Murder houses are hot property

2009-10-03 00:00

HOUSES in which brutal murders are committed are now becoming hot property as home buyers put aside superstition and fear in their quest to find their cheap dream home.

In the past, houses where murders and suicides had taken place took months to sell, but estate agents now say these houses are sought after as buyers believe it will sell for less than market value.

One well-known property is the Westville house that belonged to Johan and Magdalena Lotter, the couple who were allegedly killed by their children, Nicolette and Hardus, and Nicolette’s boyfriend, Mathew Naidoo.

Another is the property that belonged to the Sham family of Morningside. Attorney Naren Sham, his wife Meera and their son, Kavir, were found bound and gagged with their throats slit after an armed robbery in their home. The house is going on the market soon.

The Lotter property was sold six months ago to a young pastor and his family for R650 000.

The buyer and his family were aware of the double murder that took place in the house and held a prayer service to cleanse the house. The family are said to be very comfortable in the house.

Brenda Liversage, general manager of Maxprop franchisees, said most buyers are not concerned if there has been a heinous crime committed on the property they are interested in.

She told Weekend Witness that she sold an Umbilo Road house that she had previously sold to a Durban doctor several years ago.

“He bought the house for his elderly parents. The couple were murdered by their domestic worker a month after they had moved in,” she said.

She said these murders are usually committed by people who are known to the victims, so it has a minimal impact on the subsequent sale of the property.

“People tend to see past the incident and are not superstitious at all. These houses sell quite well as people think they will get it at a low price because of the incident,” she said.

Liversage said that if a property is priced well, is close to schools and shopping centres and has easy access to main roads, it sells quickly.

“One would think that buyers would shy away from these murder houses, but it is quite the opposite. These sell like hotcakes,” she said.

Maxprop property agent Sean Baker, who is based in Kokstad, said a “murder house” in Kokstad caused a frenzy among buyers when it went on the market four years ago.

The three-bedroom house was owned by an elderly man, Mr Adam, who was brutally murdered in it.

“… We received hundreds of offers. It was quite amazing. Buyers also believe they can get a good deal on the house and do seem to look past the events,” he said.

The house was eventually sold to a young family for R650 000.

“The house fetched a fair price at the time … It’s weird, but these incidents actually create a lot of interest in the property,” he said.

A senior property consultant told Weekend Witness that she has encountered some buyers who were “horrified” and would not even view a property where a crime had been committed and others who are unconcerned.

“Obviously it would augur well, or better, if there were no apparent evidence of any description left, and if the property had been cleaned up adequately, and if it was a good buy under present market conditions,” she said.

Sally Scott, who lives next to the Sham property, said the house has been on the market several times, but has not attracted a buyer.

“I have seen different sale boards on the property, but no one has bought it yet. I wonder if it will ever be sold,” she said.

Scott said that the property is being maintained by a live-in gardener.

“The house has been painted and the gutters are being restored. I think it is going back on the property market again,” she added.

Scott said her bedroom overlooks a staircase of the Sham’s house where one of the suspects was shot dead by police.

“Sometimes I see a light shining over the spot where the man’s body lay. It’s spooky. It reminds me of that horrible night when the family was murdered,” she said.



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