The Surrealtor is a high-profile drama series that’s coming soon to the SYFY channel. The premise? A real estate brokerage that sells haunted houses. Spoiler alert: these houses are not only renovated and staged, they are also subject to paranormal investigations, seances and exorcism. There is nothing like a good old-fashioned demon purge to bring the value up, I say!
Jokes aside, whether you believe in the paranormal or not, a television show that stars Emmy award-winning Schitt’s Creek alumni Tim Rozon and Sarah Levy is going to have a massive audience. Whether or not you believe that the paranormal has any place in a real estate transaction, after this show airs, your buyers might.
Are ghosts about to haunt your real estate deal?
I am what some of you would call a surrealtor. The majority of my clients are from the New Age Community and are believers in the supernatural. Not only do they want disclosure that a house is purportedly haunted, they also want information that goes way beyond brick and mortar.
Dismissing the otherworldly concerns of a buyer who is interested in a so-called stigmatized property might be your own personal preference but is it the right thing to do?
A television show like The Surrealtor could influence the way some buyers want to do business in the near future. Are paranormal home inspections and house-clearing certificates going become status quo? Is a seller going to be asked to warrant that a house is free and clear of a paranormal presence? Is “vacant possession” going to take on an entirely new meaning?
Where do we draw the line?
The real estate profession has already embraced ancient beliefs like feng shui and numerology; these are a lot more tangible and certainly more benign. Bringing in the feng shui master is not going to put a kibosh on the deal; it’s a reasonable request.
When it comes to the “haunted house”, however, we are instructed to disclose this fact in writing; after that it is basically “buyer beware”.
What about the property that isn’t officially stigmatized? If your buyer client insists that a property has an unexplainable bad vibe and yet they are not deterred from making an offer, provided that the house clearer, psychic medium and paranormal investigator accompany the standard home inspector…. what are you supposed to do? This scenario could become de rigeur, if The Surrealtor becomes a cultural phenomenon. Remember Ghostbusters?
I personally am not averse to any reasonable new age inspection at a property provided the seller agrees and we all define the parameters of the inspection in writing and the conditions are not unreasonable.
Here is another scary thought, though. How do we know the difference between a client’s genuine concern or someone wanting to act out a scene in their favourite television show? We don’t.
Yes, I believe that ghosts are going to be our next house “pest”. Are you ready?
Despite all the dire warnings, I enjoy the challenge of selling a stigmatized property. I sell haunted houses. Not everybody runs from them, some are actually looking for them. It’s a niche market and it’s fascinating work.
Paranormal-themed television shows continue to be popular and have not yet had a profound effect on the real estate profession. A TV series that glorifies spirit-slaying Realtors will surely set a new precedent. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, many buyers do and I predict that soon many more will.