What Happened to the Ariel Castro House?

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man charged with the kidnapping and rape of three women he held captive for a decade, committed suicide Tuesday night by hanging. Something else that was pending had been the possible sale of his house of horrors, which had been in legal purgatory as authorities considered making it available for purchase.

The house was ultimately razed starting August 7 after Castro tearfully signed the deed over to Cuyahoga County as part of his plea deal ($22,000 found in the washing machine helped to pay for the demolition).

But the question remains would you buy and live in a property that had been host to years of brutality and torture?

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office had started foreclosure proceedings against Castro on May 3—even before the victims escaped on May 6. Castro had bought the house at 2207 Seymour Avenue for $12,000 on April 29, 1992, and before its destruction was valued at $36,100.

But if you can tolerate the heebie-jeebies of stigmatized properties—homes with a troubled past involving a murder or other criminal act—you could have been in for a bargain, according to Randall Bell, CEO of Bell, Anderson & Sanders, a firm specializing in real estate damage economics: a typical stigmatized property, he says, will sell 15 to 20% below market value and stay on the market three months to a year longer than normal.

Also see: How Force-Placed Insurance Leads to Foreclosure

"Remarkably there are people who will live on tainted property," Bell said. "Usually the discount is an enticement for someone to buy it."

Though states may require that a real estate agent reveal whether a home has a history of termite infestation or flood damage, only about half require disclosure regarding a property's criminal past. Ohio does not require buyers to disclose whether a crime occurred on the property, but the high-profile Castro case will make it difficult to cover up the house's past from an unwitting buyer.

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