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Category Archive: ‘Interesting Houses’

Death Discount


Thank you daytrip for sending in this story about sellers who didn’t disclose a death on the property – an excerpt:

Over the next 15 years, Bell traveled all over the world, dividing his time between massive disasters and lurid scenes of tabloid horror. He examined such famously stigmatized properties as JonBenét Ramsey’s house, the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, the nuclear-weapons test sites of the Bikini Atoll, businesses looted and burned in the Rodney King riots, the California estate where actress Sharon Tate was killed by followers of the Manson family, Chernobyl, the Rancho Santa Fe mansion where 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed suicide, the field in Pennsylvania where United flight 93 crashed, and the World Trade Center. For around $400 per hour, Bell would advise sellers on how to price their stigmatized property or make it more attractive to prospective buyers.

To determine an event’s effect on property value, Bell takes the price of a comparable, unstigmatized property and, using case studies drawn from his own research, calculates a percentage of depreciation. The exact percentage depends on the severity of the stigma, the elasticity of the local real estate market, and a host of other factors that can intensify or diminish the impact. Suicides, according to Bell, create less stigma than murders, but both create more than sexual assaults. Unsolved crimes create more stigma than those for which a suspect is apprehended. A murder that happens indoors creates more stigma than a murder that occurs outdoors. A murder involving a child is especially bad. Widely reported crimes create dramatically more stigma than those that are ignored. Peaceful deaths and nonviolent crimes carry little to no stigma. Murders in low-crime neighborhoods tend to attract more stigma than murders in high-crime areas.

On average, most stigmatized properties, Bell estimates, sell at a discount of between 15 percent and 25 percent and take significantly longer to find a buyer.

Bell says, though, that even the worst stigma eventually fades. A house is usually unsellable immediately after a crime. But within three to seven years, most properties recover nearly all their value. Forgotten violence loses its power to haunt.

“The financial penalty Mrs. Milliken has suffered was entirely avoidable had the sellers from whom she bought her home merely exercised a little more integrity and a little less greed.”

Read full story here:

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices | 3 comments

DIY Commune

small houses

Flower children rejoice! Coming soon to a desert near you:

Some friendships last forever. You hear of lifelong friends often living in the same towns just so they can socialize whenever they wish, be a part of each other’s family lives, and finally grow to be the grey-haired besties who rock on the porch and talk about the “good ol’ days”.

Four couples who had been best friends for 20 years decided they were going to trump living in the same town. No way were they going to let the business of life keep them from enjoying that special connection that they’d grown to love. So they decided to literally create their own “Bestie Row.” They all were fans of the tiny house movement, and decided to build their own little compound based around that idea.

Because when you can say, “We’re going to be grey-haired friends,” you know you’ve found a bond that can only strengthen.

Read more here:

plywood shack

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, The Future | 2 comments


housing of future

From Bloomberg (link HERE)

Luke Iseman has figured out how to afford the San Francisco Bay area. He lives in a shipping container.

The Wharton School graduate’s 160-square-foot box has a camp stove and a shower made of old boat hulls. It’s one of 11 miniature residences inside a warehouse he leases across the Bay Bridge from the city, where his tenants share communal toilets and a sense of adventure. Legal? No, but he’s eluded code enforcers who rousted what he calls cargotopia from two other sites. If all goes according to plan, he’ll get a startup out of his response to the most expensive U.S. housing market.

“It’s not making us much money yet, but it allows us to live in the Bay Area, which is a feat,” said Iseman, 31, who’s developing a container-house business. “We have an opportunity here to create a new model for urban development that’s more sustainable, more affordable and more enjoyable.”


Posted by on Aug 9, 2015 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, The Future | 3 comments

Backyard Bungalow

recycle home

A team at UCLA had designed an accessory dwelling unit for the backyard:

“Today, we don’t have enough affordable housing, and, given the hotter, drier climate, we’re losing environment to support all kinds of species. So there’s an environmental crisis that corresponds to a housing crisis,” Cuff said. “These imperatives are something we can begin to solve — and where better to do that than at UCLA where we have an incredible trove of expertise, creativity and unbelievable students. What’s completely unique about this house is that it will add to the environment — the biome —rather than detract from it.”

The watertight house, built of plastic sheeting shrink-wrapped over a framework of electrical conduit pipes, is so lightweight that the structure can sit on jacks around which a rock foundation, known as a gabion, would wrap. All of the building materials can be hand-carried on site and assembled by two people. The floor and end walls at the front and back of the house are built of wood, with openings for light and ventilation. On the outside of the house, large cardboard tubes, equipped with LED lights, line the plastic-sheet walls and roof to give the structure an ultra-modern look. Another layer of plastic sheeting will then go over the tubes to protect them from rain.

The final design shows a small wooden deck in front with a bench that slides in and out of the structure. And while the basic model being built at the Broad center won’t have all the amenities, the house is intended to have a compact kitchen, with a system for collecting gray water for the plants; a compostable toilet; and, instead of plastic sheeting used in the prototype, fabric in which solar cells are embedded to run the house on solar power.

“It’s reversible — you don’t have to destroy your backyard to build it — recyclable and environmentally efficient,” Cuff said. The project also was reviewed by a structural engineer, who volunteered his services. “Environmentally, it’s between 10 and 100 times more efficient to construct than a conventional house, mainly because it’s so light.”

Read full article HERE.

Posted by on Jul 16, 2015 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, The Future | 6 comments