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Ryan Champeau, Real Estate Pro in Green Bay, WI

The suicide house

Asked by Ryan Champeau, Green Bay, WI Fri Jul 16, 2010

Earlier this week a HUD home came up on the market. 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms on 3/4 acre with a creek running through the back yard. Best of all, it is priced $99,000 under fair market value! I immediately sent a spec sheet out to my buyers database. It didn't take long before I scheduled my first showing. After the showing I walked through and took a video of the home so I could show my investors who don't have time to look at houses all day. During my 7th showing of this home the buyer was very interested and it was just a matter of offering asking price or try to negotiate. As he was walking around the house for the fourth time, he asked me "did someone commit suicide in this house?" What would make him ask such a question? It turns out that his family remembered hearing someone commit ed suicide on this short quiet street about 9 months ago. I quickly Googled the address on my phone and saw no mention of any suicide. He went over to the neighbors to get the scoop and sure enough, th

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Ryan, I have to disagree with Jason. If someone commits suicide in home it has a dramatic impact on how potential buyers will view the home. It now has a stigma. If you don't think it has any impact watch what happens when people start to find out. Buyers will RUN away as fast as they can. It definitely will affect the value and if you don't disclose it to your buyer client you could open yourself up to liability in the future. People do die in houses all the time, but not by their own hand.

Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 16, 2010
This is . . . three years old.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 26, 2013
Go to http://www.diedinhouse.com.

If scans a database of over 118 million records for a reported death in the home.

Not all deaths are reported in a home, so it also provides you with a list of residents that have lived at that address. It then goes to tell you if the people on the list are alive or deceased. If deceased it tells you when and any additional details the system can find.

Then in 30 days it runs the scan for you again, because the data continually grows each day.

It is much like Carfax, run a report before you buy or rent.

There is a lot of information on the site http://www.diedinhouse.com and on the Facebook page.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 26, 2013
Ryan,
If your question is whether or not the Seller and listing agent must disclose that a suicide took place in the property, that's going to depend on the law in your state. Here, in Florida, the Seller and agent are not legally required to disclose that the property was the site of a homicide, suicide, or other death. Such an incident is not legally regarded as a material fact.

However, you bring up an interesting point, and I believe James touched upon it too. These "stigmatized" properties present moral and ethical issues, as well as legal ones. Suppose you're the agent for the Seller in a state where a suicide is not a legal material fact. While the law is clear on what you should do (not disclose the suicide), life just isn't that simple.

It's likely that Buyers will want to know this infomation, and you may therefore find yourself in a moral and ethical quandry. After all, if you were buying the house, wouldn't you want to know? Of course, if you disclosed the suicide to the Buyer or the Buyer's agent, then you could be setting yourself up to be sued by your Seller. There are some listings that are just not worth taking.

Warm regards,
Maggie Hawk, REALTOR
(386) 314-1149
Watson Realty Corp.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 16, 2010
"if the house is 99K under value someone will see past the unfortunate event."

Agreed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 16, 2010
Ryan - This is why I like this site. Different opinions and we can agree to disagree. Not sure of disclosure laws in WI but suicide isn't something that would have to be disclosed to a buyer. Could all be hearsay as well. As a matter of fact here in Florida a murder inside of a home does not have to be disclosed as according to Florida law it does not materially effect the value of the dwelling. The magic word here is MATERIAL.

As James stated there will be some folks that might turn away from a home that had a suicide but not everyone will go running for the door and that's where James and I disagree. I know someone personally that lives in a house where the previous owner committed suicide and it didn't bother him at all. If the house is 99K under value someone will see past the unfortunate event. I guess this is a better way of saying it. All over the world there are millions of people who live in a property where someone has commiited suicide, been murdered, etc...it's just a fact of life
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 16, 2010
What's the question. Youe commentary was cut off short. If someone committs suicide in a house it does NOTHING to the material value of the house. People die in houses all the time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 16, 2010
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