Hi someone died in my basement do I have to disclose that to the agent and the buyer???

Asked by Carolyn Irving, Quincy Center, MA Mon Mar 28, 2011

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Heath Coker, Agent, Falmouth, MA
Mon Mar 28, 2011
Legal advice is best. However, people die at home more often than you might think. How the person died is more important than that they died. If there is an ongoing investigation, authorities may need to access the property in the future to continue investigations or verify data research. If it was just time for the person to pass on, there is usually not a need to say anything unless maybe the person was found after a long decomposition and there had to be extensive clean up. Legal advice is best, but under normal circumstances, it is often not necessary.
2 votes
DiedinHouse, Both Buyer And Seller, Chapin, SC
Sun Jun 9, 2013
Whether your state has a disclosure law or not, sellers should always disclose any pertinent information that could have an impact on the value of the home, including a death that has occurred at the property.

On May 31, 2013 http://www.DiedinHouse.com launched to help answering the question, "Has someone died in your house?” Using a valid U.S. address, Died in House ™ instantly searches millions of records to determine if a death has occurred at that location.
1 vote
Jose E. Perez, Agent, BRAINTREE, MA
Fri Dec 7, 2012
If you know about it, disclosing it to the agent is a must.
Web Reference:  http://JEPREALTY.com
0 votes
mymoetayla, Home Buyer, Quincy, MA
Thu Dec 6, 2012
I purchase a home that was builted on top of a grave yard they told me that in the State of Georgia after 100 years they build, I did not have a full disclosure on the property, is there anything that I can do to make the State of Georgia refund me my money or the attorney that sold me the house.
0 votes
Marion Thack…, Agent, Winter Park, FL
Tue Mar 29, 2011
It differs from state to state wheather you have to diclose a murder or suicide. In your case you just mention died, which is not very specific. I recommend you contact a local real estate agent and ask them how MA is regulated.
0 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Tue Mar 29, 2011
Since you're asking this question from Massachusetts, the laws in your state would apply. Each state treats stigmatized properties differently, and has different requirements.

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.
0 votes
Sharon Lucido, Agent, Sagamore Beach, MA
Tue Mar 29, 2011
In the Real Estate world, we call this "Stigmatized properties" and there is no duty for the broker to either investigate or affirmatively disclose murders, suicides, allegations of ghosts, or other potential stigmas.
The Broker must answer to the best of his or her knowledge any question posed by the porspective buyers.
Sharon Lucido
Cape Cod
0 votes
Christina Ha…, Other Pro, Morristown, TN
Mon Mar 28, 2011
Psychologically Impacted Property
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.

Voluntary Disclosure
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.

Mandatory Disclosure
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.
0 votes
Amy Paternite, Agent, Maplewood, NJ
Mon Mar 28, 2011
In New Jersey you do not have to disclose, however, if someone specifically asks, answer truthfully.

Amy Paternite
Coldwell Banker Maplewood
Web Reference:  http://www.amypaternite.com
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Mon Mar 28, 2011
Depends on the state statues. Refer your question(s) to your Realtor

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
0 votes
Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Mon Mar 28, 2011
You are not required to disclose upfront to anyone that someone has died in the home. However, if asked, you should disclose it.

Louis Wolfson

Representing Greater Boston's Finest Builders and Communities - Brookline, Dover, Needham, Newton, Wellesley and Weston.
Web Reference:  http://www.LouisWolfson.net
0 votes
Lew Corcoran, Agent, Easton, MA
Mon Mar 28, 2011
In Massachusetts, you are not required to disclose upfront to anyone that someone has died in the home. However, if asked, you should disclose it.
0 votes
Amy Mullen, Agent, Shrewsbury, MA
Mon Mar 28, 2011

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.

0 votes
Jose E. Perez, Agent, BRAINTREE, MA
Mon Mar 28, 2011
In most cases, if the potential buyer was to ask about death in the house then it should be disclose. If in doubt always ask an attorney..
0 votes
Scott A. Nel…, , 02155
Mon Mar 28, 2011
You should ask an attorney for legal advice. We're told when in doubt disclose, disclose, disclose.

Hope that helps,
Web Reference:  http://www.MedfordHouse.com
0 votes
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