There are realtors that specialize in certain type of properties. These are houses with a history of murder and bloodshed, and they know that there's buyers out there, which notoriety is exactly what they're in the market for.
The open house showing at 2475 Glendower Place in Los Feliz, California, in 2016 was in a word, “wild.”
Built in 1925, the 5,050-square-foot Spanish revival four-bedroom home, with handsome tile and a third-story ballroom is no doubt an alluring property, but people turned up to see it for another reason entirely: It was home to Harold Perelson and his family in 1959 when he murdered his wife, attacked his 18-year-old daughter as she slept, and then committed suicide.
“It was huge. People were all over the place. You’d think they’d never been to a house before,” says Nancy Sanborn, a Berkshire Hathaway broker who has been specializing in probate sales of real estate for over 25 years.
Months after the murder-suicide the house was sold at probate auction to a family that would never live in it. It remained empty for over 50 years, much to the befuddlement of neighbors and superstitious Los Angelenos.
The home finally sold in July for $2.289 million to a buyer apparently not deterred by its gruesome past.
“It just had its own history and became a local haunted house,” Ms. Sanborn says. “We were also selling the house where Truman Capote died around that time and nobody cared [about the house’s history]”
High-profile murder can have a negative impact on a home value, as the properties can be stigmatized.
Randall Bell, director of Laguna Beach-based Landmark Research, which specializes in appraising such properties, became a pioneer in the field when he wrote a book called “Real Estate Damages.”
He has helped sell a number of notorious homes, including the hilltop mansion at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles rented by Roman Polanski, where Sharon Tate was slain by the Manson Family in 1969. The owner moved in shortly after the investigation wrapped, lived there for 20 years, and sold it for $1.6 million in 1989.The property was razed in 1994, rebuilt and given a new address, 10066 Cielo Drive, which Hollywood producer Jeff Franklin now calls home.
When Nicole Brown Simpson’s father wanted to sell the condo where his daughter was murdered in Brentwood, California, Mr. Bell advised him to get the property occupied by a renter immediately. It sold two years later for $525,000, a full $100,000 below the price she paid for it in 1994. It sold again in 2006 for $1.72 million.
How murders affect the bottom line
Mr. Bell estimates that on average, murders shave between 15% and 25% of the sale price off of a house. According to a 2016 Realtor.com study in 2016, homes stigmatized by murders sell for an average of 9% below list price, 21% below the last sale price, and spend roughly 50% more time on the market.
But buyers hoping to get a good deal on a house they may not otherwise have been able to afford might choose to look for stigmatized properties. At Ms. Sanborn’s probate sales, this is often the case, even for superstitious buyers. “They’ll get over their superstition if the price is right,” she says.
However, Mr. Bell says, sometimes, the notoriety of the property adds a price premium, as in the case of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood home near Akron, Ohio, where he buried the body of his first victim in 1978. It sold to a musician in 2005 for $295,000 who wanted it because of its storied past. However, it was a different story during the Republican National Convention in July. The building’s owner put the house on the rental market for $8,000 a week, and then increased the price to $10,000 a week after omitting the gruesome detail about Dahmer. (It couldn’t be determined if he had any takers.)
The key: To keep the property maintained
“The worst thing you can do is leave a property unoccupied,” says Mr. Bell, “Satan worshipers target and break into these properties to perform rituals.”
For example, while the sprawling home in Rancho Santa Fe where the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide in 1997 lay fallow looking for a buyer, the break-ins became so frequent Mr. Bell had to hire 24/7 security. Though the stigma may last, state laws in California require brokers to disclose murders to potential buyers for just up to three years.t. New York, too, has a similar law, but other states have varying and less strict legal requirements.
But attorney Stella Ling, who works with Berkshire Hathaway, counseled Ms. Sanborn to disclose the story of the infamous Los Feliz property 50 years prior, even though they were not required to do so by law. “You don’t want a neighbor to walk up a couple weeks later to tell the new homeowner something shocking,” Ms. Sanborn says.
Aimed at increasing transparency about stigmatized homes, the online mapping tool Housecreep crowd sources data on houses where murders have taken place. They also include addresses that have served as clandestine drug laboratories, or suspected haunted houses so that buyers, sellers, and brokers are less likely to be bamboozled about a home’s dark past.
“The concept of a stigma varies from person to person,” says Robert Armieri, who together with his brother Albert co-founded the website in 2013. The site has over 25,000 listings and aims to expand internationally. “We help prospective buyers and sellers stay informed about what is potentially the most important decision of their lives.”
Another competing web service called DiedInHouse.com is the brainchild of Roy Condrey, a software developer based in South Carolina. “People think it doesn’t matter, they can change the address and [don’t] disclose,” he says, pointing out that they have 70,000 reports to potential home buyers interested in a property’s history over the three years they have been in business. He emphasizes that though it’s not the purpose of the website, some people may see the database as a convenient listings service to get a bargain.
In 2016, the "Amityville Horror house" at went on the market for $805,000. Located at 108 Ocean Ave. in Long Island, New York, this where Ronald DeFeo, 23, killed his parents and four siblings in 1974. The five-bedroom, 3,600 square-foot Colonial home was famously bought by a family who fled the house and claimed it was haunted. It sold in March 2017 for $605,000.
Jerry O’Neill, the Coldwell Banker broker who was handling the listing said four different local families have lived there since the murders.
“Locals call it the Amityville Hoax,” he said, noting he has spent ample time in the home as a teenager when he was good friends with the owner’s children, and again later as an adult. “The discount on the home’s price is not due to suspicion it may be haunted, but rather the nuisance of horror-tourists coming to take photos in front of the house. If you don’t mind, it’s a good deal for a beautiful property on the Amityville River with a boathouse.”
As for the red room in the basement with the alleged portal to hell? Mr. O’Neill says he’s never seen it.
source - mansion global
Do you have a story to tell?
We want you to feel at home when you post a comment on Stranger Than Fiction Stories. That’s why we reserve the right to delete comments and ban users as needed to keep the comment threads here civil and substantive. So read the guidelines below to make sure you are coloring inside the lines.