Has Someone Died in the Home I Want to Buy?

Real Estate Agent with Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ BR564219000

Has Someone Died in the Home I Want to Buy?

Has Someone Died in the Home I Want to Buy?

For whatever reason, my son asked me via text this morning if a REALTOR in Arizona was obligated to share whether or not someone has died in a home.

I told him, “no”. 

Digging further, I pulled up the actual verbiage from our AZ statutes:

A. No criminal, civil or administrative action may be brought against a transferor or lessor of real property or a licensee for failing to disclose that the property being transferred or leased is or has been:

1. The site of a natural death, suicide or homicide or any other crime classified as a felony.

2. Owned or occupied by a person exposed to the human immunodeficiency virus or diagnosed as having the acquired immune deficiency syndrome or any other disease that is not known to be transmitted through common occupancy of real estate.

3. Located in the vicinity of a sex offender.

The document goes further to explain that an agents failing to disclose any facts or suspicious will not be grounds to dismiss or end a contract.  BUT, this can be more complicated than it appears here!

Has Someone Died in the Home I Want to Buy?

What does this mean to the Arizona buyer who may have such concerns?

(paraphrased) Our Arizona contract very plainly states that if something may be a material fact (something of great importance that can affect the purchase of a home), a buyer needs to do their due dilligence, or their homework.  The Arizona seller must warrant that they have disclosed to the buyer all material and latent defects that may affect the property’s value.  They are required to fill out a Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement.  Your real estate agent can help you with things like airport vicinity, flood plains, and more.

Has Someone Died in the Home I Want to Buy?

If you have more questions, talk to your REALTOR, BROKER, or LAWYER about your concerns.  There are so many ins and outs to disclosure that it’s best to have as much information as possible if you have concerns about a property you wish to buy.

I like to email a local crime link to my prospective buyers, so that folks can check out the neighborhoods they are interested in on their own initiative.  It is part of the  Arizona Buyer’s Advisory that we also give to our clients to help you fully research the home and neighborhood you are interested in.  

For the sake of brevity, this posting has been paraphrased and simplified, and all folks interested in more information should talk to their lawyer,  or discuss the Arizona Real Estate Contract with their agent.

Posted by

If I can assist you in your home buying or selling in Marana, Tucson, Oro Valley, or Vail, please don't hesitate to call me!  Email at swdeserthomes@aol.com

Cara Marcelle Mancuso, Long Realty,


Regarding the material posted in my blog postings, these are my personal opinions and not those of Long Realty Company. 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ginger Harper 06/17/2014 10:30 PM
Real Estate Best Practices
arizona stigmatized property law
did someone die in my home
arizona buyers advisory

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Maria Morton
Chartwell Kansas City Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Cara, each state has different laws on disclosing a stigmatized property. It's also important to realize that many state laws on this issue have not been tested in court. While we are not required to do so here, if I know a death has occurred in the home, I would disclose that to my buyer clients. There are also people who have religious and/or cultural beliefs who would need to know this information so they could perform ceremonies to cleanse the home before occupying it. 

Jun 18, 2014 01:03 AM #24
Allen Lomax
Steed Talker Realty is with two hours of Tryon International Equestrian Center and we offer the best properties in th... - Sylva, NC
WNC Mountain Homes & Horse Farms Specialists

It is almost shocking that in the 21st century in a literate country, in a supposed age of science and reason, that such superstitions prevail.  I have little to no patience with such stupidity.  I realize, though, that my feelings have nothing to do with the law and disclosure.  Stupid people can bring a lawsuit more readily than those with more reasoning powers.  Thanks for sharing the importance of having awareness about the question.  

Jun 18, 2014 01:11 AM #25
Marc McMaster
RE/MAX Centre Realty - State College, PA
Putting my clients before myself

We have a case in Pennsylvania where it may be required to disclose whether a murder suicide occured on the property.  A court has ruled that it is a material defect and must be disclosed. 

Jun 18, 2014 01:20 AM #26
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

It matters not the perceptions of agents and sellers.  Buyers' perceptions are paramount.  I suspect that many homes will lose a degree of market value if buyers know of a recent death in a property.

Jun 18, 2014 01:23 AM #27
Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Orlando, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

Excellent blog because you picked up on the issue of "Material Fact".

So...what is a Material Fact?

A material fact is one that in the buyers opinion, is so substantial or so important to the property value, that if known to the buyer, would have influenced the buyer to offer less money or reconsider the purchase altogether. 


This material fact varies with each buyer, and it my buyer tells me they are creeped out by someone dying there, I will for sure try to find out to disclose it.  I would probably disclose it even if buyer did not mention it. 

A fiduciary duty to my client trumps all.


Jun 18, 2014 01:40 AM #28
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

This is always a tough one, our disclosure laws are very similar to yours in Arizona.  I think that's why it's always good to do a neighborhood review, it will come out. 

Jun 18, 2014 01:53 AM #29
Tim Lorenz
TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team - Mission Viejo, CA
949 874-2247

It is now a disclosue here in CA.  It must be stated if it was in the last 5 yrs.

Jun 18, 2014 02:19 AM #30
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I've written about this. In New York, it's caveat emptor (buyer beware) however, as you know, neighbors can't wait to run over and spill the news.

Jun 18, 2014 02:26 AM #31
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

I had a client selling a home where there was a murder.. (prior to them owning it) and they were there for 10yrs.  it is the neighbors that cause the problem.... Nosey neighbors come and talk to the prospects and scare them away.. Thankfully they found another buyer quickly.  and in NJ, it is not something you need to disclose unless it is a health/safety issue..

Jun 18, 2014 02:35 AM #32
Barry Kessler
CENTURY 21 Troop Real Estate - Simi Valley, CA
Barry Kessler

The law in California states that a death in the home must be disclosed if it has occurred in the last three years. Last October, one of our listings was in escrow and the seller died in the home during the process. She lived in our neighborhood and unfortunately, my wife, also a Realtor, discovered her after she had been dead for 4 days. The entire sale could have gone the way of the seller had it not been held in a living trust, and had the buyer refused to share the home with her spirit. Lucky for all of the survivors, the buyer was an emergency room nurse and she didn't have an issue with the dead. 

Good post. Suprised to see the different ways different states treat this issue. 

Jun 18, 2014 02:49 AM #33
Cara Marcelle Mancuso
Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ - Tucson, AZ
Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE! LONG REALTY

Hi Tanya - There's a television commercial on now that claims to tell you via a website whether or not there was a death in the home.  I am not sure it's accurate, but that's why my son was calling.

Dan - I remember hearing in class about the paranormal activity. Yikes.

Wayne - I totally agree!

John - thanks for stopping by.  I try to give out as many official disclosure sites as possible for my clients as well. 
Norma - how do you find out that information?  What if it is a real-estate-owned property?

Nina - Right - we can't lie either. I remember long ago getting a call once regarding drug activity on a listing of mine and previous "activity" some 7 years back.  At 7 years prior, I wasn't even a real estate agent.  My client hadn't said anything to me, and it was his re-hab purchase, and I certainly didn't know about it.  However, the agent advised her client not to make an offer and that was that.

Mark A - I know in some states, you are not even allowed to disclose if you know.  Against the seller's privacy or something like that.

Michael - they say buyer beware is a thing of the past with material disclosure, etc.  But, being proactive in your due diligence can never hurt.

Rob - Gotta love the neighbors!

Ed and Tracy - Thanks!  Have a great summer.

Fred - thank you for sharing your story.  It's a subject of very strong emotions both ways.

Andrew - Always the argument against violent crime, I suppose.  Neighbors and news stories make for a story.

Joe - I imagine this subject will evolve regarding disclosures and real estate.

Patricia - There is a website.  Not sure I want to advertise it, however.

Amanda and Jared - Peacefully is a matter of the circle of life.  Not peacefully might be more than many buyers want to buy in to.

Fred - Exactly.  Thanks for the source.  If you are representing the seller, there are different rules in different states.

Than- Why not?

Dan Dee - I loved Paul Harvey.  :)

Janet - Attorneys - good mention.  As real estate agents, we are not allowed anything outside the scope of our profession.  It's always wise to suggest the opinion of one's lawyer if pertinent.

Sybil - there's certainly a lot of difference between state disclosures!

Jun 18, 2014 02:51 AM #34
Rachel Khoury
Tailwinds Mortgage - Highlands Ranch, CO
Your Wingwoman for Colorado Mortgages

I always wondered this, great post, thanks for the information!

Jun 18, 2014 03:30 AM #35
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

I live and practice in Arizona. No, we can't be held liable for NOT disclosing a death, but we tell Owners that we WILL disclose, and if they don't want that they need to find another agent. I guarantee that the neighbors will tell the new Owner, best to just be upfront from the start.

Jun 18, 2014 03:46 AM #36
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

Timely...I just showed one of my listings to a customer, and he asked me the same question. People really do want to know.

Jun 18, 2014 05:16 AM #37
Bradford Bateman Jr.
Bonita Springs, FL
Royal Shell Real Estate

I am surprised to see such specific language in the AZ law down to the disease level. 

Jun 18, 2014 06:14 AM #38
Cara Marcelle Mancuso
Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ - Tucson, AZ
Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE! LONG REALTY

June - It is very interesting how the law fluctuates!

Maria - I deal with a great many folk that do not want a bad aura...ie...stigmatized property.  At least I can point them to as many disclosure sites as possible.

Allen - There are a lot of television shows about ghost hunters and movies about the supernatural, etc - there's certainly a population out there that "believe".

Marc - Where do you find that information?

Lenn - I agree.

Mike and Eve - I think you hit the nail on the head.  Your clients sound like they are in good hands!

Adrian - Love your web sight.  Thanks for stopping by.  I'm from Puyallup, so the 206 area code always grabs me.

Tim - I heard from a couple of others in CA it was 3 years...Comment #5, #33

Jill - nope, can't keep the neighbors away when there's a story to tell

Robert - The neighbor strikes again...glad to hear you found a buyer with whom it was old news.

Barry - Wow - that was a fortunate outcome!

Jun 18, 2014 07:23 AM #39
Sharon Kowitz
CRS-SRES-ABR-GRI-E-Pro-CREN Fonville Morisey Cary, NC - Cary, NC
Cary, NC Relocation Specialist ~ Buying or Selling

In NC it disclosing whether or not someone died in a home is not technically required but ethically if asked in my opinion we should answer if we know. I have one client who would not write an offer if he knew someone died in a home.

Jun 18, 2014 10:12 PM #41
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

In CT, we have no obligation to disclose, but that may not be the case if that yellow outline is still on the floor

Jun 18, 2014 10:50 PM #42
Jerry Lucas
ABC Legal Docs LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Mobile Notary Colorado Springs, CO Notary Training

Some museums are located in homes where a famous person lived and died.  People pay to get in.  Some old farms and ranches have family burial plots.  Some people bury family pets in the back yard. 

Jun 19, 2014 02:26 AM #43
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

This does vary by state and in some the murder is reported but not natural death or suicide. Usually just talk to the neighbors and all the info is there.

Jun 19, 2014 03:03 AM #44
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Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE! LONG REALTY
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