Joel Rifkin Serial Killer Home Finally Sells
Identified only as a school teacher named Tracy and her fiance Jim, the buyers hope to finish raising their four children in this 1951-built home, they told Newsday.
"A house is a house. People die all the time in houses," said Tracy. "We're bringing all positive vibes ... no more bad."
Not everyone is so eager to live in the home of a serial killer, as AOL Real Estate previously reported about Rita and Anthony Bucklew in "Buyers Want Out of Serial Killer's Former Home."
If you side more with the Bucklews than with the buyers of Rifkin's house, you might want to check out "Is Listed Home a Crime Scene? How to Know Before You Buy," as there are ways potential buyers can discover the history of a home, or the "Fate of a Murder House."
But with the Rifkin home, the modified four-bedroom, two-bath ranch took just under a year to housing market, and the home'sstigmatized past. Marketed as an "excellent handy man special," the 1,675-square-foot home was originally listed for $424,500 in May 2010. It was last listed for $334,998 and sold for $322,000 by listing agent Greg Berkowitz of Laffey Fine Homes Real Estate.
"It's a great house, and we got it for a great price," said Tracy.
There were one or two other potential buyers who reportedly in the past year made offers higher than $350,000, but backed out after they learned of the home's sordid history, reported AOL's East Meadow Patch.
The sale of the home, which has annual property taxes of $8,381, was prompted by the death of Rifkin's mother, Jeanne Rifkin, Newsday reports. His father, Ben Rifkin, died in 1987, four days after he was found unconscious in the kitchen after a failed suicide attempt. He had been suffering from prostate cancer.
Rifkin, now 52, makes his new home in Clinton Correctional Facility in Clinton County, N.Y. He was convicted in May 1994 of murdering nine women between 1989 to 1993, although he confessed to killing 17 women, mostly prostitutes (whose lives would've been just as valuable to their loved ones even if they had a different profession).
Rifkin was caught after authorities stopped his truck for a traffic violation in June 1993, and found a dead woman in the back. He was sentenced to 203 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors said at the time that Rifkin stored one of his victim's bodies in the home's one-car garage and that he murdered some of his victims in the basement. (See virtual tour of the Rifkin home from when it was listed.)
Rifkin's sister, Jan Tsistinas, still lives in East Meadow in a different home, reported Newsday. "Please don't," said the man who answered the phone there when a reporter from that paper called with questions about the sale.
AOL Real Estate left a message for Berkowitz, but did not hear back. However, other than verifying the sale price, the listing agent declined to give further details to a reporter at our sister site AOL News. "I've gone down this road already with [the media] and I'm not doing it anymore," he said.
Berkowitz directed further inquiries to Peter Hirschhorn, the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage employee who represented the buyer. Hirschhorn told AOL News he was "not allowed" to discuss the sale.
If Tracy and Jim ever decide that their new home needs a little cleansing, we know of a witch who makes house calls for just this sort of thing.
Sheree R. Curry, who has slept many times in at least one home where a death occurred, is a three-time award-winning journalist who has covered real estate for six years. During her 20-year career, her articles have appeared regularly in the Wall Street Journal, TV Week, and Fortune. She's been writing for AOL Real Estate since 2009 from a Minneapolis-area rental. She seeks a book publisher -- or at least a lender who'll give a reasonable mortgage rate to a self-employed mom.
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