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Disclosing a Death in a House

So, you’re ready to sell your home and you’re obligated to disclose the physical defects of the house. But what rules apply to disclosing a death that occurred in the home?

Some buyers may prefer not to think about this subject while others may insist on knowing major life and end-of-life events. Read more to learn about what rules exist on disclosing a death.

Does your realtor have to disclose a death in your home?

If someone has passed away peacefully in a house, there’s no legal obligation in the state of Florida requiring that the seller disclose it. However, if you live in California, South Dakota, or Alaska, there are exceptions to the rule.

For example, in California, any death on a property needs to be disclosed if it occurred within the last three years. Check with your state’s housing authority to be sure of what the stipulations are.

What about a violent death?

Violent deaths are a different story. A murder or suicide is considered an event that could stigmatize the property. Like physical damage, this is seen as something that can affect the home’s value.

If it’s a public death, the property becomes marked as a place that people might not want to become associated with. So, sellers in most states are required to disclose murders and suicides that occur on the property.

What if the buyer asks if someone died in the home?

If the buyer asks whether a death has occurred in the home, you’re legally obligated to tell them. If you decide not to share, you could risk legal repercussions. This applies to all states. Another downside in not telling the truth is that you can risk the buyers pulling out of the agreement from mistrust.

Do your research

Find that dream home you’ve been searching for? Do your research. Google the address of the home you’re interested in. This might return news stories discussing a crime or murder in the home. You can also visit DiedInHouse.com, a site that researches through millions of records to determine if a death has occurred at the address you enter.

If the thought of a potential death in the house you’re interested in doesn’t sound appealing, check a crime map, or contact your local police department. Get the statistics on crimes in the neighborhoods and see if they will be a good fit for you.

Source

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