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Gruesome bargains: Are they worth it?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis August 9, 2012 10:44 AM

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It's hard to find a bargain, especially in perpetually overpriced Greater Boston.

But how far would you go to snag a half decent house at a big price reduction? Would you still buy it if you knew it was the scene of a horrific murder, suicide or some other tragedy?

I could deal with the haunted house nonsense - sorry, but I am not a believer in the paranormal.

I guess I would have a harder time dealing with a house that had been the scene of a real tragedy as opposed to imagined ghostly visitations.

Not everyone is as squeamish, though, with real estate brokers in the business of selling stigmatized properties estimating as much as a 25 percent reduction, depending on the notoriety of the house, according to this AOL Real Estate article.

Warning, the AOL piece is not for those with weak stomachs - the "bargains" snapped up by steely-nerved buyers include the split level Jeffrey Dahmer killed one of his many victims. (It sold for a $100,000 discount - imagine that.) Other recycled properties include O.J. Simpson's former Los Angeles compound, the Houston home where crazed mother Andrea Yates committed her unspeakable deeds, and the Northern California mansion where 37 members of the Heaven's Gate cult did themselves in.

A bigger problem here in Massachusetts, given the current state of our real estate laws, is that you could very wind up buying a house with a troubled history and never know it.

There is no requirement for a real estate agent to disclose that the house you are looking was once the scene of some terrible carnage.

Here's what our very own Richard D. Vetstein had to say on the subject a couple years ago.

Before you buy, better google the address first.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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