SurrealEstate Season 1, Episode 3, “For Sale by Owner,” begins at the picturesque lakeside cottage location at 107A Hill House Road. A young woman named Harper North (Melanie Scrofano) gives a terrible tour of the house to an older couple. Harper highlights all the negatives, like the many North family members who have died there, her family’s obsession with knives, and tales of ominous happenings at night.
To cap off the tour, Harper gives a theatrical performance of being swept off her feet by a ghostly gust of wind. She warns the couple that the house hates them and they should run away as quickly as they can.
Harper’s brother, Callum, is the cottage’s co-owner and he hires The Roman Agency to sell it since Harper has failed to do so despite the fact it has been six months with tons of showings, yet no offers. Little does Callum know that his sister is intentionally scaring buyers away. Luke sees straight through her scheme, although he does take interest in an old music box inside the house.
It’s not until the evening that Luke sees something genuinely supernatural happen. He witnesses Harper’s Grammy Sam wandering the property. Despite trying to convince Harper to move on with her life and let go of the cottage, she instead beats him over the head with a shovel and ties him up in a cabinet.
There is a lot more to this lakeside cabin than a charlatan ruse. Harper is being used as a puppet by all of her dead relatives. In a moment of clarity, Luke convinces the real Harper to set him free. He races off of the property with the other ghosts closing in and finds Grammy Sam. She sings him a song similar to the one that played from the music box. The lyrics suggest that Luke needs to find a way for Harper to move on, but then she says something indecipherable.
Luke sends the recording to August and Phil to translate. In the meantime, he tries to drive Harper off the property even as she insists she cannot leave. It turns out to be true, as they end up right back where they started.
It’s Phil who realizes the words might simply be backward. Playing the audio in reverse, Luke hears Grammy Sam say that they need to wind the music box in reverse.
Inside the cottage once more, Luke is almost killed by one of Harper’s dead relatives when she manages to do as he says and play the box backward. By doing so, she summons Grammy Sam’s ghost one final time.
Sam confesses that when her husband died, she became obsessed with the music box and the house. She drowned herself in despair, not realizing that those who love this place or slept in its water would not be able to move on until the melody was turned back, essentially trapping everyone. But now they’re all free to move on, including Harper.
SurrealEstate Season 1, Episode 3 recap: Susan deals with a horror novelist
While Luke is attending to the cottage, he assigns Susan one of their regular clients, the famed horror novelist William Larson. Every time Larson writes a new novel, he comes to them seeking a haunted house to nurture his muse. It’s supposed to be a slam dunk case, but Susan gets too cocky and ignores all of Zooey’s advice.
It’s not until she’s run out of options that Susan finally consults the “in case of emergency” option in Larson’s special Roman Agency file and takes him to a house that looks bland and innocuous. While William is inside, Susan shoots off an angry test to Zooey, but Zooey says she should trust her and trust Luke. And she’s right. William sees something horrifying enough within the house that he’s willing to take it at any price.
Back at the firm, Susan apologizes to Zooey for being patronizing and dismissive, she promises it’s something she’ll work on.
SurrealEstate Season 1, Episode 3 recap: Luke’s mom
We get more detail into Luke’s attachment to the Donovan house in this week’s episode of SurrealEstate. While August and Phil had assumed he just kept returning there because he has the hots for Megan, which is likely partly true, it’s also because it’s the last place he saw his mom and she used to live next door.
Well, after wrapping up with Harper, Luke visits Megan again for a personal trip. This time he comes face to face with his spectral mother, and she’s horrible. She literally tells Luke that he’ll never have a family, claims she was so happy when she died because having him was a massive disappointment and tons of other horrible things that bring Luke to tears. Does anyone else want to physically fight Luke’s mom right about now?
New episodes of SurrealEstate air Friday nights on SYFY.