Is Murder a Material Fact in Home Buying?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Buyers Broker of Florida

Florida says no. In Florida, agents do not have to disclose a murder because as an attorney (name withheld) with the Florida Realtors says:

"Murder, suicide or another disturbing act is not a material fact"  


I disagree.  In fact, after 25 years of representing ONLY home buyers I vehemently disagree. I say that murder is a material fact, and should be labeled as such.

I also disagree with the attorney's newspaper opinion that "stigmatized properties are gaining popularity".  If they are popular, why then, do they sell for less?

For sure "murder or suicide homes" do sell for less and take longer to sell...unless no one has told the home buyer about it. I am sure that some agents would keep that a secret.


First of all what is a material fact?


A material fact in real estate is well-defined as a fact that, if known, might have caused a buyer of real estate to make a different decision with regards to considering buying a home or remaining in a contract or paying the same price.  It is a fact, that if known,would reasonably result in a homebuyer making a different decision. A material fact does not have to be something that you can see or touch. 


Home buyers with children will eliminate homes in school districts with "F" rated schools. Anyone selling real estate knows that homes with low school scores are always priced lower than communities with "A" rated schools. That is something that you cannot touch or feel, yet this material fact is usually a show-stopper for those with families. 


I can also say with certainty that the majority of my clients would not even be interested in viewing a home where a murder occured...and If I know about a murder or suicide, you better believe that I will tell everything I know.


The Florida Realtor attorney goes on to say "It (murder) is not seen as a physical aspect like the roof plumbing or foundation"  Of course not. A Material fact does not need to be only something physical.  It can be anything that makes the buyer uncomfortable enough to make them want to change their mind.  ANYTHING!  


Besides, I will bet money that most home buyers will accept a leaky roof over a family murder in the home.  A leak can be fixed.  A killing cannot be erased.


 I know from experience that my home buying clients would stay away from a murder house no differently than they would not want to build a home next to a lot that has a sink hole.


I also believe that as an Exclusive Buyers Agent I have the highest duty of trust for my clients.  I owe my buyers full disclosure along with my fiduciary duties of  total loyalty and confidentiality. IT IS MY JOB TO TELL MY BUYER CLIENTS EVERYTHING THAT MAY BE A TURNOFF TO THEM. (unless of course, that disclosure violates the law, which in this case it does not)


Seriously, homebuyers are lucky to find us and be able to trust that we will give them full disclosue. For no secrets call Buyers Broker of Florida 407-539-1053.


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 Eve Alexander Orlando Buyers Agent



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Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate!

Eve it's a touchy subject and one that deserves attention. Here in AZ we are not obligated to disclose a death/murder but if asked - and we chose to disclose it must be truthful of course. I've never personally ran into this issue but if I did and I knew that a murder/death would be a material fact to my buyers you can bet I'd let them know the fact as I represent them.  Being an instructor this subject does come up often in my Agency classes and there is always a lively discussion.


Neither the seller nor the brokers in the transaction have liability for failing to disclose the murder/death to a potential buyer. See A.R.S. § 32-2156. If directly asked by the buyer if there have been any deaths in the home, the seller and broker are not obligated to respond. However, if the seller and/or broker choose to answer the question, they must respond truthfully and cannot deny that there has been a death in the home nor can they provide a misleading response.



Mar 20, 2017 02:37 PM #1
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Murder - and more impact perhaps is murder/suicide -  can be a major issue for some buyers, but perhaps not so for others. I have asked this question of legal experts in the state and just like Anna Banana Kruchten in Arizona , Oregon does not require disclosure for murder. However, if asked, we must disclose. Last year we represented a muder/suicide home which took a long time to sell and it finally closed early February. Our seller, whose tenants were killed, was relieved to finally have this part of her life behind her.

Mar 20, 2017 03:19 PM #2
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

It is not one that has to be disclosed, but I believe it should be

Mar 20, 2017 03:57 PM #3
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Mike and Eve- while I'm not an agent, I can tell you that when we were looking for a home many years ago, a murder-suicide in a home was disclosed to us and we elected not to pursue it. 

Mar 20, 2017 05:37 PM #4
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