House where tragedy occured

deee_gwFebruary 1, 2012

I don't want to give too many details about the tragedy because it was very unusual, happened very close to my house and it got national news coverage. Suffice it to say, the occupants of the house suffered a horrific death because of an accident and their bodies weren't discovered for a while. The house suffered no damage during the tragedy.

The house is currently on the market and is really spectacular. I was curious if the tragedy is something the sellers (in this case, the estate) have to disclose or does it depend on local law?

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melody-s

It probably varies by state. I was told by a realtor in California that there must be a disclosure if there was a death in the house within the past two years.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 12:13PM
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liriodendron

I sold my Mother's farm in VA (where she died very unexpectedly, but of natural causes) and asked this question and was told it was not a "discloseable item". I did tell my buyers, but mostly because I knew they would eventually hear about it and I wanted to frame it for them so they would know that it was not a great tragedy (except as a shocking loss for my family) and I'm sure that all things considered my Mother would have preferred for it to happen there (if it had to happen), rather than in any other circumstances as she loved her house and felt deeply safe and at home there.

I live in a very old house (175+ years) and I'm sure many people have died here in my rooms. Doesn't trouble me at all, but then we also have a private family cemetery here with dozens of graves (some from the 1700's - so sad to see a week when four small children died, one after the other probably from something like diptheria).

I'm not sure if I would feel the same about a house as notorious as one where some infamous murders took place, for instance. Even if I came to peace about it, I would worry about resale issues. (That's about the only resale issue that would bother me, aside from environmental crises.)

You could (depending on your beliefs) have the house "cleansed" of bad energy if it bothered you.

L.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 12:31PM
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sylviatexas1

In Texas, natural deaths & suicides don't have to be disclosed;
violent deaths have to be disclosed because the buyer might be at risk (ie: deceased was killed by a rival drug dealer, but his other rivals haven't been told that the new buyer/occupant is a whole 'nother person against whom they have no grudge).

I would advise any seller to disclose whatever he/she knows in advance, rather than have the potential buyer find out either before closing & refuse to close or find out after closing & call an attorney.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 2:32PM
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annkathryn

It absolutely must be disclosed in California and is a checkbox on the standard disclosure form.

I went to an open house 2 weeks ago. There had been a murder in the same block last year, not even the same house. It was disclosed in the disclosure package with a note that further information was available with the city police department.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 2:55PM
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brickeyee

"It absolutely must be disclosed in California and is a checkbox on the standard disclosure form."

I guess we figured out that people die all the time in Virginia.

I had a personal residence the PO died in from natural causes.
I purchased the place from the executor.

I hear being alive is one of the leading causes of death.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 4:13PM
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mpinto

In Massachusetts we don't disclose unless asked. Even then, we may not even know.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 6:57PM
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annkathryn

California Note how many homes are priced with at least two eights in the list price. A house just sold on my street listed at $888,888. This isn't an accident ;-)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 7:30PM
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jane__ny

In my old neighborhood, a murder, suicide occured in a home. Husband murdered his entire family. Horrible, as my children were in school with two of the children.

The house sat for years unsold but was finally bought by someone who had the house gutted completely down to the frame. I'm sure they bought it for next to nothing.

I'm not sure what the law is in NY (Westchester Cty), but it would have been impossible for buyers to not find out what happened in the house. The entire community (small) was in shock for many years.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 8:34PM
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polie

I read that in New York, it is not a legal requirement that a tragedy, for example, a murder-suicide, be reported to buyers. That said, I actually think it's wiser for the seller or the estate to let buyers know. Word gets around, and rather than scaring off potential buyers, it's best to be upfront and be able to diplomatically frame the issue.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 6:06AM
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