house longer than them so it feels like OUR home. We have four children and I know he was a father so sometimes I like to think that he is happy with the fact that our home is filled with children and love. I am sure that that would be the same in your situation, but I would not let it keep me from buying a house I love. Good Luck!

  36. Go for it. The spirit of the old man is good or he would have ordered you out of his house immediately upon arrival!!!
    The oven on the other hand deserves the low bid on the house. Give it a go what have you got to lose. I think I'd ask if the old man died peacefully though.

  37. Stick to your budget and be patient NO MATTER WHAT. The oven is not a biggie, the overall condition may be an issue -out of date probably means regular maintenance may have been ignored and if you're out of money, emergency fix-ups may sink you... As for the death, it depends on the circumstances -assuming it was a natural death and the guy was a good guy he'd leave behind good energy. If the death was anything other than peaceful or natural then it would be a total deal breaker for me!

  38. I would low ball the bid, due to the lack of upgrades. Then you have plenty of room to meet in the middle. Then I would meet the family - kids, too - and hear stories about the dad without the kids knowing he died inside the house.
    The family could feel sentimental too and want the right, just right, family to have the house.
    Make the fact that these folks loved this house and grew up here a good thing for all concerned.
    Charlie - don't let it be a deal breaker. This could be "just the ticket" for you ALL.
    Just my humble opinion - I am not the one having to live in it!
    Can't wait to hear.
    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama
    (My house could seriously be just like this one one day! My mother's was - took us two years to fully move and clean out and sell.)

  39. Both of our homes have been older homes that have seen a death. Our first was an estate sale that we bought from the estranged son of the previous owners. He hadn't spoken to them in 10 years. We bought our current home from a widow whose husband died here, at home, surrounded by his wife and children. I like living in an older house - I bet there have been births here too, and I know multiple generations of children have grown up here. I think it is Anne of Green Gables that says something like "A house isn't a home until it's seen a birth and a death". If it is the right house for you, embrace the history.

  40. 1) Don't be silly. People die at home all the time. Now, if the house had a long standing reputation as haunted, that's a whole different question.

    2) Go for it! It sounds like a wonderful place. Appreciate the vintage features worth keeping and tastefully update those not worthy. Take your time and enjoy the process.

  41. lol, I'm not sure what to tell you. The house sounds like a gem, especially the acre of land but if Charlie has the creeps, would that creepiness go away once the belongings were out of there?

  42. Sounds like a wonderful house. If the death was not a violent one, I would have no qualms about buying the house - or even putting in a low offer. After all, the deceased doesn't care about money any more and the living people selling the property can't haunt anything.

  43. People have died on just about every spot you have ever stood, at some time over the past few thousand years. At least, that is true for us here in Europe. So, no - it wouldn't freak me out. I would concentrate on the great times he must have had while he lived there, watching his family fish from rocks and climb the maple trees. Death is part of life. Knowing it has happened in a particular place gives it a resonance and an immediacy but in truth it is no closer or further away than in any other place.

    If it really worries you have a pastor come and say a house blessing when you move in. That kid of ceremony can give you peace and a sense of ownership.

  44. 1. Yes, I would.

    2. No, I would not worry about it. I don't think about those things much. But if it will bother you, I'd hate for you to always have that in your head. I'm not saying I don't believe in it, but I think if you are in that frame of mind, you will look for it. (Do I make sense?)

    3. Sounds like a great place because of the space--you could get a new oven, and slowly replace the rest to make it your own.

  45. BlackOrchid7/25/10, 6:24 PM

    You'd better be sure to low-bid it, because a house like that is going to come with a TON of deferred maintenance!

    Seriously, look hard at this one. Get yourselves an INDEPENDENT home inspection (not thru the realtors!!!). Be prepared for significant and necessary maintenance/repair projects to "pop up" in the first few years - possibly right away.

    I also want to echo the posters who are recommending that you consider renting a home for a little while. It's a good idea.

  46. Is it air conditioned? Henry must have been really hot--- How many bedrooms? It sounds like someone also lived in that home. Did you know that someone died in 27 Walnut Street, Maynard? Actually two people. The original owner passed away in the downstairs bathroom---that is why there was a new door there.
    Then of course, Grandpa Coleman died in the dining room.
    Someone lives and sometimes dies a thougsand deaths in some homes.
    I think the game is still early and you find your dream home.
    Keep looking.

  47. If the person was murdered no, but of old age I think yes. In this case, I suspect you mean old age.

    I would go back to the house and talk to the fe/male spirit. That might sound crazy in and of itself (and one reason I'm glad this will be anon) but I do believe it can be helpful. Ask for a sign even. And as far as a low bid, I would do it and maybe include a letter about your family. It might help the sellers understand where you're coming from in terms of price. And the worst that can happen is they say no which could be the sign in and of itself.

    So glad the drive was uneventful and that you all made it to the east coast safely.

  48. Personally, I would indeed move forward and pay what you think it's worth. It won't be haunted, as I'm sure you know. It may have a lingering feeling of someone's spirit, but is that a really bad thing? In many ways, it's really special that you get to take over a home that someone lived in and loved for so many years before he passed on. This person was probably of the Greatest Generation and in so many ways, the home feels like it could be really special b/c of it- not inspite of it. And I'm sure he'd be looking down thrilled that his home was lived in by such a loving young family. But of course you have to afford it and make it your own, so please don't hesitate to bid what you think you want to pay for it. Good luck!

  49. 1) you can find someone to come and "de-spirit" the house for you, be it priest, shaman or who ever. Check on line for Native American rituals.

    2) no it would not be rude, especially in todays' market. The seller(s) might be the person's children who have unrealistic expectations and only see their childhood memories and NOT the real condition of the house.

    My philosophy has always been you never know until you ask and the worst that will happen is they'll say no. What have you got to loose?

  50. Re #1....tough one, I just don't know what I would do..
    Re #2 I'd put in a crazy low never know, they could accept!

  51. Michael just checked the weather forecast for Fairfax, and you're in luck: a cold spell. You'll be dipping down to the 90s, and even the 80s, in the next ten days.

    Ignore the thunderstorm on the far end of that 10-day forecast.

  52. Would totally move into a house where someone has died after a living a long life and of natural causes. If someone had been murdered or had a freak accident that caused alot of me that would be super creepy and a deal breaker.

    I just think your offer needs to be enough for them to take you seriously. I think your "naked gumby" will scare away any hauntings :)

  53. I remember reading that a house hasn't been consecrated until it holds a birth, a death and a marriage. I was a child when I read it, but it struck me deeply. Our house has seen the birth of all three of our children, and I think events like that have to have an effect.

    I guess as to whether or not to buy the house, I would ask: does it creep you out? Is it going to continue to creep you out? I don't think ghosts hold any power over us, but if it disturbs you, then don't buy it. If this house isn't the right one for your family, you will find that right house somewhere else.

    On the other hand, four rambunctious little lives streaking through a house can do a great deal towards clearing the cobwebs, so to speak!

    Best of luck,

  54. I grew up in a house where someone passed away. It is not as weird as you think it would be and yes I believe their ghost still lives there.

  55. Hi Jen,

    Although we did not know it at when we purchased, our house was haunted, too. that was 33 years ago. Our previous owner passed away several days before he was found.

    We learned his story from relatives driving by that wanted to come in a look around the house. Knowing his name was key to having him leave once and for all.

    He was a friendly spirit who wanted to ensure there was a nice family living in his space. I am sure your ghost is just checking you out. Don't let a spirit stop you from purchasing. It should make for some interesting blogs!


  56. 1) As long as it was a natural death, should be ok. If the house is old enough, chances are somebody has died there at some point anyway. I bet there are not any antique/historical houses that have not had somebody die in them, and people find those houses absolutely charming.
    I would absolutely not want to live in a house that was the site of some crime, on the other hand. But I believe there are disclosure laws about that sort of thing anyway.
    2) Are things functional and out of date? Or seriously decrepit? If they still work with no structural issues, I would not discount the offer as much as if there are need to be done repairs (faulty wiring, leaky plumbing, rotted floors, etc).
    We have been renting for the past year in a place that more or less has not been updated much since 1962 build date. The wall oven is pretty small. To the extent that a standard size oval roaster only fits in on a diagonal, with the rack inserted upside-down to make it sit a little lower. I had to shop for Thanksgiving turkey according to maximum size that would fit in an oval roaster, regardless of the fact that we were 14 people! So it is possible to cook in small ovens. Oh, and even in northern climes, grill cooking can be done in winter. We did Christmas Eve dinner once in CT with two legs of lamb indirect roasted on a charcoal kettle grill. Though of course this type of thing might seem a bit primitive for someone used to a California outdoor kitchen. :-)

    Good luck.

  57. BlackOrchid7/26/10, 9:25 AM

    On your questions, I would not care if someone died in a house. I've lived in three over-100-year old historic homes in my life and I'm sure at some point somebody died in them.

    Just to bug you some more, I wanted to say that a 40 plus year old house out here in the Midatlantic has the "needs lots of work" characteristic, and even if that work seems really doable - painting, flooring, etc - and certainly I've redone all those things myself . . . you have four small children. It's going to be a while before you can tackle home improvement projects by yourselves. You'll have to hire them out.

    Another thing to think about.

  58. Wow. I am not sure if I would or would not buy a house because someone died in it. But if I had an experience like you have in the house I may have to be swayed away from it.

    If you LOVE the property that means a lot and maybe enough that you could speak to the family about the person that lived there. maybe learn a little about the man. I think that this would go light years towards making up my mind either way!

    I love a house with character.... but function should come first!

    Good luck!

  59. Sarah!! ME prone to exaggeration & drama? Absolutely not. My life (and stories) totally parallel reality!

  60. Jen, clearly his possessions and belongings had some good karma, and he loved that house, so yes to staying. And you will find a way to bake O'Henry's in that oven, no matter what.

  61. If I am old and have had a nice life, dying at home seems like as good a place as any... So, I would not hesitate to buy a house where someone has died.

    I can see the hesitation with a more gruesome event, but the place where a person has lived a nice life seems like a great place to raise a family.

    We live in a very expensive part of the country and had to sacrifice a lot of what we wanted in a house for the trade-offs that were non-negotiable. So, we live about 100 yards from the 101 freeway. But, we live less than 10 minutes from where I work in a community with great schools, great families and a nice downtown that we can walk to. The parks are nice, the city rec center is a few blocks away, the train to the city is walking distance and it is safe etc..

    For us, those were more important than a big, nice house. Now after 7 years, we are finally ready to remodel (our house will still be less than 2000 square feet...)

    If we had been willing to commute, then we could have had a much bigger house, but I want to maximize the time I have with my kids...

  62. Our previous house was 150 years old and though I don't know specifics, I am certain at least 1 person, perhaps several, died within. We spent 16 years there with no ill effect. One way to look at it is to think about how lucky that person was to pass away in the embrace of a well-loved home, surrounded by the memories and mementos of their life. A house like that, contrary to one's initial reaction, has good karma. It protected and comforted to the end. We should all be so lucky.

    If you buy it, you will make it your own very quickly. And if you do buy it, go see the postings at Retro Renovation. Pam will show you a whole new appreciation for those powder blue bathrooms (which I would love to put into my 11-yr old suburban home).

    Good luck.

  63. Your uncle, my Father was under hospice care and was surrounded by his family members in "his home" the night he died. My family and I wouldn't have changed it for the world!

    We are so grateful to people like your Mother as well who allowed us all the privilege of witnessing the beauty of life, love and death. My Dad loved it here and never wanted to leave.

    What a blessing for anyone who has that type of exit in their lives for the family and the person moving on. Marg.

  64. Yes, I'd buy a house that someone had died in, if the house felt "right". It sounds like the land is just about perfect and it's a damned sight harder to find the right land in the right location than it is the right house (houses can be changed). Death is not taboo, it's a natural and unavoidable part of life. We make of it what it is--good, bad or neutral.

    As to bidding low causing the previous owner to haunt you? He's dead. Where he is, he doesn't give a damn about money. He may have cared very much about that house though. So, if he is in any position to still care, it's not the price he's concerned about, it's the family that takes the house that will concern him. *If* he cares, he'll very likely be glad to see new life breathed into his home in the form of a loving young family like the six of you.

    If you like the house/land, don't let silly superstition about death spoil it for you. You're not going to be haunted and it's very likely that any spirit about the place will be glad to have people in his home that are so sensitive to and respectful of the fact that he, too, once lived there.

  65. My grandfather died in the basement of his house, in his favorite chair, watching tv. I can't think of ANYTHING that would have made him happier than a family with four young kids buying their house (a young couple actually bought it, and I'm sure that made him equally happy). The house was the scene of some of the happiest memories of my childhood, and the center of our family for years. A well-loved home is a GOOD thing!

    ...having said that. my husband and I bought a 100-year-old, "needs some updates" house, spent a wee bit more than we were truly comfortable spending (but we were desperate, with our daughter's imminent arrival and NOTHING on the market). BIG mistake:( Even with an extremely thorough home inspection, you can't know 100% of the problems that lie beneath the surface. we have poured more money into that house than we can ever hope to recoup, and as it happens, the neighborhood school isn't nearly as good as we thought it was. Sooo, we are hosed.

    my point: put in a low offer. The spirit of that man would be thrilled to have you in his house. But do NOT spend a dime more than you are comfortable spending.

  66. Jen:
    I live in a 99 year old house in Ventura Co. CA. There have only been three owners ... oh 4 if I include me. The longest owner died in this house and her husband may have died here too. I consider myself to be a little sensitive to dead people and spirits in just the best of ways. I also live in a historical neighborhood so there are tales of ghosts etc. You have NOTHING to worry about. Wouldn't you be thrilled that a nice young family moved into the house that you loved for years and years? I think so and even if the kids or you feel spirits I am convinced they will be happy ones and the spirits will be happy that lives are being lived and happy things are happening in their former home. Don't not buy this place if just for the spirit of love in the house. XO Ruth

  67. Sure I'd buy a house somebody died in. If the place IS haunted, maybe the departed just wants to see who lives there. Very few ghosts are harmful. They have to live too, ya know...

    I would put in a low bid, becuase of all the upgrading that is necessary. If they turn the bid down, you can bid again...

    I don't know nothin about ovens. I live alone. (What are they for, anyway???) But I'm sure that is a very MINOR detail, that you will work out with no problem. :) I would be hung up on the air conditioning, the old wireing that might have to be re-done, etc.

    Put in a low, but reasonable, offer.

    Maybe he liked Henry, and told him to make himself at home! :D

    ~Cindy! :)

  68. The pain that goes along with the loss is devastating.

    People lived and loved in that house too. I am sure the spirit of the man would be over joyed to have a family move into the home he worked so hard for.

    This post really makes me sad.

  69. I live in the "Johnson's" house and have for the past 14 years. I have "seen" both of them. They loved this house with all their might and soul. My sister laughed real loud once and I heard a noise in the bedroom. when I looked over I saw someone look as if they sat up to see who was out there. I later saw a picture of her and conformed my suspicions. The man stayed upstairs mostly. But both were kind:)

    Any how I say BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY
    and yes ask for a lower price. Grieving family sometimes overprice.

    I heard somewhere that the more you change the walls and flooring the less it is comfortable for the spirits and they move on. I haven't seen anyone or felt anyone since redoing the living room 8 years ago:(

  70. I wouldn't worry about the death thing. Similarly to others here, I am not bothered by a natural death in a home. It would be harder if it was something other than a natural death, but for me, it is not an issue.

    I also grew up across the street from a graveyard. I had people ask me ALL THE TIME if anything spooky ever happened, if I ever saw anything weird...and the answer is no.

    I kind of like those old houses, even if it's out of style and cheesy. They just have character!

  71. Are you people for real? Supernatural, Ghosts? C'mon now what a joke. Charlie's Mom, surrounded by loved ones, why in the world would he not want to remember that in house, or not. The price should go up and be sold to someone who understands the meaning of life.

  72. Speaking of the "HAUNTED" house Jen, it is too bad your Dad could not be in his home instead of a nursing home. And.....breaking up the house? That house was broken up thirty years ago, it was never a HOME.

  73. Anon, the house should go up in price and be sold to someone who understands the meaning of life?? Where did you get THAT? The house is significantly overpriced right now. For the price to go up would do nothing but delay the sale and/or increase the number of low bids received. Are you suggesting the price should be raised because someone died there and that, in some way makes the home more valuable?? That makes about as much sense as you suggesting we don't understand or appreciate the meaning of life.

    Auntie: To him, that house was home and had he not moved out, we would have lost him last year. You know, probably better than anyone, that despite the broken state of the family, he's still my dad - he's the only one I've got - and I love him.

  74. I KNEW it! I always felt some sort of "feeling" at 27 Walnut - maybe the "bat attack" was the person trying to speak to us! Come to think of it - 33 Walnut also had a bat attack - and I KNOW someone actually killed themself there - however I didn't know that until last year when my sister told me! Lots of history on that little street! Kinda cool!