Sometimes the tragic events that happen in life, linger. Not only for the living, but for those that have passed. No Realtor wants to list a home where a tragic event or death has occurred because of the stigma associated with those homes might make it more difficult to sell. This was the scenario of one the most beautiful homes I’ve sold in my career.
A friend of mine called to see if I could help sell a gorgeous, custom built home on a large plot of land for one of his friends whose husband had recently passed away. Of course I jumped at the chance, undeterred by the recent event and met with the owner. The widow was around my age and told me of how her middle aged husband had died of a very quick moving cancer and after his diagnosis was only given a few weeks to live. He had decided to remain at home instead of a hospital until his last breath to be with his family. So that is exactly what happened; he died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones for his journey to the beyond. But had he really left?
One of the first things I do when exploring a new listing is get the lay of the house, the land, the features that make it special and I walk room to room to feel its energy. I had a very peaceful feeling here, full of love and warmth and fun. There was a collection of Marilyn Monroe photographs, some a little too risqué for the general public, a fancy bar, sparkly dancing shoes and cowboy boots; these people knew how to have fun. I like to sense who will be the next owner; a large family, retirees, a young first time homeowner, etc. This one could’ve gone to almost anyone and I predicted it was going to go quickly.
After the paperwork is signed, I then stage, have it cleaned and order professional photos. The deceased husband’s ashes were on the mantel in what I thought was a cigar case. As I was staging, I moved the box to the center to make a nice presentation when the owner suddenly lashed out at me; “don’t touch that”, I didn’t realize those were her husband’s ashes. “I’m so sorry”! I told her, but how do you tell your client, that an urn is not a compelling selling point when she is still grieving? But, we decided to leave them there for the time being, mostly because I couldn’t tell her to hide them without upsetting her.
The box of ashes on the mantel-Courtesy of Andrew Webb Photography
I thought the home looked amazing; it was clean and priced right and yet it still didn’t sell right away. This was a market that was selling pretty fast and while many, many brokers showed thier buyers this home, nobody would make an offer. A few buyers asked if someone had died in the home too. There was no way they could’ve known this. The husband’s clothes were still in the closet, his office was set up just as it was when he was alive and nothing had shown up on title to indicate it was an estate sale. The only item that could point to a death was the box of ashes on the mantle and it looked like a cigar box. I asked a few buyers, why would you ask that? One lady replied, “I got a weird feeling in the master bedroom, he must have passed in there”. I just sat on the phone with my mouth gaping and moved on in the conversation.
I do believe that when someone passes, thier souls can see the light of the other side but have the choice to move into it or not. And why wouldn’t you go to the light? Because someone is holding them here. In this case, a few weeks of sickness wasn’t enough time for the widow to embrace the idea of letting him go and moving on without him, so unconsciously she held him there. Souls know where to find the light, but they can choose not to leave.
I continued to market the home for a few more weeks, we lowered the price, we restaged and took new photos with my favorite photographer Andrew. Andrew is also a sensitive and he’s seen a few ghosts in his profession too, so I didn’t feel nuts when I told him what buyers had been saying and that a photo taken from the backyard with my I Phone showed a blurry image of a middle aged man with a beard sitting on the back retaining wall. I deleted this photo unfortunately and this is the only time I saw or really felt that ghost, but 5 buyers ended up telling me they thought someone had passed there. Finally when the mortgage got too much for her to take on, I think she let go emotionally to the home and the last place she saw her husband and accepted that she had to let him and the beautiful house go. It was only then, that a buyer, who was also a sensitive made an offer. She said she didn’t mind the ghost and thought he would move on when his wife did. Profound.
As difficult and frustrating as that sale was, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to sell this home for her and help her move on to a new phase in her life. I’d like to think the husband is still watching over her, but from heaven. Ironically, she met her next love at a grieving widows group; maybe that was a little gift from beyond.