Dracula’s Open House
DRACULA’S OPEN HOUSE
Dracula’s Open House. Halloween is upon us and soon throngs of ghosts, goblins, and assorted monsters will be prowling the area neighborhoods Trick or Treating. One of the popular costumes is Count Dracula. He’s always been one of my favorites. As I was surfing around the internet the other day I discovered that Dracula’s castle in Transylvania is actually for sale! I immediately thought that this, for a real estate agent, has got to be an amazing opportunity yet also a challenge to market and sell a truly unique property.
But think about how you have to spin this property to make it appealing to the broader buying public, the disclosures that have to be made, or the title work that would have to be done considering this was built in the 14th century. Even the age of the property seems to be up for debate. I saw one article where is said it was built much earlier as a wood structure in 1214 which was burned down in 1242 by the invading Monguls. I never liked the Monguls very much as they always seemed to have a negative impact on the real estate market. So, do you have to disclose that there was a fire that long ago? And, how old is the heating system? Can you get title insurance on a property once owned by a vampire?
Well, it appears that the current owners known simply as the Hapsburgs, who are direct descendants of Queen Victoria, have the situation under control (I think.) They have retained the New York law firm of Herzfeld and Rubin to represent them in the sale of Bran Castle. Having a law firm involved in this deal right from the get-go seems very prudent to me. You know, if the bombardment proof exterior walls don’t stand up to the next battle, who is liable?
But the choice of a law firm to sell the property does leave them a little short on the marketing side.I couldn’t find any real hard data on-line for the property. No square footage, heating costs, septic size, tax information, or even the number of cells in the dungeon. I did find that the joint has 56 rooms and that there aren’t enough bathrooms to go around. Apparently when the communists took control of the country in the late thirties they ripped out all but a few of the bathrooms. Why? I guess that’s what Communists do. The castle sits high on a hill on a 22 acre lot that provides amazing unobstructed views in every direction so you can see invading armies as they approach.
Dracula’s Open House
Vlad the Impaler
While this castle is being marketed as Dracula’s Castle, the lawyers are smart enough and quick to disclose that Dracula never actually lived here. Dracula never actually lived anywhere else either, other than in Bram Stoker’s mind and on the pages of his 1897 novel “Dracula.” And although Bram “The Man” Stoker never visited here, it does appear that he based the description of the castle on pictures he had seen of it. It is too bad he couldn’t have written the MLS description, but it is pretty unlikely that he could have kept it under the maximum required thousand characters anyway.
However, another character that contributed greatly to the legend of Dracula was in the vicinity of the castle between 1456 and 1462. His name was Vlad Dracul, a.k.a. Vlad Tepes, or “Vlad the Impaler.” Contrary to the legend, he didn’t actually drink blood but he was usually covered in it from all of the pillaging, torturing, and impaling that was required of his job. Most accounts say he didn’t actually live in the castle, but that he was imprisoned there for several months, and it wasn’t for egging the local police station or putting toilet paper over the roof of ye local pub.
The law firm has taken the crafty approach that the property is for sale, but not really on the market, with no set price, but they are accepting offers. They are looking at reasonable offers over $80 million. And, they aren’t doing open houses, either. They say they don’t work and there really is no need for open houses. You see, the Castle is actually a museum and is open daily to the public with over 560,000 visitors per year. That is actually a pretty good income stream and another great selling feature. But you know what? Even with all those visitors, they haven’t got any one to bite yet…