They’re called “stigmatized homes” — residences that have seen murders, suicides, meth labs, and even hauntings. Real estate experts estimate that a house history like that can reduce the property value by 25 percent, and extend the time it takes to sell it. If you’re looking to make a killing in real estate, you might want look into these six offerings.
California’s John Sowden House, above, is notable for its architectural design, created by the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, Lloyd Wright. The large, stunning mansion, built in 1926, has an ancient Mayan design and a pool. It also may be where one of the most famous unsolved murders took place — that of Elizabeth Short, known as “The Black Dahlia,” in 1947. Doctor George Hodel lived there at the time, and has been accused of the murder by his son Steve, who has written books alleging his father’s involvement. He believes his father murdered Elizabeth Short in the house, later leaving her body in a vacant lot. Steve Hodel suspects his father of other murders, as well. The dirt of the basement floor was examined by cadaver dogs who “alerted” to it, and chemical analysis tested positive for human remains. The house is currently on the market for $4,795,000, with an open house on Tuesday, June 21 at 11 a.m. That’s next week, buyers!
This month also saw the return of the notorious “Amityville Horror House” to the market.
The house was on the market back in 2010 for $1.5 million, selling later that year to Caroline and David D’Antonio for $950,000. The “stately center hall Colonial” located at 108 Ocean Avenue (MLS# 2857862), in Amityville, New York, is now being offered for only $850,000, following the death of David D’Antonio. The five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom house was built in 1927, and has it’s own boat slip. Of course, anyone who has seen the 1979 movie knows all about the toilets and boat slip already. (A different house, located in Tom’s River, New Jersey, was used in the filming of the movie. It was on the market in 2012, for $955,000.)
The house’s history turned dark in 1974 when Ronald DeFeo, Jr., killed both of his parents and his four siblings while they were sleeping in the house by shooting them with a rifle. The paranormal associations, which the movie is known for, are based on the experiences claimed by the Lutz family who bought the house after the DeFeo massacre, and fled it in fear less than a month later.
New York City’s Dakota building is known for horror that is both fact and fiction.
Not only was the building used as the residence in the 1968 film Rosemary’s Baby, but it’s also the former residence of horror great Boris Karloff. The horror took a turn for the too real in 1980 when resident John Lennon was murdered just outside the entrance by a crazed stalker fan. Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono still lives in the apartment, and has reportedly been haunted by her husband, who told her “Don’t be afraid, I am still with you.” There are various units for sale in the building at any given time.
Kreischer Mansion on Arthur Kill Road on New York’s Staten Island is a gothic Victorian manor built in 1899.
Balthasar Kreischer’s property originally comprised two mansions, one for each son, and a brickworks. After the brickworks burned, the family’s fortune fell, leading one of the sons to kill himself by shooting himself in the head in his mansion, the one that still stands. The other son’s mansion was destroyed during the depression. Much later, in 2005, Joseph Young, a hit man for the Bonanno crime family, who was the existing mansion’s caretaker, whacked someone on the property, a Robert McKelvey. Young strangled, stabbed, and then drowned McKelvey. The body was then dismembered with a hacksaw and disposed of in the mansion’s furnace. As of March of this year was on the market for $9.5 million.
A house at 14 Scott Road in Belmont, Massachusetts, is a crime scene where the body of Bessie Goldberg was found, raped and strangled. While another man, Roy Smith, was convicted of her murder based on circumstantial evidence and, some feel, race, there are those who are convinced it was the work of Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler. There is an open house on June 19 at 2:15 p.m. The house is on the market for $1,449,000.
Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood home in Akron, Ohio, has been on and off the market for years, and has been tough to sell. The house is where Dahmer, when he was only 18, killed his first victim, Steven Hicks. He disposed of the remains in the surrounding woods and under the porch. Dahmer was eventually convicted of murdering 17 young men. Apparently PETA was thinking of buying it and turning it into a vegan restaurant, but the residence isn’t zoned for that. It was last on the market in 2014, with an asking price of $295,000. The realtor at that time, Rich Lubinski of Stouffer Reality Inc., said, “This house never killed anyone.”
In March of this year, the house was available as a rental property during the Republican National Convention. It was put up for rent by current owner Chris Butler, of the band the Waitresses, for $8,000 for the week of the convention. He told Ohio.com that “he just wanted to see if he could suck some Republican gelt from those people.”
Let’s be real — there is a strong likelihood in any older house that someone has died there or something creepy has happened. The longer a piece of real estate exists, the more likely it is that something bad went down there. It’s unrealistic for lovers of older properties to think that their houses don’t hold bad memories. There’s an easy way to find out, though. A service called Died In House will do the research on any house you’re considering moving into, and let you know if anyone died there and how, if there have been any fires or meth activity on the property, and the “vitality status of previous residents.”
Main photo: John Snowden House, courtesy Wikimedia Commons