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Abc, Home Buyer in Winchester, MA

Are real estate agents obliged to disclose that a property has been the scene to a murder? What about whether?

Asked by Abc, Winchester, MA Wed Mar 19, 2008

the seller has a violent criminal record? If I were looking for a home and was new to the area, it would be something I would want to be told and I would expect the agent to tell me just as I would expect that they would tell me that the basement floods when it rains or that the house has lead paint.

Help the community by answering this question:


Amendment to Chapter 93A

On August 11, 1998, Chapter 294 of H 2099 was signed into law. This amendment states that "The fact or suspicion that real property may be or is psychologically impacted shall not be deemed to be a material fact required to be disclosed in a real estate transaction..."

Such facts would include:

-- That the property was the site of a murder or suicide;

-- That the property has been the site of a supernatural

phenomenon (such as ghosts).

Unfortunately realtors do not have to disclose deaths or supernatural incidents. That said, if you ask specifically and the agent has knowledge of something they must disclose it.

Without questioning, a listing broker is really only liable to disclose facts that have actually been made known to him or her. For instance, if the seller does not tell the listing agent certain facts that listing agent is not obligated to research and find out anything negative about the property.
Web Reference: http://www.territoryre.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 19, 2008
I think one of the few states that the disclosure is requires happens to be California.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 1, 2013
In Wisconsin realtors do not have to disclose that particular information.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 1, 2013
It depends on the State. In Florida, it is not a material fact and if we disclosed it without the Seller's approval, then the Seller can sue the Realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 1, 2013
We are not required to disclose murder or death in a home, this is you responsibility, It is simple to find out about a homes history if this is a major concern for you. Google the property address and see if any news articles come up about such matters!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 6, 2011
Not quite ABC. But it is a great question it was on my brokers exam years ago. It would be different if it was a realtor that was murdered he would not collect on the commission.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 6, 2011
You should check with an attorney about state laws regarding disclosure.
Web Reference: http://www.gitabantwal.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 16, 2010
Different states have different laws. Article 2 requires that Realtors reveal any pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction. A material fact is one that could influence the decision of the buyer to purchase or affect the amount that buyer might pay. Check your state's law. The Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual advises material facts should be disclosed. Keep in mind that a murder will not be a secret for long-the neighbors will probably share this information with the buyer once they move in, consider how your credibility will suffer if the buyer finds out after purchasing, and it does bother them, and when they realize you knew and did not share this with them. Again check the laws in your state, then check your conscience, and your moral compass.
Web Reference: http://www.clovelake.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 16, 2010
Depending on the area of the country you are in will say if a realtor is expected to say anything about the property. In MA, I have found that asking "were there any psychologically impacting events that have occurred or related to this property or previous owners.." or something along this line. This appears to be a catch-all phrase. I have found that if you ask the realtor was there a death in the house they may say no if no-one actually died in the house even if a tragic event occurred and the victim died while leaving the home. Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 31, 2008
Thanks, Everyone. Very interesting. Ghosts, huh?
Don't know anything about Tupac, but discovered that the main suspect in a grisly murder here has the house up for sale. Only happened to put the pieces together when reading a magazine article about the crime and thinking about properties on the market we have had our eye on. Certainly expalins the reasonable sticker price. No doubt that the agent knows the history, but an out-of-towner may not know to ask. For me, it would not be the stigma of the tragedy but the person I would be conducting business with. Is an agent obliged to answer direct questions about the felony criminal history of a seller? Thanks all - this has been enlightening.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2008
How do you know about the murder scene?
anyways, if you know anything about Tupaks murder, write a book.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 19, 2008
In California, a seller must disclose if a death occurred on the property within the past 3 years. The Seller does not have to disclose how the death occurred. This information is obtained from the Seller's agent who cannot know the accuarcy of the facts. Additionally, if the home is bank owned (a common situation) the owner (bank) does not have to disclose (they would have no idea, anyway).
Hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 19, 2008
No. "Stigma" items like you are talking about need not be disclosed unless you specifically ask the question. Murders suicides, ghosts and whatnot are not required disclosures.
Web Reference: http://www.provestre.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 19, 2008
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