Come live next to nature!

The past year has been tough for the housing industry, as sales became a victim of overpricing and other problems. Still, realtor Patrick Murray of Hopkinton, R.I., is optimistic that "the right guy will come along" and snap up a dwelling that has been on the market there for months without an offer that the bank holding the deed would accept. This, despite the fact that the asking price, $189,900, would seem to be a bargain. The place has four bedrooms, a two-car garage, and its own well on a half-acre lot in a pleasant rural community not far from ocean beaches. It's "excellent" for bird-watching and would make a nifty bed-and-breakfast, Murray says. So what's the problem? OK, it needs some work; what older home doesn't? But the biggest drawback is ... vultures. L-o-t-s of them. They nest year-round in trees on the property and drove out the previous owners, Daniel and Sue Cullen, who complained of the mess they made and of intimidating their young children into staying indoors most of the time. Nothing they tried would scare the vultures away, Daniel Cullen told reporters. And that was before he learned that federal law protects them from harassment anyway. For peace of mind, the Cullens moved to nearby Stonington, Conn., and say they're happier now. As for Murray and his sales pitch, he admits: "I'm trying to turn lemons into lemonade."

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