Psst…want a haunted apartment? This start-up’s got you covered.
(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)
You’re looking for an apartment in Hong Kong. You discover a great two-bedroom in the West Kowloon section of the city. But then you find out the apartment is available because the former resident recently passed away there. Does that matter to you?
It should, because you can probably get it for a lower than market price. At least that’s what a new start-up called spacious.hk is betting on.
According to a 2011 census, more than 93 percent of Hong Kong’s seven million residents are ethnic Chinese. It’s no secret some Chinese have a deep cultural fear of ghosts. Many would prefer not to live in an apartment where someone recently died. They call them “hung jaak” (ghost apartments) in Cantonese. A landlord or real estate agent doesn’t want anyone knowing that.
In fact, the worse the reason for death, like a “charcoal-burning” suicide (don’t ask) or a bizarre murder, the worse the apartment’s “feng shui.” And the worse the feng shui, the less attractive the apartment is to Chinese buyers and renters.
But wait! What if you, the brave person who couldn’t care less that someone died in that apartment just last month, knew this information? That’s pretty good intelligence to bring to the bargaining table.
And that’s where the young entrepreneurs at spacious.hk come in. They’re keeping a close eye on all the “tragic events” that happen inside the city’s apartments, according to this great story by Justin Heifetz on Vice’s Motherboard.com. And they’re making this information available to the expats and younger generations of people that would sleep next door to the Blair Witch if it meant saving$50 a month on the rent.
Spacious.hk provides a free search service where visitors can see whether the former resident of a now-available apartment met a tragic end. And, oh boy….you can even search for an apartment with specific incidents Vice said it learned from a guy called Ghafoor, whose team is responsible for the database. All the user needs to do is click a filter that is actually called “haunted.”
Business has been so good that there are plans to expand to Shanghai and Taipei. That’s scary good.