On May 31, 2013 http://www.DiedinHouse.com launched to help answering the question, "Has someone died in your house?â€ Using a valid U.S. address, Died in House â„¢ instantly searches millions of records to determine if a death has occurred at that location.
In California, for example, the answer would be "yes"... in Illinois, however, unless the death were notable, well-known and publicized or particularly heinous (ala Jeffrey Dahmer), then the answer would be "no".
Don't hide this from your listing agent. Tell them about the death, and they will know your local state rules, and advise you appropriately.
The Broker must answer to the best of his or her knowledge any question posed by the porspective buyers.
Under Massachusetts law, psychological impact on real estate is not considered a material defect and therefore does not have to be disclosed to any potential buyer. Psychological impact includes a death occurring in the home from murder or suicide. The health of the current or previous owner or occupants does not have to be disclosed to any potential buyer unless there is a chance that occupying the residence could spread the disease to the new owners. Allegations of possible paranormal activity do not have to be disclosed to buyers.
Disclosure forms are voluntary between buyer and seller in Massachusetts. However, when a buyer asks a seller direct questions regarding the condition of a home, the seller is under a legal obligation to answer honestly. Should it be discovered later that a seller had knowledge of a material defect and did not disclose it after being asked, then it is grounds for possible litigation. Potential buyers are encouraged to have a home professionally inspected before agreeing to purchase.
Sellers are required under the Federal Residential Lead Based Paint Reduction Act of 1992 to disclose any possibility of lead based paint usage in the home. The act also makes it the responsibility of the seller to have any lead based paint removed. The act further stipulates that removal must be carried out by specialists trained in lead based paint removal. Sellers that fail to comply can be prosecuted.
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Although not legally required and not asked on the seller's disclosure...its a good idea to disclose anything that could potentially influence a buyer so that it doesn't destroy a deal in the future with a buyer.
Your question has been raised many times and a previous answer is correct...it has happened far more often than people realize (esp in some areas of new england).
A consult with an attorney who can go over the specifics is best though.