The Market

The case for buying a possibly haunted Staten Island mansion

By Virginia K. Smith  | February 26, 2015 - 12:59PM

An asking price of $2.31 million for a sprawling, landmarked, 10-bedroom mansion instead of, say, an overpriced Midtown one-bedroom? Naturally, there are some catches. And in this case, it's that you might share the place with ghosts, or at least buy a house that arguably qualifies as the ultimate fixer-upper.

The New York Post revisited Staten Island's always-eerie Mayer mansion, which is still on the market after raising its asking price from $1.74 million late last year. The 1855 mansion—once the home of a prominent Nabisco baker and eventually, his two reclusive daughters—is famously decrepit, so much so that it's become hugely popular for photo shoots (and even a few music video shoots): 

To some, this might look like a lot of expensive renovation work, but to us, it looks like a pretty solid way to make money off the property once you own it. That's exactly what its current owner, Bob Troiano, has done for the past few decades, bringing the ground floor up to date for his family's personal use, and leaving the rest of the home's haunted vibes largely as-is, the better to attract photographers. Let's take a look at some of the more modern living quarters:

Normally, rumors of a haunting might mean you'd have more room for negotiation, but as we've written previously, New York buyers aren't especially squeamish about homes that come with a dark backstory. Plus, "the owner is super-touchy about people calling it haunted," the Post notes, and he's previously said that he's not in a rush to sell, so you may not have any luck getting a price deduction here. 

But, look on the bright side: the asking price includes a $570,000 exterior renovation by Troiano, which brokers say brings the net asking price back down to $1.74 million (and will likely save headaches down the road). And anyone who's ever watched a horror movie knows that the an owner of a truly haunted home would be in a rush to sell off the property ASAP, not stick around doing historically accurate facade upgrades (that's what creepy groundskeepers are for, after all). Need further convincing? A "psychic lawyer" told the Post that the spirits present in the house are "positive," case closed. 


Go big, THEN go home: 6 NYC houses worthy of the "mansion tax"

Curious about your townhouse's (maybe sordid) history? Call in a detective

House of horrors: what if your apartment has a terrible past?

Reel Estate: Ghostbusters' "corner penthouse of spook central"

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.