What will a rotting corpse and Russell Crowe do for Echo Park home values?

1704 Morton Avenue. Photo from Redfin.com

Any home seller would probably want to play down the fact that a decomposing body was once found in the basement. But what if that body was discovered by actor Russell Crowe  during a scene in the filming  of L.A. Confidential?  A new real estate listing for an Echo Park cottage on Morton Avenue makes no mention that it was the setting for a scene in the 1997 movie that finds Crowe, playing officer Bud White, coming upon a rotting corpse in the crawl space under the 1906 bungalow.  The cottage served as the fictional home of Mrs. Lefferts, whose daughter was among the seven people who were shot to death in the Night Owl coffee shop.  Here is scene as described in an IMDB synopsis:

When White notices that Mrs. Lefferts has a towel placed at the bottom of a door leading to her back sunroom to block a strong unpleasant stench, he checks out the crawlspace under the house and finds a rotted corpse: it is Buzz Meeks. Bud deliberately leaves the body behind.

Will this bit of Hollywood film lore – in addition to three bedrooms and two baths – justify the cottage’s $320,000 asking price?


  1. Isn’t it also the oldest house in Echo Park? I seem to remember it being featured in Ron Emler’s book “The Ghosts of Echo Park.”

  2. Hope they did something about that smell.

  3. there is no way that house value has dropped over 50% since the last time it sold. home prices have dropped , but really? i looked at that house back in 2007 , it had just been remodeled , and it was beautiful!
    this is either a typo , or there’s going to be a bidding war. what happened ? and don’t say the housing market. this house was worth more than that when no one wanted to live in echo park 10 years ago. they should get $500,000 easy. unless the tenants trashed it, basically put in a new fence and you’re done.

  4. 320 is a good price for that. if the market swings up it will easily catch up. fill in the yard a bit to give it more charm and you’re golden.

  5. it’s a short sale, the current owner must be going into foreclosure. it’ll most likely go for higher than the asking price.

  6. Short sale prices -unless they’ve already been pre-negotiated with the bank- are estimates that the listing agent attaches to the house. Lower price brings more buyers and higher offers.

    @Steve – I bought in a nice area of Echo Park from a foreclosing homeowner and paid half the 2007 sale price. There are houses out here that sold for over a million, foreclosed, and re-sold in the past two years for $400-500,000. It just goes to show you how ridiculous the market was back then.

  7. Why are you surprised that prices have fallen by nearly 50%? That’s been a known for a couple years now. And prices are continuing down even now. And just wait until interest rates go back up and see what happened to housing prices — so you damn well better not overbid now.

    $450,000 is a good price for a house in EP now — that’s about the average for a house, if you look at actual sales prices. And this one is kind of dumpy looking, less than thee average EP house, if you ask me, so I would expect it to go for less.

    When you see headlines of a higher sales price, it is for an exceptional house, not the average house, or it is pointing out a stupid buyer. At any rate, it would not make the headlines if it were just average, what could be expected of most houses in EP.

  8. home prices for nice family friendly homes on the eastside have not suffered as much as other areas. down 20 -30 % , yes. i’ve been in this house , the current owner could mow the grass and replace the fence. but like i said before, it was re done in 2007 while staying historically correct to the house. which still goes for a premium in many ares. the average sale price in echo park is around $130,000 more than this and, this house is not average for the area. this is a three bedroom up from chango and cookbook and just down from elysian park , not on glendale ave. i drive by this house every day. it is far from a dump. in fact, it’s one of my favorite’s on the street. i would expect $320,ooo for a home between sunset and the 101, near alvarado with bars on the window and an Ikea renovation. that’s why i was surprised. i wouldn’t blink if this went in the low $500’s. call me crazy.

  9. I was interested in this house but was wondering what the impact of Dodger Stadium is on this place in terms of noise, traffic (car and foot).

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