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Sale of 'Silence of Lambs' house in Fayette County goes torturously slowly

| Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, 11:00 p.m.
Tribune-Review
This home near Perryopolis which appeared in “The Silence of the Lambs” is up for sale. In the film, the three-story Victorian was the home of a serial killer nicknamed Buffalo Bill.

Calls poured in from the Huffington Post, National Public Radio and the Wall Street Journal when Scott and Barbara Lloyd's home hit the market last summer, but none of the calls resulted in a sale.

Their three-story Victorian in Fayette County was used as Buffalo Bill's torture lair in the 1991 thriller “The Silence of the Lambs.”

It was the second-most clicked home on realtor.com in 2015, so why won't it sell?

“The fact that a home gets a ton of publicity doesn't necessarily add up to a quick sale,” said Erik Gunther, a senior editor and unique home expert at realtor.com. “Just because I want to gawk at something doesn't mean I want to buy it.”

The Lloyds live in Layton, a remote village of fewer than 50 people about an hour south of Pittsburgh. If the home weren't in such an isolated location, it would have a better chance of selling, Gunther said.

“You hear the mantra: Location, location, location. ... Even though it's got notoriety, location still is a big deal,” he said.

Another deal-breaker is the limited indoor plumbing. The home has four bedrooms and a finished attic but only one bathroom.

“If I can buy a (three-bed, two-bath) up the road that's around the same price, why would I buy something that's a (four-bed, one-bath) just because it was ‘The Silence of the Lambs' house?'” Gunther said.

The Lloyds listed their home for $300,000 in August but dropped the price to $250,000 in December.

When the home went up for sale, their Realtor, Dianne Wilk of RE/MAX Select Realty, fielded calls from across the country. But most were from journalists, not interested homebuyers.

“We know there are people interested,” Wilk said, “but it comes down to who wants a home like that?”

The Lloyds' foyer and dining room appeared in the Academy Award-winning film, but the house doesn't have a dungeon in the basement, as in the movie. That was filmed on a sound stage.

The couple have owned the home since 1976. A movie producer knocked on their door in 1989 while scouting locations for the film.

Once they retired, the Lloyds decided to downsize. They are building a ranch-style home a few miles from Layton. They hope the price reduction will generate more leads.

“We got the message out to the curious, but not to the people who are interested in actually buying,” Scott Lloyd said. “We're finally starting to get a little bit of motion.”

Tony Raap is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7827 or traap@tribweb.com.

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