It’s the season when spooky sounds and eerie sensations abound. But for homeowners who find their abodes bumping in the night well beyond Halloween, real estate agent Collette McDonald has a suggestion: Hire a medium.
“I’ve had clients who are highly sensitive and felt uncomfortable after they bought the house,” says the RE/MAX Around Atlanta agent who has been selling properties for 15 years. “It’s not just spirits; there can be bad energy left after a divorce, for instance.”
In the same way many homeowners consider the principles of feng shui when building or decorating a house, others find they need the know-how of an expert with a slightly different set of skills. McDonald has steered those clients to Darshana Patel who describes herself as a “channeled healer, Reiki master and medium.” For three years, the Decatur resident has worked with homeowners to create positive spiritual environments.
“Energetic clearings are about 10 percent of my business,” she said. “A lot of my clients are owners of new construction that can absorb energy left in the land, particularly in Atlanta where so many battles were fought. Sometimes they find there’s residual energy from previous owners. It’s like buying a shirt from a thrift shop: You’d wash it before wearing. It’s the same with a house.”
Patel starts by collecting details about what the owners are experiencing, paying close attention to what children and pets are picking up on. She then makes a date to spend about two hours on the property performing a number of cleansing rituals.
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“It usually starts with people saying, ‘I want to avoid this room’ or ‘I get weird vibes in this area,’” she said. “I use white sage and sounds to disrupt vibrations. If there’s a spirit in the house, I can communicate with it. Once the home has been cleared, I put sea salts around the boundary. ”
Patel charges $585 for a house to 3,000 square feet and $700 for larger spaces. The cost was worth the results for Theja Reese and her husband and two teen daughters who hired Patel to perform a house cleansing on their Cumming home a few years ago.
“I went into it with no expectations, thinking if it works it works; if it doesn’t, we’ve lost nothing,” she said. “But every member of my family felt there was a palpable change. The whole house was lighter and more peaceful. In fact, we just moved to a new house, and we’ll have her come out and to the same thing again.”
Having an energy cleansing performed is no different than other things people do under the general heading of “home superstitions,” said McDonald.
“I’ve worked with people who only wanted Eastern-exposed homes for their prayer vigils,” she said. “Some want a house with a blue porch because it’s supposed to scare away ghosts. I’ve had people look at a house number or the floor of the condo building, and if it’s 13, they don’t want it. And of course, I’ve had people bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down under the for-sale sign to help the house sell. It sounds superstitious, but these are things people are concerned about.”
Knowing that people may be superstitious, McDonald always encourages her sellers to disclose anything about the house that might give a buyer pause.
“We have specific topics that are part of the seller’s disclosure: lead paint, radon, flood plain, things known in the house,” she said. “But the sales contract gives the buyer the right to research the house and the presence of sex offenders in the neighborhood. If there’s been a crime, if the house has been a meth lab, I advise my client to disclose it because, if it does come up, you don’t want to shock the buyer. I’ve never had to list a house where something horrible had happened, but if I did, I’d tell the seller to disclose it because in this age of the internet, it’s just too easy to find out.”