Meet the San Ramon Real Estate Agent Selling Haunted Homes
San Ramon real estate agent Cindi Hagley is an expert at selling stigmatized homes.
Illustrations by Greg Clarke
Hauntings, suicide, murder, meth labs, and cult gatherings: It’s all ho-hum for Cindi Hagley. The San Ramon real estate agent is nationally known for her success selling haunted and paranormal properties. (She’s been featured on CBS Evening News and 20/20.) A self-professed history and science geek, Hagley transforms houses with mysterious and tragic pasts into desirable real estate.
We asked Hagley for her secrets to selling a stigmatized home and some of her spookiest experiences with the paranormal.
A Past with the Paranormal
“I grew up in a haunted home,” says Hagley, who lived in Ohio when she was young. “I would walk past the bathroom and see the faucets turn on by themselves.” After moving to San Ramon, Hagley found herself selling three stigmatized homes within her first year in real estate. “I think maybe the universe was calling me,” she says. “You don’t start it; you’re kind of called to do it.”
Secret to Success
“It’s truly about marketing. You have to take the focus from one area and put it on another,” she says. A prime example: high-profile crimes. Hagley finds out where the crime scene was, and avoids photographing or staging that room. Ultimately, Hagley wants her clients to be comfortable. “Sometimes, I let them test-drive the house. I want them to understand what they are getting into.”
Dealing with Death
“I don’t get emotionally involved with homes, although it’s hard not to get emotionally involved with a client who has suffered a death,” Hagley says. “If they need to talk, let them talk—let them grieve. Not only are you a realtor, you’re a counselor, therapist, and even [member of the] clergy. You need [to be] someone who is compassionate and empathetic.”
While at a television shoot at a home in Southern California, Hagley told her psychic and medium, Mark Nelson, that she didn’t believe there was paranormal activity in the house. “He told me, ‘You’ve got an entity standing right beside you,’ ” says Hagley. “I said, ‘If you’re here, you need to show yourself,’ and immediately, this cold rush came up my body. It was like cold electricity; it zapped everything I had. I was liquid, and I tumbled. . . . One of my camera guys caught me.”
Hagley says there really is nothing simple about her work. Making both the client happy and the buyer comfortable is no easy task. But for Hagley, the hardest part is also the most rewarding. “The best part for me is when I sell that home after something tragic has happened . . . and then [the sellers] can move on and start rebuilding their life,” she says. .