When you are buying a home, surprises are usually not fun. There are many things that should be researched when buying a house. Most people will hire a professional home inspector because they want to learn about the structural and mechanical components are sound.
If the defects are serious enough, they will be able to walk away with their earnest money.
Investigating the surroundings is also a common theme among savvy home buyers. Knowing the neighborhood is a safe and convenient place is usually paramount.
What some buyers never think about is the death history of the property. Maybe it isn’t important if someone has died of natural causes but what if a crime such as murder took place, or a death by suicide?
Would this be important for you to know? Might it influence your purchase decision? Food for thought right?
Let’s look at how you can find out if someone died in the property you’re interested in buying.
Ask the real estate agent
The easiest way to find out if someone died in a home is to ask the real estate agent. If the agent doesn’t know, you can ask them to speak with the seller to get an answer. It’s possible they may not know either, but it is worth a shot.
In many states, real estate agents are not required to disclose death in a home. However, when a real estate agent is asked a direct question like this, they are required to be truthful.
If they know someone died, they can’t lie about it.
Speak to the neighbors
It’s an awkward way to meet the neighbors, but if you’re concerned about someone dying in the property, you can always ask them what they know.
If the homeowners have been in the area for a long time, they may be more willing to discuss the history of your home. There would be no logical reason to withhold this information.
Search the internet
When you want to research any subject matter what do people do? You guessed it, they turn to Google for help. You should do the same. Google the address of the property. If there was a newsworthy death in the home, Google is likely to display a news story about what took place.
The library can be a good source of info
When you find something worth following up on from an internet search head to the library.
If you want to find out about a person’s death, census records may not be the best source of information. Local libraries and historical societies may have more useful information.
Historical societies and libraries often have archives of local newspapers, which can be used to research news or events that have happened in the past.
There are many ways to find information. Librarians and historical society members are two excellent resources. Many libraries have digitized their news archives, but there is a chance you will have to search by hand or microfilm.
Believe it or not there is a website that is dedicated to showcasing deaths in a property. To find out whether someone died in a house, use DiedInHouse.com.
This site uses data from more than 130 million sources to determine whether or not someone died at an address you search.
While it may be helpful, DiedInHouse does not guarantee that its records are 100% accurate. It is also not free. Each search costs $11.99.
If finding out whether someone died in a house is important to you these are some of the best methods. Follow these steps and you are likely to get your answer. Proper research and due diligence is always key before buying a home.
Be sure to check out the detailed resource from Maximum Real Estate Exposure, which is one of the most detailed. If offers further ways of finding out the death history of a property.
Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell MetroWest Massachusetts real estate for the past 35 years. Bill is the owner and founder of Maximum Real Estate Exposure. For the past decade, he has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England.