"How do you calculate the effect that demons have on property value?"
October 13, 2013 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Does Satan worship lower a Las Vegas mansion's value? [latimes.com] How do you determine a price people might pay for such “stigmatized properties?” It’s simple, really. You call Randall Bell.
posted by Fizz (40 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Then there's what a reputation for being haunted does to real estate values in China and Japan. My best friend rented a house in a very expensive neighborhood near Kurume in Kyushu in which a murder had been done for literally 1/5 the going rate, because it was believed to have ghosts.
posted by jfwlucy at 9:24 AM on October 13, 2013


Eh, sometimes it's demons, sometimes it's the neighborhood kids. Demons are often quieter and don't demand cookies.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:02 AM on October 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


I have wondered about this kind of thing. There was that place near San Diego where Heaven's Gate had its mass suicide. Did it get torn down? Or is someone living there now? How much did they pay for it?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:11 AM on October 13, 2013


There was a murder house not too far from here where the real estate agent's solution was to have three exorcisms -- Christian, Wiccan, and Native American -- either to cover all her bases or (more likely) because that's who she could convince to come out and do it, when she also invited all the local media. More than a little bizarre, but it made for a highly entertaining and colorful local news story. And I'm sure she got a) lots of interest in the house and b) lots of interest in her as an agent just from being on the news.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:15 AM on October 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm a torso!
posted by Navelgazer at 10:21 AM on October 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


If deluded people worshipping a vengeful, mythological being from ancient texts lowers the property value of the home where it occurs, the home prices in my Western Kentucky hometown are gonna go through the floor.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:27 AM on October 13, 2013 [22 favorites]


This is like a Chuck Palahniuk story.
posted by cazoo at 10:33 AM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of my neighbors lost her mind and killed her two girls with a hatchet. She was found striking herself in the head with it. She said it was ghosts.

Nobody who knows what happened wants that house and that seems rational to me.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 10:35 AM on October 13, 2013


I don't think my partner would ever agree to live in a murder house, but I honestly couldn't care less. If superstition is going to make a good house cheap, I'd consider that good news.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:42 AM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is like a Chuck Palahniuk story.

I thought this WAS a subplot in Lullaby? Realtors who sepicalize in haunted houses?
posted by The Whelk at 11:06 AM on October 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


The practical reason to not want to move into the site where murders occurred is simply because it might not have been cleaned up thoroughly enough. This isn't so much "whoopsie, found a femur bone in the cabinet under the sink" -- it's a matter of blood and other liquids seeping into sheetrock and wood floors. Even if you're not the slightest bit squeamish, you ought to be concerned about whether that stuff attracts vermin, and what you'll have to do to deal with that.
posted by ardgedee at 11:30 AM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Especially if the vermin is demons.
posted by elizardbits at 11:40 AM on October 13, 2013 [26 favorites]


Ghosts, specters, or wraiths are more likely. Possibly even a free floating repeating phantom. Be sure to get the house checked out before you sign that lease.

*puts arms on hips* We are ready to believe you!
posted by The Whelk at 11:45 AM on October 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


Can you convince the local assessor of the reduced value and get your property taxes reduced?
posted by Area Man at 11:48 AM on October 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


kill -9 usually works for me.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:48 AM on October 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have wondered about this kind of thing. There was that place near San Diego where Heaven's Gate had its mass suicide. Did it get torn down? Or is someone living there now? How much did they pay for it?

It's mentioned in the article as one of the properties this guy worked on, but there's no specifics about the price it sold for. Since the cult was actually renting the place, it might not have been such a big deal, and that all happened before the housing bubble, so whatever negative impact it made was probably washed away during that time.
posted by LionIndex at 11:49 AM on October 13, 2013


I was pretty sure the Heaven's Gate house had been destroyed, and that is the case. Rancho Santa Fe is not the kind of place where an exorcism on the local TV news would be welcomed. There's plenty of people there who believe in hippie, alternative woo--but the woo lines stops at their property values.
posted by librarylis at 11:49 AM on October 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


The practical reason to not want to move into the site where murders occurred is simply because it might not have been cleaned up thoroughly enough. This isn't so much "whoopsie, found a femur bone in the cabinet under the sink" -- it's a matter of blood and other liquids seeping into sheetrock and wood floors. Even if you're not the slightest bit squeamish, you ought to be concerned about whether that stuff attracts vermin, and what you'll have to do to deal with that.

I'm thinking if you save, say, $100,000-$150,000 off the asking price of your home, you can afford some fairly thorough, specialized cleaning, even some new sheet rock and floor boards, if needed.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:05 PM on October 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sometimes an infamous house can fit right in with a public persona. Trent Reznor was said to have bought the house where Sharon Tate was murdered by the Manson family, turning the dining room into his bedroom.
posted by dr_dank at 12:07 PM on October 13, 2013


"Have I told you about my spooky bedroom?"

"Yes, Trent, it's all very classy and tasteful I'm sure."

"I lay my head near the very beating heart of the murder- you know they say a violent act can cause ripples in reality-"

"I live in a French village repeatedly sacked by vikings and anyone else with more axes than sense for the past thousand years. I'm sure more people have died in my attic than the entire L.A Metro area."
posted by The Whelk at 12:15 PM on October 13, 2013 [29 favorites]


One of my neighbors lost her mind and killed her two girls with a hatchet. She was found striking herself in the head with it. She said it was ghosts.

Nobody who knows what happened wants that house and that seems rational to me.


And that seems irrational to me.
posted by Pendragon at 12:18 PM on October 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


When I read the Amityville Horror when I was younger, it seemed quite clear to me that the real reason for the 'haunting' was that the man was underwater on his mortgage and found a novel way to try to get out from under it.
posted by winna at 12:22 PM on October 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm glad to see that this expert seems to concur with my belief that whoever bought Ariel Castro's house to tear it down was an idiot.
posted by localroger at 12:57 PM on October 13, 2013


The practical reason to not want to move into the site where murders occurred is simply because it might not have been cleaned up thoroughly enough.

Also if the murder was famous, the looky-loos could get annoying fast. ISTR this being a big problem for several owners of the Amityville house?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:23 PM on October 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


The tapestry of human stupidity is rich and varied.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:36 PM on October 13, 2013


I don't think my partner would ever agree to live in a murder house, but I honestly couldn't care less. If superstition is going to make a good house cheap, I'd consider that good news.

Sure, if you plan to keep the house forever. You might also have to sell it for less later, though. If the discount you get is smaller than the discount you have to give later, you come out worse off.

In the meantime you get more house for your money. "Want to come back to my place?" might not work as well at the end of the night, though.
posted by ctmf at 1:44 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


localroger: "whoever bought Ariel Castro's house to tear it down was an idiot."

I thought part of the concern there was that because of the national notoriety, it might become a tourist attraction.

Apparently it was torn down as part of Castro's plea deal that spared him the death penalty, not by any new buyers. Castro signed over the deed to a quasi-governmental agency for demolition. The victims and their families were invited to participate in the demolition, and some of them did, and said they felt it helped them cope.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:55 PM on October 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the three main things that stand out about buying a murder house are (a) the cleaning, (b) having to keep it forever because nobody will buy it, and (c) being a tourist spot for random looky-loos driving by going, "THERE'S THE MURDER HOUSE!" And if you get fed up with the last one, you won't be able to get rid of the house to get away from it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:59 PM on October 13, 2013


Given the proposed link between infrasound and ghosts, I probably would not want to live in a murder house. It could be something mundane (if unknown) in the house that causes normal people to wig out and start killing things.

And who needs that on a Sunday afternoon, ya know?
posted by Mooski at 2:54 PM on October 13, 2013


The Hanafi murder house on 16th Street in DC is still there, as far as I can tell.

My dad compulsively pointed it out every time we drove down 16th on our way to opera rehearsals. These days, I still hear his voice every time I pass the place, so it's haunted in at least one way.
posted by sonascope at 3:16 PM on October 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


The West House in Gloucester was demolished. I can't imagine anyone ever wanting to live there again. Not so much because of ghosts but because if the house had remained it would be a reminder of spectacularly horrible and twisted things, a gruesome memorial. I think there's an impulse to obliterate traces of particularly nasty murders; common-or-garden murders, if there can be said to be such a thing, don't elicit the same response.

There's been a few in Britain. It tends to be for murders the public have found particularly disgusting, scary and hateful.
posted by glasseyes at 3:25 PM on October 13, 2013


My husband and I decided to go to an open house for a property near Boston that had a historic plaque on it. The house had a name, as such properties usually do, so we searched for it. That was a mistake. (Warning: lurid 19th century reporting.)

When we showed up at the open house, curious and unsure what kind of people that made us, a woman ran out and said it had been unexpectedly cancelled. I prefer to think she was the ghost of Philomen R. Russell, warning us away. It was also wildly out of our price range, but all the best to whoever bought it who clearly does not use Google.
posted by nev at 3:41 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can you convince the local assessor of the reduced value and get your property taxes reduced?

I have argued for home owner's property value at the local assessors board before. If you can get it assessed by a private firm you may be able to persuade them. You can also argue based on fuzzy facts like murder or it is next to a frat house or the high traffic means children can't play in the yard.

But god help you add a bathroom.
posted by munchingzombie at 4:07 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's a matter of blood and other liquids seeping into sheetrock and wood floors. Even if you're not the slightest bit squeamish, you ought to be concerned about whether that stuff attracts vermin, and what you'll have to do to deal with that.

Seriously, my tenants have done worse than that in units just living there.

There was a murder up the street when I was a kid, which ended up in the rental house being demolished as blight, but other houses where people have been killed still stand.

If you can get it assessed by a private firm you may be able to persuade them.

It is my understanding that the vast majority of assessment challenges actually work, but you have to have the time to pursue it properly, i.e. showing the appeals body comparables and other tangible evidence, and for most people the value of the reduction just isn't worth it.

I think it makes more sense for a business, like the Palatine Brown's Chicken massacre. Restaurants have enough challenges beating the odds, why add "customers creeped out" to the equation?
posted by dhartung at 4:35 PM on October 13, 2013


Well, there's a reason property and land values in Sunnydale remained so affordable. (Especially now, although "land" is currently something of a misnomer.)
posted by ilana at 4:37 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The house where the Sylvia Likens Torture/Murder took place in my old neighborhood was an eyesore for years. The owners couldn't sell it, and couldn't rent it. It became an albatross, and was finally torn down. The site is a parking lot for a church now.
posted by pjern at 4:50 PM on October 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


In a somewhat similar vein, the house in which Hitler grew up, outside of Linz in Austria, is still standing and is a wholly unremarkable pale yellow building. I don't think it's an actual occupied house anymore, though - maybe an office of some kind? The mundanity of it is sort of weird but I guess that is the typical (and laudable) Austrian reaction to anything thus related.
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 PM on October 13, 2013


They're always called Randall, aren't they?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:57 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of my neighbors lost her mind and killed her two girls with a hatchet. She was found striking herself in the head with it. She said it was ghosts.

Nobody who knows what happened wants that house and that seems rational to me.

That one sounds like a four-exorcism house. Christian, Wiccan, Native American, and, I don't know, Jewish. Or maybe Scientologist. Definitely Scientologist, actually. I mean, their whole theology centers on performing exorcisms, so they'd be like the religious equivalent of a bulk tape eraser.
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:35 AM on October 14, 2013


The apartment house where Jeffrey Dahlmer had his victims (for dinner) had to be demolished.
posted by Goofyy at 8:47 AM on October 14, 2013


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