What Will Become of Montclair’s Russian Spy House?

Russian spy houseThis bucolic Montclair home was once the residence of Richard and Cynthia Murphy and their two children. But since it was discovered that the Murphys were actually a pair of Russian spies named Vladimir and Lydia Guryev and the two were swiftly apprehended by the U.S. Justice Department, the house has sat empty. And the neighbors are complaining.

According to a recent story in the New York Daily News, the house on Marquette Road has become an eyesore. In the nearly three years since the Guryevs were arrested, the house has been unoccupied, rundown and strewn with leaves.

“A downspout is gone from one side of the house, and a shaky woodpile rots on the other,” reported the newspaper. “Unraked leaves are piled against the padlocked garage door, and the welcome mat rests in a flower bed.”

The court documents telling potential visitors that they aren’t allowed inside, still remain taped to the front door in wide strips of blue adhesive.

But that could change soon. A spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service told the Daily News that they will soon be listing the 4-bedroom colonial for sale.

How would you market the home of former Russian spies? According to one Montclair realtor we spoke to, “I wouldn’t use it as a selling point.” She added that, if asked, a realtor would have to disclose what she knows. Regardless, she said, the home’s unusual past “won’t affect the value of the house, positively or negatively.”

Rusian spy house door

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  1. Of course, the basement ‘interrogation’ room could make a great home gym or ‘man cave’.

  2. Mellon, I’m sure there are additional selling points.

    I mean everyone has a wine cellar, but not everyone has a vodka cellar.
    The potato and beet garden is impressive.
    The lingering odor of Turkish cigarettes will conjure up visions of exotica.
    And imagine the excitement when thuggish, menacing “visitors” who didn’t get the memo show up at 2 AM for a “talk”.

    This one won’t be on the market for long!

  3. You’re right, Spiro!

    And when Pushkin comes to shove, buyers will Trotsky, not walk, to Putin an offer.

  4. Right you are, Nellie! I imagine that many buyers will be impressed by the Cone Of Silence in the kitchen.

  5. I disagree with the Realtor. I think it will be a selling point for certain buyers. It’s not as if someone was murdered in the house or it was haunted. I think it should be marketed this way. I would create a digital photo montage of the home, accompanied by The Doors, “I’m a spy, in the house of love…”

  6. “…And when Pushkin comes to shove, buyers will Trotsky, not walk, to Putin an offer…”

    This whole thread is becoming “biczar” … and besides I hear that some potential buyers are “stalin” once they discover the true asking prices…

  7. I hear that there is a lovely North Korean couple interested in the house. They’re just somewhat concerned about satellite reception, given all of the tall trees.

  8. But in all seriousness: Has the town collected any real estate taxes on this property in the three years since the Murphys decamped? Have the Feds paid their fair share?

  9. I agree completely with Mrs. Martta. It’s not like there was some awful thing that happened–It’s actually sort of funny, and I think you would get a LOT of traffic based on its famous story. I would definitely use it as a selling point. And if it has been neglected and needs some TLC, maybe there is a bargain to be had. Who owns the house now? The town? The bank? I would even make it a fun event–the day of the open house, offer a raffle basket containing a dvd of “Spies Like Us” and box set of a season or two of “The Man From UNCLE”, a bottle of vodka, a pair of sunglasses and a can of herring. The realtors could also wear Ray Bans and trench coats, all the while staging the house in a super clean and fresh, colonial, All-American style, complete with an apple pie on the counter and a signed photo of Mickey Mantle over the fireplace. Then I would invite every tv/news/radio/lifestyle producer living in Montclair (probably around two or three thousand) to come and do a humorous news segment on the open house. This could be a publicity goldmine for someone.

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