Real estate appraiser Randall Bell specializes in "stigmatized properties," homes and other buildings where bad things have happened or are thought to have occurred. For example, his assignments have included Nicole Brown Simpson's Brentwood condominium, Heaven's Gate's Rancho Santa Fe home base (seen at right, before it was demolished), JonBenet Ramsey's Colorado house, a "haunted" Las Vegas mansion featured on the TV show Ghost Adventures, and many natural disaster sites. He literally (co-)wrote the book on the subject, Real Estate Damages: Applied Economics and Detrimental Conditions. The Los Angeles Times published a fascinating profile of Bell:
Among his tips for clients: Don't waste money tearing down a house; the stigma attaches itself to the land, not the building. For example, in 1984 a gunman murdered 21 people at a McDonald's in San Ysidro, a neighborhood in San Diego. The company bulldozed the fast-food restaurant, then donated the land to the city. San Diego tried to sell it but got little interest. Nearly four years after the tragedy, the city sold the land at a deep discount to a community college.
In death, celebrities and ordinary people are equal — their murders lower a property's value by the same percentage, Bell says.
RealEstateDamages.com (Bell, Anderson, & Sanders LLC)