Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October is about more than just Halloween!

Everyone loves a good ghost story.  Especially this time of the year.  But if you're an investor wanting to increase your portfolio, you might want to take advantage of some great deals that come with "tainted" properties............or do you??

Do you think you can save a lot of money on the front end and make a lot on the back end?  Or do you think you'll forever be stuck with a property that you'll never sale?

Let's look at a couple of extremely tainted properties and see how they did.

First, there's the infamous JonBenet Ramsay house.  The Ramsay's bought the house in 1991 for $500,000. After JonBenet was murdered in 1996, they never spent another night in the house.  In 1998 the house was sold to an investment company for $650,000.  The company immediately put it on the market.  But after a year of no offers, they eventually rented it out for about 3 years and then put it back on the market when the tenant moved out - because he lost his job NOT because the house was haunted.

In 2004 it was sold to the daughter and son in law of the televangelist Robert Schuller.  The Schuller-Milner's bought the property for $1.05 Million but placed it back on the market in under 2 years.  Their initial list price was $2.68M, then $2.29M, then $2.3M and finally in 2014 it dropped to $1.98M.  I can no longer find the listing as of the date of this article, so it has either been sold or just taken off the market....that's 10 years on the market folks....that's a really long time to sit on a house.

But, did this house sit on the market because of it's past or maybe because of the price?  I don't know what the houses in that area are going for, but it appears to me that the price of this particular house jumped by leaps and bounds during all of this.  It must truly be in an incredible neighborhood to jump from $500,000 to $2.68M from 1991 to 2006 when the Milner's first listed the property at that price.  Also, it should be noted that in 2006 until very recently our housing market was deep in the toilet and has only recently appeared to be bouncing back.  So this is a wash in my opinion.  Could be the history of the house....could be it was overpriced in a very soft market.  Could be a combination of the two.

The Amityville Horror house is one property that was tainted if ever a house was tainted.  The owners after the Lutz's did a lot of exterior renovations which dramatically altered the appearance of the house and even successfully lobbied the city to get the name of the street changed.  By all accounts, they lived there for many happy years and when they got ready to sell, it sold quickly and for a nice price.  I heard recently that it's back on the market and they are having a difficult time selling it but I also heard the owners are overpricing it a bit for the area.  Here are shots of what the house looked like before and after.  I think you'll agree it's hard to tell it's the same house.

The Blairsden Mansion in Peapack, New Jersey, was recently sold for $4.5M.  Not bad when you consider their asking price was only $4.9M.
The Blairsden Mansion is a stunning 62,000 square foot 38 room estate that was built between 1898 and 1903.  It was built by stock exchange tycoon Clinton Ledyard Blair.  After Mr. Blair's death in 1949, the mansion and its acreage was sold to the Sisters of St. John the Baptist to be used as a religious retreat and orphanage.  Some say the sales price was $60,000 but I'm skeptical of that price.  

Rumor has it, that the mother superior decided to switch sides and began to worship the devil and to demand that all her nuns follow.  Some say she went crazy while others believe she was possessed.  One cold winter's night, the mother superior quietly murdered all the children, the nuns and the few visitors in the mansion.  There were a few survivors who managed to escape the mansion in their sleeping clothes and ran through the snow covered woods to a neighboring house to summon for help.  When the police arrived at the mansion, Mother Superior was no where to be found.  Since that time, there have been numerous reports of ghostly occurrences both inside the mansion and on the grounds.

So what do you think?  Are tainted properties worth the stigma and hassle that comes along with owning them?  Are they gold mines waiting to be mined?  I'll leave it up to you to decide.

Happy Halloween!!

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