Why Didn't You Tell Me the Guy Died in This House?

By
Real Estate Agent with Cedaredge Land Company
http://actvra.in/4P2r

Why Didn't You Tell Me the Guy Died in This House?

That is the question I was asked by my buyer that now owns a house in which the previous owner had passed away. My response was this...Because I didn't know. I went on to further explain to Mr. Buyer that in Colorado, the seller doesn't have to disclose whether someone died in the house. Certainly if I had known, I would have told my buyer. In this case it was a natural death. 

why didn't you tell me the guy died in this houseIn Colorado agents are required to disclose material defects about the property. Unless something physically affects the property it doesn't have to be disclosed. A natural death isn't a material defect. Any psychological impacts are not considered material defects. 

I don't know if the seller's agent knew about the death, but I do know that agent wasn't breaking any rules if her sellers asked her not to disclose this bit of information. The Colorado listing agreement states the listing broker must not disclose facts or suspicions regarding circumstances that could psychologically impact or stigmatize the property. As a listing agent you can disclose this information only if the seller gives you permission to do so.

Certain events that happened can stigmatize a property. This can include a naturally occurring death, murder, suicide, crimes, cult activity, rumors of a haunted house and the presence of sex offenders in the neighborhood. In Colorado these events aren't considered a material defect, and the seller isn't required to disclose them. 

Now keep in mind the laws and rules vary from state to state. This is the law in Colorado. For more information on this topic consult an attorney that specializes in real estate related matters. 

I've lived on Colorado's Western Slope for over 26 years. I love this area and all it has to offer, and I enjoy sharing what I know about my home. As a REALTOR®, I also love to share my expertise in this area as well. If you need real estate information for Montrose County, or Delta County, Colorado...please give me a call.

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Rainer
145,081
Gloria Commiso
Keller Williams - Hermosa Beach, CA
Hermosa Beach

At some point many homes will have this experience. Sadly people seem to be displaced and alone. often times many days go by before a person is discovered dead. great post

Feb 26, 2016 04:28 AM #93
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Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

Hi, Robert May ...I agree with you. At some point in time someone has probably died at just about any given spot on earth. 

Feb 26, 2016 10:43 AM #94
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Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

Hi, Monte Wall ...I agree with you that a death has happened everywhere. I also don't have a problem with a natural death, but a violent one would make me concerned. 

Feb 26, 2016 10:45 AM #95
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Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

Roll grandma into the backyard...that's too funny, Lloyd Binen . 

Feb 26, 2016 10:47 AM #96
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Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

I agree with you, Joe Nernberg ...if I know it I would disclose it. Thanks for stopping by. 

Feb 26, 2016 10:47 AM #97
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Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

Hi, Wendy Smith ...tell me more. How did you finally get the murder suicide house sold? Did the kids finally have the house cleaned. That must have been very difficult for them. 

Feb 26, 2016 10:48 AM #98
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Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

Hi, Jerry Lucas ...that is a very interesting story. Tell us more about this building that was built on a burial ground. Thanks for stopping by. 

Feb 26, 2016 10:50 AM #99
Ambassador
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Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

Hi, J.R. Schloemer ...in CO we don't have to disclose a meth house if it's been rehabilitated according to state standards. Thanks for stopping by. 

Feb 26, 2016 10:52 AM #100
Rainer
252,583
Jerry Lucas
ABC Legal Docs LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Mobile Notary, CO Notary Training

Fountain, Colorado is on the confluence of Fountain Creek and Jimmy Camp Creek. Game was plentiful and the Ute Indians used that location as a winter camp. It is likely that tribal members who died during the winter were buried in the area near Fountain Creek.

In July 2015, an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that a well-preserved body of a young Native American girl was found when a drainage pipe was being installed in the Ventana subdivision on Old Pueblo Road.  Ventana is next to Fountain Creek and Jimmy Camp Creek.  The police contacted the State Archaeologist who investigated and then contacted the Ute Indian Tribe for retrieval and reburial of the body.  The remains are at least several hundred years old, maybe several thousand years old.

There is a 360,000 sq ft high tech manufacturing building, on 96 acres, bordering Fountain Creek, once occupied by Apple Computer, employing 1,000 people, vacant since 2007, that local residents have told me is on a burial ground. I haven't found confirmation of that information so far in my online research.

Ute Indians were also killed during battles with rival plains Indians and in battles with white pioneers and miners after gold was discovered in 1858.  It was still Kansas Territory at that time. As the population grew due to gold mining, Colorado Territory was formed in 1861, because the capitol of Kansas, Topeka, was 500 miles away.  In Colorado, Ute Indians now live on two reservations in southwest Colorado, near Durango.

Feb 26, 2016 01:12 PM #101
Rainmaker
1,198,377
Lise Howe
Long and Foster - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

In some instances here in the DC area, wre are prohibited from disclosing a death

Feb 26, 2016 09:30 PM #102
Rainmaker
452,903
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Debbie Laity - When the question comes up "Why isn't this house selling?" that is usually when you hear the stories! Bottom Line: a stigmatized house is a stigmatized house! 

Feb 26, 2016 11:43 PM #103
Rainmaker
99,277
Cat Zwicker, CRS
Desert Sky Real Estate, LLC - Redmond, OR
Down to Earth Service; Out of this World Results!

Oregon does not require the disclosure of a death in the home by the seller or listing agent, however, if you represent the buyer and you think it is something that could impact their desire to purchase a home you should have that discussion with them. I have had a few buyers say out loud that it was important to them no one had recently died in the home. I just try to direct them to the best available resources to discover that information since it is not always readily available. 

Feb 27, 2016 08:05 AM #104
Rainer
331,037
Steve Higgins
RE/MAX Kelowna - Kelowna, BC

Hi Debbie,

Good post. Here in BC the seller does not have to disclose it, if it will hurt the sale.

Feb 27, 2016 09:41 AM #105
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Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I'm surprised that you don't have to disclose that, we certainly do. But of course you can't disclose what you don't know. 

Feb 27, 2016 10:45 AM #106
Rainer
265,988
Edward Gilmartin
Boston Homes - Boston, MA

I suppose if someone died of AIDs in the home or maybe Ebola an agent may have to disclose that fact even though the risk of infection I believe is zero.

Feb 27, 2016 08:44 PM #107
Rainmaker
11,922
Kelley Ward
Chinowth and Cohen REALTORS - Owasso, OK
Real Estate Professional serving Owasso and More!

Yes it can be difficult to sell a stigmatized home. But as others have said you can't disclose what you don't know. Thanks for sharing. 

Feb 28, 2016 04:43 AM #108
Rainmaker
465,969
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

I sold a home where the seller died in a fire and the home was to be a knockdown. The buyer at first was concerned, but after hearing that the man was almost 90, and had lived a full life, and the fire was accidental he realized it wasn't worth being superstitious. Some times we have to be investigators too.

Feb 28, 2016 06:12 AM #109
Rainer
188,654
Joy Bender
Pacific Sotheby's - La Jolla, CA
Who You Hire Matters

Hi Debbie we just had a listing with a peaceful death in the home in a heavily Asian community.  I began just telling every buyer when they indicated an interest in writing.  we could have gotten $10-$15k more with a multiple counter had this not occurred. 

Feb 28, 2016 01:11 PM #110
Rainmaker
265,049
Diana Dahlberg
1 MONTH REALTY - Kenosha, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Just had this happen to me this week.  Buyer wanted to know if anyone ever died in the property I was showing.  In our area, it does not have to be disclosed.  It is at the discretion of the seller or their agent to share.  

Mar 02, 2016 03:22 PM #111
Rainmaker
287,944
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

Arizona has the same law. Recently though I was showing a house where I knew of a double murder next door so at least I got to share that, I always wondered if the home next door which was also for sale if the owners allowed their agent to share. It was a pretty big case here recently so the only ones who wouldn't have known were from out of the area. I like the idea of at least violent deaths being shared. But alas, we do not have to here like you. 

Mar 03, 2016 07:49 AM #112
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