It’s funny, the timing of events in life. This week on Facebook in a number of the appraiser groups I am part of, was a Rolling Stone article about and appraiser who only does appraisals on homes with gruesome murder sites starting with the OJ Simpson home in Brentwood and has included the Heavens Gate Mansion, site of the Manson Family Murders and JonBenet Ramsey.

Then today, Curbed LA posts that the Alhambra Estate where record mogul Phil Spector killed actress Lana Clarkson has recently been listed for $5.5 million by Ladd Jackson of Hilton & Hyland. The interesting thing about this estate is how completely out of character this home, known as  “Pyrenees Castle” is for its locale. It made me wonder what it might sell for?

The home sits on 2.5+- acres, is 8,686 sf and was built in 1925 by Sylvester Dupuy, a Frenchman who became wealthy in the early 1920’s, got into oil and real estate with his partner Walter P. Temple (of Temple City) and then built the home of his dreams on a hill after the castles of his childhood in France.

According to a KCET article in Oct 2013, after the Dupuy family, it was purchased by a jeweler R.W. Wilson in 1946 and then subdivided into eight apartments with Anna, the wife living there until she died in 1949. It was also owned in the 1980’s by a mysterious Hong Kong businessman who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars renovating it in the 1980’s but eventually lost it in 1994.

Spector is still in jail for the murder and his wife (whom he married AFTER the murder and during the trial) has lived there alone ever since. It is reportedly being sold as part of the divorce settlement. Spector bought the home in 1998 for $1,100,000. At the time, the median sales price per Realist Data for 1998 was $190,000 with a high sale of $440,000 and the largest home that sold (aside from the Castle) at 5319 sf (see chart).  It sold 579% higher than the median sales price and 250% of the highest other sale.

2018 data from MLS sales of Single Family homes shows a median sales price of $750,000 with a high of $1,612,500 and the largest GLA sale at 5027 sf which puts the subject’s list price at 733% higher than the 2018 median and 341% above the highest sale in 2018.

The Average lot size in the city based on the 2018 sales is 6,500 sf+- while the average living area of the 2018 sales is 1627 sf which makes the Castle property’s lot almost 17 times the size of the average lot and 5.3 times larger living area than the average

It should also be noted that the highest SFR sale EVER in the entire city according to MLS is $1,998,000 for 500 Almansor St in August of 2016 to a cash buyer and the 5 highest sales ever in the city ranging from $1,400,000 to to $1,998,000 were all to CASH buyers which means no loan and typically, no appraisal.

In fact, given that it is so unusual for the city with no other properties even close to it in size, lot size, etc. an appraisal would be highly problematic as an appraisal determines “market value” which is what the “market” meaning multiple buyers, would pay for it. However, it is likely that only a unique individual, such as Spector, or the mysterious Hong Kong businessman, or perhaps someone who is interested in the home’s history will buy it, and they will most likely pay cash for it.


If it sells for a similar difference to the market in 1998 at 579% of the median sales price, it would sell for approximately $4,342,500. If it sells for 250% of the highest sale in 2018, it would sell for $4,031,250. If it sells for 250% of the highest sale ever ($1,998,000) it would sell for $4,995,000.

Whoever buys it, as with any famous, or infamous property, it will be interesting to see what it finally sells for and what that buyer’s motivation is. It’s the type of sale that is fascinating to most anyone, not just an appraisal nerd like me, who wants to analyze the numbers. Read the linked articles, they are fascinating and have a few pictures of what it looks like now vs when it was first built.

Until Next Time!