While not many people would admit to believing in ghosts and goblins, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’d want to share a home with a poltergeist, spirit or bogeyman.
There’s a great video doing the rounds on social media at the moment where a house in London is rigged up with special effects to make it appear haunted. Then some real estate agents are invited over to appraise the property while hidden camera’s record them freaking out as taps start turning on and off by themselves, doors slam shut and furniture begins moving around.
It’s an entertaining video, and aside from making us wonder why anyone would want to play such a mean trick on real estate agents, it also got us thinking about what we’d do if we were asked to sell a haunted house.
This hasn’t happened to us yet, but we have heard of a real estate agent in Los Angeles California who promises to only sell ghost free homes. To accomplish this she offers ghost detection and exorcisms as part of her service. You can watch how she first became ‘The Ghost Realtor’ here.
Obviously that’s from a comedy show, but the lady in that video really is a real estate agent, and she is still referring to herself as ‘The Ghost Realtor’ over a year after that video was shot, so it must be working out for her.
It might surprise you to hear this, but this kind of thing also happens in Australia. According to a recent article in Domain, there are a lot of sellers and new home owners in Sydney and Melbourne who seek out the services of spiritual mediums, shamans or clairvoyants to help them clear their properties of unwanted entities.
We’re not exactly sure how the prices for this kind of service are determined – whether it’s a flat rate or varies depending on the number of spirits in the home, but it turns out ghost busting is a pretty lucrative business to be in, with some appointments costing over $350. One clairvoyant is apparently so busy that she needs to be booked 6 weeks in advance.
Some believers might try to chase the spirits out themselves. One popular technique is known a smudging… which is basically just burning some sage and walking through every room in the property spreading smoke around. Ghosts must hate sage.
Whether or not you believe that ghosts exist, it’s understandable why someone who does believe in the supernatural might want to clear their new home of unwanted incorporeal housemates. It’s probably hard to get to sleep at night with bedsheets floating around and chains rattling all the time.
For the people selling the property though, the reasons for getting an exorcism can vary. Some might be having trouble finding a buyer, and believe a ghost is at fault, although it is more likely due to more mundane causes like poor marketing or not setting a realistic asking price. Others might be worried that the haunting will lower the value of their property.
In the ACT, along with most other parts of Australia, sellers and their agents are required to disclose all important information about the history of a property to interested buyers. If someone dies in a home or a crime was committed there, there can be some negative associations attached to the property which can impact its value. These types of properties can be referred to as stigmatised properties.
Now, potentially, a haunted house might qualify as a stigmatised property, but it’s hard to picture a situation where a seller would disclose that their property is haunted if they don’t believe in ghosts. It’s kind of like expecting someone to disclose that their home has never been visited by the tooth fairy. It’s very hard to prove a negative.
We haven’t come across any haunted properties here in Canberra, so we have no real way of knowing if a haunted house would sell for less than a similar ghost-free property. Who knows? There might be people out there who are willing to pay a little extra to have their own Casper to sit around and watch TV with.