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DREAM HOUSE: ESSENTIALS

Feeling at home after death

Published:Saturday | November 27, 2021 | 12:08 AMBarry Rattray/Contributed

Death is a reality of life. Sixty million people around the world die every year from natural and unnatural causes.

For many of us, a dearly departed from our immediate household or otherwise is accepted with all its bereavement for what it is. For others, the anxiety and depression that frequently comes after manifests in the form of memories or haunting images, real or imagined, that drives the living fear into them.

So their sleep pattern is broken, or worse, they can’t sleep at all. Facing this traumatic process can sometimes be so overwhelming that after a while they cannot live in the same house anymore. Death has moved in, and they have moved out!

Death may also have an impact on real estate. Purchasing a house where someone died peacefully, or worse, violently, is a no-no for some persons. Folklore, cultural traditions, superstitious customs or religion can frighten them away from progressing with the real estate transaction after that knowledge has come to light. In America, death disclosure in real estate is not enforced by law in all states. In other words, the vendor (seller) is not obliged to share that someone has died (especially in recent years) in the house you are seeking to buy.

The price of houses may also be affected by its recent history of deceased occupants, with its value usually reduced when it’s ready to come on the market.

Research has shown that one in every three persons in America would not want to live in a house where someone has died. Polls commissioned by a major online real estate company, Trulia, have also informed that seven out of every 10 persons in America would not reside in a house where death occurred. The New York Times newspaper reported that 43 per cent of United States citizens believe in paranormal activity or ghosts.

Right here in Jamaica, there is a strong believe in the supernatural, with spirits of the departed said to be communicating among so many believers.

On the other hand, death in a house does not always prevent people from buying and living in that very house. They are purchasing what has attracted them to the property – price, the style, location, etc – and not its former deceased inhabitants.

Pardon the unpleasant subject matter, but these are real issues that face several of us. The unfortunate COVID-19 death numbers have also increased the situation where, as we try to find more living space, that same space might be a little more challenging to secure if we are afraid to deal with the matter of loss of life in our own homes or those that we seek to buy or rent. We may need to rely on time and/ or counselling from a professional therapist to address those issues. We can also enthusiastically design and decorate our living quarters the way we wish and enliven it with our personality and our faith, and not worry about those invisible personalities that you believe you may come across.

Would you have apprehensions about living in a home where someone has died? Email us your response.

Barry Rattray is a dream house designer and builder. Email feedback to barry-rattray@hotmail.com and lifestyle@gleanerjm.com.