Four years ago, Dallas real estate agent Scott Carlson won a listing that he said carried a “dark energy.” Built in the 1920s, the home resembled a 16th-century castle, complete with decorative turrets, plaster moldings, stone fireplaces and a moat.
The owner hadn’t owned the home for long, but suffered a severe depression in it and decided to sell.
Carlson knew the neighborhood and was familiar with the twisted lore that swirled around the 1-acre property.
A previous owner had died in a tractor accident at the home and it had been foreclosed upon twice — his client bought it out of foreclosure, in fact. The home had secret entrances, used to sneak brew in and out during Prohibition.
Carlson’s college-aged assistant hated going to the property. In short, “It had bad juju,” Carlson said.
That’s when Carlson turned to Jay Quinn, a Washington, D.C.-based energy healer who helps real estate brokers and agents improve the atmosphere of problem homes that spark negative feelings in some people.
Involved in spirituality himself, Carlson learned of Quinn at a retreat in Brazil.
After cleaning the castle’s windows with soap and water and burning sage and letting its smoke waft throughout the home, he brought in Quinn to work his magic.
Quinn, 68, calls himself a natural energetic healer. He retired two years ago from his corporate gig as a market researcher at USA Today and now focuses on healing people, leading workshops on the skill and improving the “energies” in troubled houses for real estate brokers and agents.
After Quinn’s session, the castle’s energy improved so much that the seller decided to keep it.
“I do things that help agents facilitate a sale,” Quinn said. This includes clearing the negative energy in a home and then imbuing it with harmony and abundance using a variety of techniques he’s honed over the years, he said.
Sometimes dark, stressful energies — often associated with a death, divorce or even an event before the house was built — cling to a property, Quinn said.
Quinn knows this talk of unseen forces and energy sounds strange. So does Carlson, other agents who do or facilitate energy work on properties, and the many who chalk it up to a kooky, new-age belief.
More agents welcome the less intense, more common strategies used to shift a home’s energy such as landscaping, staging, the Chinese design practice of feng shui and sage smudge sticks.
Those who have turned to deeper energy work to spruce up a home’s appeal swear by its results, however. Quinn and Carlson are not alone.
San Jose, California, agent Leslie Lang coordinated her first “spirit sweeping” a year and a half ago when an alleged haunting almost drove a couple out of a home she helped them buy.
Strange things happened when Lang’s buyers moved in.
They couldn’t sleep. Their dog barked all night at something in the master bedroom. They felt a weird energy in the room. On its own, the living room TV popped out of the credenza, turned on and began airing sports events.
After a tear-filled, crazy week, the couple called Lang up and said they couldn’t stay in the place.
Lang reached out to the seller, an older widow. Her husband died in the master bedroom and he loved watching sports on a living room TV that had been exactly where the new owners’ TV sat.
“It was obvious that there was a presence there,” Lang said. Maybe the seller’s husband’s spirit didn’t know that his wife had left or where to go, she thought.
Lang gave her clients three options: move to her house temporarily while she attempted to sell the house, stay in the house while she tried to sell it or try a “spirit sweeper.” They opted for the latter.
Lang didn’t know anyone who could cleanse a haunted house, so she reached out to a feng shui professional she had used for a referral. That person said they could handle it.
The healer performed a ceremony and Lang’s buyers had no problem from that day onward. They’re still in the house today. (Lang doesn’t know exactly what the energy healer did.)
“I didn’t want to believe [energy-clearing] worked,” Lang said. But she does now.
Boulder, Colorado, agent Jennifer Egbert has used a healer to clean about 10 homes that had been through traumatizing experiences such as divorce, depression, pets buried on the land, death and more.
One had experienced a double murder-suicide. After an energy sweeping, it sold within days, she said.
Energy skeptics and stigma
Some of Quinn’s broker and agent clients were skittish about going on the record for this story, worried about stigma from colleagues and potential clients.
One of Quinn’s broker clients — who runs a firm of a couple hundred agents in the Washington, D.C., area — will soon bring a group of 12 of her agents to one of Quinn’s workshops. But she wanted to remain anonymous.
She used Quinn for the first time earlier this year. One of her listings had “dark energy” in the basement, she said. After sitting on the market for four months with no offers, the home sold over list price within weeks of Quinn clearing the space.
Cheryl Spangler contributed an article on Inman in August in which she recommended performing energy clearings on properties that had issues. She got such negative feedback from that story that she declined to speak for this one.
A real estate agent’s exorcist
A traumatic childhood catapulted Quinn along a healing path. He started with Eastern-based healing and added in elements from other traditions. He’s used energy work to help over 2,000 people in the 20 to 30 years he’s worked as a healer.
Real estate healing is a new area of focus for Quinn.
He estimates he’s “cleared” a few hundred properties in the 10 to 15 years he’s been doing the work, but only recently has he decided to focus more on helping brokers and agents. He feels there’s a real need for it.
Quinn currently has six real estate clients, two of whom are brokers.
He charges $400 for a three-day workshop where he teaches brokers and agents how to clear a property themselves. He also offers his services for $125 per hour to those who want to hire him to perform the service.
Quinn hopes his work helps improve the energy of the world, one home at a time. When he’s called in, he works to make each house a “little beacon of light.”