If you’ve ever wanted to own a piece of history — albeit a dark chapter — now’s your chance.
Built in 1922, this gated, single-story, Spanish-style home has impressive panoramic views in both the front and back yards, a swimming pool, and ties to some of the most notorious crimes of the 20th century — namely, it’s the house where Charles Manson’s followers murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca almost 50 years ago. Located at 3311 Waverly Drive in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, the home is currently on the market for $1,988,800.
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According to California law, owners are not required to divulge previous deaths on the property — or how they occurred — if they took place more than three years prior to the sale. But listing realtor Robert Giambalvo has been upfront about the history, warning other agents that it was formerly known as the La Bianca house, and to “do your research.”
“I wanted to disclose it is because there are definitely some people who are not going to want to live in the house,” Giambalvo tells Rolling Stone. “And from what I’ve seen, most people don’t even care.”
On the night of August 10th, 1969, the night after his followers had murdered actress Sharon Tate and four others in her Benedict Canyon home, Manson made his way to the LaBiancas’ house, tied up the couple, then left before three of his followers — Charles “Tex” Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — stabbed the couple to death. They also wrote “Rise,” “Death to Pigs” and “Healter Skelter” (a misspelled reference to the Beatles’ song) in the LaBiancas’ blood on the walls and refrigerator.
There are a few theories behind why Manson chose this particular house. Some reports indicate that it was selected at random for its location in an upper-middle class neighborhood, because Manson wanted to target the affluent white people he referred to as “pigs.” This was yet another reference to a Beatles’ song, “Piggies,” which contains lyrics noting that “what they need is a damn good whacking.”
But there may be reason to believe that Manson’s selection of this house on Waverly Drive may have been more deliberate. In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, Manson said that he used to attend parties at the house next door to the LaBiancas’, where a UCLA student named Harold True lived with a few roommates. According to a 1970 article in Rolling Stone, Manson and the Family began socializing at True’s house in August 1968 and continued to come by even after he moved out. According to this account, the night after the Tate murders, Manson and his followers drove around, circling the city looking for their next target, before eventually winding up at True’s house. They went inside, but the house was vacant, so they went next door to the LaBiancas’ residence, putting the house on Waverly Drive on the map.
Though it has changed hands several times over the past 50 years, the LaBiancas’ home has remained on the same hilltop undergoing only cosmetic changes since 1969 — unlike the Tate house, which was demolished in 1994 by property’s owner, Alvin Weintraub. He also changed the street address to discourage curious visitors. “There’s no house, no dirt, no blade of grass remotely connected to Sharon Tate,” he told Los Angeles Magazine in 1998.
The Waverly Drive house’s past wasn’t news to Giambalvo, who has known the owners since they purchased it in the late 1990s. And the fact that the house is for sale a few weeks before the 50th anniversary of the murders is simply a coincidence, he says — the owners have been talking about listing the house for about a year, as they’re getting ready to retire, and it took some time to get the house ready to show. “They’ve lived there for 20 years, they’ve never rented it out ,and they’ve just enjoyed it,” he says, adding that “there have been no [Manson-] related issues whatsoever.”
But you can’t just schedule a tour of the home with a few clicks on a website. In order to view it, a potential buyer needs to send Giambalvo their pre-approval paperwork and proof of funds. Since hitting the market about a week ago, he says there have been just under 20 showings and he’s rejected nearly 50 other people who have gotten asked to see the house.
This pre-approval screening strategy appears to have worked: Giambalvo says that not one of the people who have actually viewed the house — all of whom were born after 1969 — have asked any questions about the murders or LaBiancas. “I really think that — and I’m not trying to overplay this — the place is truly magical,” he says. “I think you just forget about it because you just feel so good when you’re there.”
For the right buyer, it won’t matter that the house was the location of some of the most notorious murders in American history. “This is one of those quintessential L.A. homes,” he says. “If you don’t buy this house, you can’t just say, ‘Oh, I’ll just wait until the next dual-panoramic view comes up on a ridge next to Katy Perry’s mansion.’”
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