Before she sells a house, Sasha Barber does all the things a regular realtor would do. She stages the space, works with her client to decide on an asking price, and devises a marketing strategy. But unlike most brokers, she also gets spiritual.
“Where you live is so important,” Barber, the owner of Guided Realty in Orange County, California, told VICE. “I use all different techniques to help [buyers] clear the path so there’s no subconscious blocks surrounding owning a home.”
Depending on the client, those techniques can involve crystals, prayer, dowsing pendulums, card readings, and other New Age practices informed by Barber’s belief that the universe works to guide potential buyers to the property in which they’re meant to live.
She’s not alone: Around the country, realtors are turning to mystical methods to help buy and sell property. One realtor in Denver, Kari Wisenbaker, gives saging kits to her customers; another in Wisconsin, Heidi Kelley, uses crystals and vision boards to eliminate the "infinite layers of vibrating energy" she detects in her clients' homes, offering the kind of energy clearing services that have become increasingly popular among spiritually-inclined brokers. Celebrities are also getting in on the trend. According to Page Six, Rachel Ray had her team perform a saging ritual when she moved into Martha Stewart’s old TV studio in 2012 to remove any negative energy Martha might have left behind.
From a business standpoint, it seems like a smart move for realtors to adopt these practices. There’s a potentially huge market for it: According to a recent Pew Research survey, 62 percent of US adults hold at least one New Age belief, with 42 percent believing that energy can be stored in physical objects. And New Age spiritualists aren't the only ones turning to paranormal methods to sell property. Some Catholics believe that burying a statue of St. Joseph outside your home will help you sell it. In a 2015 Better Homes and Gardens poll of Chinese Americans, over a third of those surveyed said they would avoid using a real estate agent if they weren’t familiar with feng shui.
At a time that seems ripe for realtors with New Age beliefs to mesh their spirituality with their sales, I spoke to Barber to learn more about her practice, and to find out how her views on the supernatural factor into her work.
VICE: How does what you do differ from a typical realtor?
Sasha Barber: My big idea is that you’re always guided to where you need to be to best serve your purpose in life. If you follow the signs, if you listen to intuition, then everything falls into place. Usually when you’re guided it's super easy, but then if there are some setbacks and something happens, and the offer [you’ve made on a house] doesn't get accepted, a lot of people fall into this mode of, “Oh my goodness, this was a perfect home for me,” and then they get upset. But in reality, that only happens because something better is waiting for you. Maybe they have some kind of limiting beliefs about owning a home.
What kind of signs would typically "guide" someone to the right home?
I can tell you the story of one of my clients. When she would envision herself living in her home, she would see herself swinging on a swing on a porch. And [her partner] said, “I just want to have this sense of protection in my home.” And the home, of course, ended up having this bright red swing on the front porch, and the lot was surrounded by these really, really tall evergreen trees all the way around. So when you begin to visualize living there, that’s when those details come in. Then when you're there, you just know [it's the right home], because you’ve already envisioned it.
Would you say the way you ask clients about what they're looking for in a house is more complex than what a regular real estate agent asks them—like what amenities and features they're looking for?
Exactly. Of course, features are important: You need to have three bedrooms, or you need to have two bathrooms. But there are so many homes that have three bedrooms. So what is that uniqueness? How do you know that this is the right home for you? If somebody is undecided, we can use dowsing techniques with the map. And I’ll educate them on how to do this. Again, the question is: Where do I need to be to best serve my purpose? And most of the time, [these practices] will put them in the right spot.
Have you ever come across a property that has such bad energy that you don’t think you can work with it?
I’ve seen places like that. If the energy is more powerful than you, it will push you away.. Something will happen. The bank will not approve the loan—whatever. It will push you away. But I work with people who could do a very deep cleansing of the home.
What are some of the spiritual methods you use to sell houses?
I'm sure you've had this experience: You walk into a home and it feels very heavy, [or] stale. Maybe somebody passed away in this home, or [there’s] negative energy. Maybe people are just not happy there, or they’re angry there, and you walk in and right away you can feel, like, Ugh, I don't want to be here. No matter the vibration, we can change that. Because it’s just energy. We try different things: I muscle test or I use a pendulum to make sure that whatever I was working on [has been]cleared. I’ve got sage or candles. I sometimes put some crystals in different corners, just keeping that positive vibration, opening the energetic doors. I believe that if the energetic door opens up, the real buyer will walk through the real door, because everything first happens in energy, then it manifests in this reality.
What do you think some of the effects of living in the wrong house are? For people reading this, how could they tell for themselves if they’re not in the right place?
The question is when you get home, are you happy to be home, or are you like, "Ugh?" Are you dreading to come home? Continuously living in a negative environment, it reflects back on to your mindset. Things like health issues could arise from living in the wrong environment. The more you let go, the more the peaceful energy comes in. There are less fights. The kids sleep better. You can absolutely feel it.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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