Thursday, December 19, 2013

Death Disclosure

So, sometimes I do dumb things. Sometimes I forget that I should sleep. Netflix can certainly be the enemy of sleep. I don't watch a lot of TV. I only "keep up" with one show, The Walking Dead. Well, Netflix has entire seasons at a time of shows. This is really bad for me as I have no self control if a show is good. I once watched all of Firefly, including the movie, Serenity, in two nights. Bad part is, I didn't start until around 10PM each night. Last night was one of those nights. 

I started watching American Horror Story. I got through the 7th episode. What a creepy, somewhat scary, fun show! Cool part is that (at least for now) it relates back to real estate! The family (whose last name happens to be Harmon) buys a house in California and the agent discloses a murder/suicide that occurred in the home. She conveniently leaves out the other countless deaths that have taken place in the home. In the show the buyers threaten to sue her and want her to re-list. In reality, it may be more complicated than that.

The house in American Horror Story

In the state of TN, sellers are NOT obligated to disclose deaths. In the state of California, deaths have to be disclosed if they occurred within the past 3 years, UNLESS that death was due to AIDS (because it is considered a disability). That said, neighbors talk (as they did in this show) and "infamous" deaths can certainly be an adverse fact affecting value. So, just because you don't have to disclose, buyers certainly would want you to. It can be a touchy subject for a real estate agent, especially the sellers' agent who wouldn't want to disclose anything they are not obligated to disclose if it runs the risk of killing the deal. 

My advice to home buyers, type the address into Google. Most articles site addresses. Also, if you are concerned about it, ask the neighbors. They always know. Plus, if it is a much older home (older than the 1950s), there is a decent chance that someone did die in the home. If it is a really old home (1800s), you can almost count on it. People died at home, not in a hospital. 

What do you think? If you bought a "haunted house" or one with many deaths in it, would you be creeped out? What about a suicide or murder? If you knew that before you bought, would you still buy? What if it was an "infamous" death, a "high profile" case?

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