When buying an apartment in Hong Kong, one of the worst things that could happen to homebuyers is accidentally purchasing a haunted apartment. If a murder, suicide or accidental death has previously occurred in an apartment, the apartment and surrounding area are usually considered haunted. Although a haunted apartment doesn’t technically have a legal definition, this is a major area of concern for most homebuyers. Here’s how you can avoid falling into the property trap:

Ask around

Sometimes the easiest way to get to the truth is by asking around – there’s no harm in talking to the building’s security guard in the building or next door neighbours, as they tend to be more knowledgeable on the history and past events of the apartment unit. Since real estate agents have to handle a large number of properties on a daily basis, they may not have enough time to dig up detailed information on a specific property.

Do some research online

Another way to find out the status of a property is to do some research online. You can either look through Squarefoot’s haunted house database for an updated list of haunted apartments, or Google the name of the street along with certain keywords, such as “suicide”, “murder” and “deaths”. Since the internet provides endless knowledge and resources, this may be your best source in finding accurate information.

Consult banks to find out its property value

Since banks are less likely to give out mortgage loans for questionable properties and have an in-house haunted house blacklist, this may be another way to find out whether an apartment is haunted. You can either consult banks in person or use the online Property Valuation tool to find out the property value of an apartment unit. If the property value is unusually low and shows a large price difference compared to nearby apartment units, there’s probably something fishy going on with the property.

Compare the price with other nearby properties

When you see a large discount on a given property, your first instinct may be to snatch the good deal, but there may be an underlying trap behind the low price. It may seem like you’re getting a deal of a lifetime on the surface, but if the price seems too good to be true and other homebuyers don’t seem to be interested in the property, the apartment may be haunted.

Ask the landlord to confirm in writing

If you’re still feeling paranoid after extensive research and interviews, you can ask the landlord to confirm the status of the property in the purchase and sale agreement. In the agreement, you can ask the landlord to include the clause that if there was a murder or suicide in the apartment, the buyer could immediately cancel the transaction and get back the full amount of the initial deposit.