Death is the bookend for a (hopefully) long and happy life. As such, it is a normal part of life and often occurs in the decedent’s own home.
So, how would you feel about buying a house where a former resident passed away? Chances are good that if the resident’s death occurred naturally of old age, most people have few qualms about the purchase.
But what about haunted houses or violent deaths?
Here in New England, we have a long history of locations where alleged paranormal activities occurred in the past and may still occur. While those homes and locations may be interesting spots to visit, not everyone would want to live there whether they believe in ghosts or not.
But unless the violent death or paranormal incident or history was reported, a buyer could unwittingly acquire a property with an unsavory past.
What does the law say about such declarations?
Here in Massachusetts and also in New Hampshire, sellers do not have to disclose deaths. However, if they or their real estate agents are directly asked, they cannot lie. In Maine, sellers have even more protection, as sellers have to expressly give their real estate agents permission to disclose any deaths that occurred on the property they are selling.
Do your due diligence when buying or selling a home
It is prudent for buyers to do a deep dive into the history of the homes they purchase. This often can uncover vital information that could cause them to give a property a pass. Having legal representation at all stages of the home purchase process can help prevent future problems.