Disclosing a “Stigmatized” House in Maine – Do I Have To?

By
Real Estate Agent with Hoang Realty

Disclosing a “Stigmatized” House in Maine – Do I Have To?

 

A friend of mine was the Executrix of the estate of her ex-husband and I recently helped her settle the estate. There had been a fire in the house and her ex-husband had died as a result of it. During our discussions on what to do with the house, she asked me, “do I have to tell people that he died there?”

 

My answer to her was, NO, Maine does not have a stigmatized property disclosure requirement. She did not have to disclose that information. (I did tell her there are ALWAYS “helpful” neighbors who can’t wait to share this information, though. And I told her she did have to disclose that there had been a fire.)

 

Maine does not require a seller of real estate to disclose a death of any type – natural cause, accidental, suicide, or murder. As a seller’s agent, unless I have been given permission to disclose by the seller, I cannot do so.

 

Now, on the other hand, as a buyer’s agent, if I know any material facts that might affect my buyer’s decision to purchase the property, including a death on the premises, I am required to disclose them to my buyers.

 

So my advice to sellers in Maine is: no, you do not have to disclose a death, but be aware that neighbors most likely will do it for you. My suggested response to any inquiry regarding a death (or crime) on the premises is to refer the person asking to the local police department.

 

My advice to buyers in Maine is: if you don’t want to live in a home where someone has died, THEN MAKE SURE YOU TELL ME. And understand that here in Maine, where there are so many older homes, many WELL over 100 years old, chances are really good that someone, at some time, died in them.

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Lisa Hicks

MaineRealtor®  Hoang Realty

yourmaineoasis@gmail.com

(207) 592-5374

www.yourmaineoasis.com

Search Maine Real Estate Here

 

                 

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Serving the Maine counties of Kennebec, Waldo, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Cumberland and Androscoggin.

 

Information and content in this blog is original to Lisa Hicks.   Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Hicks

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Rainmaker
401,574
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

Good advice, especially with respect to the fact that some religions have strong beliefs pertaining to the spirits of the recently deceased. We agents certainly do not want anything to come back to "haunt" us!

Oct 07, 2010 01:12 PM #1
Rainer
372,583
Tish Lloyd
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Wilmington, NC
Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches

More great advice from Ms. Lisa!  Gwen certainly phrased it accurately as well!

Oct 07, 2010 01:32 PM #2
Ambassador
559,646
Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986.
eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com - Victoria, BC
Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490

Hi Lisa,

interestiing  topic this time of the year....

For any property older than 2 sets of owners it is nearly impossible to guarantee who if anybody, may have died on site... (unless it was newsworthy in some way at the time.

Your advise is solid, but at the same time what is next please disclose the religious history of the previous owners, or the political or even sexual preferences.....or how about if they where relatives of criminals......

it may all be interesting to know but is it relevant.....

Happy Selling

Oct 07, 2010 02:40 PM #3
Rainmaker
269,999
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

Well said and good information.  I appreciate Maine's "just the material facts m'am" approach to disclosures.  Some states have a ridiculously long, and in some case, "otherworldly" list of must disclose items.  

Oct 07, 2010 02:54 PM #4
Rainmaker
647,735
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

Sticky question. If the buyer asks, I think you should disclose it.

Oct 08, 2010 03:17 AM #5
Rainmaker
269,999
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

Allen,  Here in Maine, if the buyer asks and we are representing the seller, as Lisa said we CAN"T legally disclose it without the seller's express permission. 

Oct 08, 2010 08:45 AM #6
Rainer
366,002
Scott Hayes
(512) 786-8300 - Austin, TX
Realty Austin, Broker Associate

Nice advice Lisa. I rented a house in college, where the neighbors claimed the former owners ghost hung out in the utility room, where she died

 I used to leave my laundry in there overnight, but I always ended up having to do it in the morning.

 

Oct 08, 2010 09:40 AM #7
Rainer
124,137
Lisa Hicks
Hoang Realty - Augusta, ME
Serving Central and Southern Maine

Gwen - no, I certainly do not want to be "haunted" by the specter of bad representation!

Tish - you are too kind, really.  Please keep complimenting me.  :D

Peter and Linda - hadn't really thought about the time of year...and I agree with you...that stuff really isn't relevant IMO.

Kristen - you know, I don't really get it...but I'm trying not to be contraversial...:D

Allen - as Kristen said, here in Maine we can't.

Scott - haha!  What a bummer!

 

Oct 08, 2010 11:13 AM #8
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Lisa Hicks

Serving Central and Southern Maine
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