Vultures make house a tough sell


HOPKINTON, R.I. (AP) – The house is for sale well below its assessed value, has four bedrooms and sits on more than a half acre of land.

It’s also got lots of vultures, and that’s made it a tough sell.

The trees around the Hopkinton house are a year-round nesting ground for turkey and black vultures. The previous owners blamed the birds for polluting their well, scaring their children and causing various illnesses.

But real estate agent Patrick Murray said he’s optimistic it could make a good home for the right buyer. It’s listed at $189,900, below the assessed value of $222,800, and Murray is pitching it as a place that could “make an excellent bird-watching bed-and-breakfast establishment.”

“What am I supposed to do?” Murray asked. “I’m trying to turn lemons into lemonade.”

For now, the house is empty after a March foreclosure.

Previous owners Daniel and Sue Cullen, who bought the house in 2002 for $152,000, told the Providence Journal that any buyers should beware. Daniel Cullen said the vultures stayed no matter what he tried, and the state Department of Environmental Management told him vultures are protected by the federal government from destruction or harassment.

The Cullens now live in a rented house in North Stonington, Conn. Their kids seem healthier, and they’re outside more so they’re losing weight, Daniel Cullen said. “We are doing wonderful,” he said.

Apart from the vultures, the house needs some work, including new windows, doors, siding and a new septic system, Murray said

In the three months on the market, there have been 18 showings and Murray said he’s had a couple offers, but nothing the bank would accept. “It’s just a matter of time,” he said. “The right guy will come along.”