Nothing about Seabrook’s Villa by the Sea speaks to its shadowed past.
Now a small gated community on Galveston Bay, the property on Todville Road was the spot where Bill List, a 57-year-old businessman with a record of sexually molesting teenage boys, built a 34,000-square-foot mansion. One night in October 1984, four young men who were staying at the house shot him to death with his own gun.
List’s property was later divided into 18 lots, where 13 houses stand. One of the houses, 514 Villa Drive, is listed for sale at $1.5 million or for lease at $5,900 a month. The two-story, four-bedroom residence was built in 2006.
A would-be tenant recently signed a lease but said he did so without knowing about the property’s past, according to KHOU-TV. Nir Golan told KHOU that he wouldn’t move into the house now if the owners paid him.
“A lot of people say there’s shadows of children,” Golan told KHOU. “People say that they wouldn’t come to my house as a guest.”
Although it’s unclear if the home at 514 Villa Drive occupies the exact spot where the slaying happened, Golan said it didn’t make any difference.
Every year when I teach this topic, I ask my students who would not buy a house due to rumors it was haunted. A handful of hands always go up. I have to try to suppress my incredulity. Though, in some cases a haunted house may actually make property value go up.