Or, worse yet, from the next door neighbor welcoming the new couple," It was such a shame when they found Mr. Smith in the basement last fall. He was such a quiet man."
While death is a natural end to the cycle of life, how does the news of a prior death within a now listed property affect the resale today? I pose this question because upon listing a home, my office has a question on our property disclosure that addresses this issue.
I have asked the question to many buyers if they would find a death on the property bothersome to the point of choosing not to pursue a purchase of that home. My informal findings were basically related to age of the buyer answering the question. Older buyers are less bothered, but only if the death was natural. Younger buyers range from, "Don't tell me, I don't want to know" to "No, I would not purchase a home where I know there was any type of death." Most buyers answered they would not consider a purchase where there had been a suicide or other violent death.
With the onset of more and more of our sick and elderly choosing to die at home in peace and with dignity, how has this trend affected real estate price and resale? Do other areas disclose death in the home, both natural and tragic?
Personally, I have experienced an at home death in my immediate family, and was grateful hospitalization was not involved. And, I have purchased a home where I was told that a natural death of the elderly owner occurred. On the other hand, a few years ago, I backed away from the purchase of a home where the seller informed me while standing in the basement that her son had committed suicide in the very spot where we stood.
With the multitude of foreclosed homes without owners to inquire of onsite deaths, are agents exposed to issues of buyer agency neglect? If buyers find the issue of death within a property uncomfortable, should they make this fact known to their agent? Most buyers truly haven't considered the possibilty, but their preference may make a difference if asked.