If you're finding it hard to sell your property, then imagine trying to sell a home stigmatized by shocking crimes and catastrophes.
Take Bundy Drive in Brentwood, California where Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were stabbed to death, allegedly by her husband O.J. Simpson.
Denise Brown said her sister Nicole loved her home. "It was perfect for her. It wasn't too much garden work. It was light, it was bright, it was airy," said Brown.
After Nicole was murdered, the Browns found themselves in the midst of a practical predicament -- what to do with her property.
Brown said the house looked empty even though nothing from it was gone. "I mean, it wasn't, it wasn't as if the furniture or anything was gone. But it was just an empty, lonely feeling. You know, something was missing and it was my sister," she said.
|'A Bouquet of Flowers Lain as a Tribute Outside 875 South Bundy Drive on Monday June 13 1994'|
Many people are ambivalent about selling a house where something terrible has happened, because it is difficult to let their loved one's memories go. But the reality is, there are bills to pay.
Under those circumstances, there's only one person to call, Randall Bell, also known as the master of disaster. He's not a realtor; he's an appraiser and economist, and is considered the country's foremost expert on damaged real estate.
Bell got a call from Nicole's father, Lou Brown.
"Lou asked me to appraise the property and also give him some advice on how to handle the situation," Bell said. "The family, of course, was dealing with a horrible emotional problem and still is. But on the other hand, they had this condo and they had practical issues and they needed to sell it."
The Brown family put the condo up for sale shortly after the murders. But it was too early, and the stigma too deep. It sat on the market for two-and-a-half years and finally sold for $200,000 less than Nicole had paid for it.
"Crime scene stigma has two effects on property values," Bell said. "One is the most obvious, and that's the discounting effect. And the second is that it takes longer to sell these properties."
And in another twist for the Brown family, the condo on Bundy, which sold for just $590,000, is back on the market, with an asking price of $1.8 million.
"I guess real-estate-wise, I mean thinking now, oh my gosh the property's worth so much we probably should have hung on to it," said Denise Brown.