Jen Hyduk, Home Owner in Oxnard, CA

Natural Death At Property

Asked by Jen Hyduk, Oxnard, CA Fri Aug 23, 2013

Question for ya'll. My father passed away in his home (peacefully) and I know we have to disclose this but my question is- Should we say this up front in the listing or on tours or wait until we're in escrow and it's revealed in the disclosures? We just fell out of escrow as the potential buyer wasn't comfortable with this. I'm not sure "leading" with a potential negative from the get go is the way to go or wait on pins and needles when we disclose in the paperwork? The house is beautiful, in great shape and in a great location otherwise. Thoughts?

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John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Fri Aug 23, 2013
This should be included in the disclosure forms that you provide to potential buyers before they make an offer.
1 vote
But we began the disclosure forms AFTER the offer. Not sure what you mean.
Flag Fri Aug 23, 2013
Cheryl Liche…, Agent, Valencia, CA
Wed Oct 2, 2013
Yes, you must disclose this information upfront in the mls. Last thing you want to do is to say it only in the disclosures and not say up front then the buyer walks away. You must state this up to 5 years of a death. In most cases, if people know this information up front that it was natural cause of death, you avoid the buyer from walking away from the transaction. Good luck to you.
0 votes
Tracey Hamps…, Agent, Valencia, CA
Fri Sep 13, 2013
Hi Jen,

Great question! I would recommend disclosing it right away. Why waste anyone's time by waiting. I would put it in the private agency section on the MLS. It would be a shame to open escrow and then have to cancel it over that.

Hope that helps!
0 votes
JR Thrasher, Agent, San Diego, CA
Sun Aug 25, 2013
In the showing instructions have everyone call your agent first before showing. Instruct your agent to explain the situation just like you did. Then make sure to put it in writing in the disclosures once you are in escrow.

Let the buyers/buyers agent make the decision if this is a concern for them or not and when the right time to talk about it is. Most people don't mind and you don't want to stifle your marketing so putting it right in the remarks might not be the est idea, but upfront and honest is always the best way to go. You just have to figure out the most effective way of communicating to potential buyers.

J.R. Thrasher
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sat Aug 24, 2013
Normally, a death on the property is revealed in the disclosure documents once an offer is accepted. It's not a problem for most buyers.
0 votes
Yeah we did that way and it backfired. So now were making sure people know up front before offers get started.
Flag Sat Aug 24, 2013
Jennifer Win…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sat Aug 24, 2013
I agree: add it to the confidential agent info section, and honor him with what you said here: "My father died peacefully in his home, surrounded by those who loved him most."

All my best to you and your family through this transition. When our family leaves us, it is painful, no matter how prepared we might think we are. It is also a time of abounding grace, as we all will step through the mortal doorway into the great beyond, so we must face the experience honorably with respect for the greatest mystery of life. I hope the transition is smooth, and that your family members support one another through the grief as well as the business details.

I know the nature of your inquiry was purely about real estate, but I had to say something. As an end-of-life care manager (one of my other professions) I care deeply about this subject.

Please let me know how I can further assist.

Jen Winter
0 votes
Thanks for all the help. We did add this to the private remarks. Thanks Everyone! Appreciate the feedback.
Flag Sat Aug 24, 2013
Thanks Jen - Aside from the hiccup with losing the offer, everything is great. Thanks for your response.
Flag Sat Aug 24, 2013
Walter 'Skip'…, Agent, Brea, CA
Fri Aug 23, 2013
Hi Jen,
I am sorry about your father. Put me in the 'disclose up front' group. I do like Sinead's thoughts of putting it in the agent's comment section instead of the public comment area.
Good luck,
0 votes
Ron Schwolsky, Agent, Covina, CA
Fri Aug 23, 2013
Greetings Jen,

My condolences as well. It is best to disclose up front so nobody wastes any time and energy. It was not a murder, but a natural death so the majority of potential buyers will not have a problem with it. For those who it may bother, weed them out before an offer comes in.

Best of luck! ... and once again, sorry for your loss.
0 votes
Janell Pollo…, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Fri Aug 23, 2013
There's always going to be potential buyers that are uncomfortable with this. However, it has been my experience that for the most part, buyers are ok with natural deaths. I've sold several homes that have had natural deaths occur in them. I'm representing a buyer now in an escrow where there were two natural deaths in the last several years in the home.

In my opinion, it's always best to be honest up front. I would suggest that your realtor indicate that there was a natural death on the property in the "private remarks" section of the MLS listing. This way the agent could share this information with their clients prior to even visiting the home. This would prevent potential buyers from feeling that they were "lead on" and preventive futile showings.

I hope that this helps!
0 votes
Alex Meguerd…, Agent, Valencia, CA
Fri Aug 23, 2013
Hello Jen,
First of all my condolences to you and your family. When it comes to these situations its always best to disclose as much as you can upfront, if your home is in good shape and in a good neighborhood you will find the right buyer. This will help you stay out of any litigation down the road and solidify your buyer when you do find one. When it comes to marketing and advertising the property, stick to the key points and positives in the home just like any other sale. Have your disclosures filled out to the fullest and best of your knowledge and your good! Best of Luck!

Best Regards,
Alex Meguerditchian
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0 votes
Jen - I know it's been a while and I just saw your post. Just to clarify, I'm sure what Alex meant was to disclose it in the MLS under Agent Confidential Remarks. Are you selling by owner and long distance??? I'm asking because if you have a Realtor who works locally in Valencia, they can fully explain the best method of disclosure to you. I'm a Realtor in Valencia and I work with Alex at Troop Real Estate. I hope you sold by now, but if not, and if you don't have an agent, Alex will be glad to help.
Flag Mon Nov 4, 2013
So do what we already did? Accept an offer, open escrow, start disclosure docs and that's when they find out ? Not mention it prior?
Flag Fri Aug 23, 2013
Sinead McAll…, Agent, Oceanside, CA
Fri Aug 23, 2013
Hi Jen,
I would maybe not put it into the advertising remarks, but ask your Realtor to put it in the confidential remarks. That way the agent can talk to their buyer about it before they write an offer.

That's just my opinion :)

Good Luck!
​Sinead McAllister-Clifford
Real Estate Broker/ Realtor®
Trulia®'s #1 Recommended Broker in Oceanside, Cardiff, Bonsall & Vista!
McAllister Homes Real Estate
Residential Sales & Property Management
License 01366009
858-205-5215 CELL EMAIL
0 votes
Exactly! Otherwise you can be wasting your time like with your first buyer!
Flag Fri Aug 23, 2013
Thank you. So you think it's not a risk of losing potential buyers? More like - The ones that DO come already know and are a better possibility at the end of the day?
Flag Fri Aug 23, 2013
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