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Elizabeth Weintraub

Has There Been a Death in the House You Are Buying?

By November 18, 2009

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It's sort of creepy to think about, but do you know if there has been a death in the house you are buying?

It's not that uncommon to buy a home in which someone has died. Occurrences of death in a house are not limited to older homes or probate sales. People croak in new homes, too, because few of us really know the exact moment our time on earth will end. However, for some home buyers, a death inside the house is an absolute deal killer.

In general, Americans are not very comfortable with the idea of death. Few of us want to view our own mortality. We grieve for our departed loved ones in private, but I wish we were felt it was more acceptable to embrace the fact publicly.

My neighbor is a Sikh. When her husband died in a freak accident, hundreds of people from her temple came to her home to mourn with her, loudly and openly. Women dressed in white lined the walls of her living room and sobbed in unison. I joined them. It had a remarkable cleansing and healing effect.

But I do hope my neighbor doesn't decide to sell. Some home buyers are very squeamish . . . read more about Death In the House.

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At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.


November 18, 2009 at 12:09 pm
(1) Brittanie Flegle says:

Very interesting to think about. I wonder if most home buyers ask this. It’s sort of like asking if your used car was used for illegal activities like bank robbery getaways or other disturbing acts of violence. Everything has its history. I wonder what my previous apartment tenants were like? SCARY!

November 16, 2011 at 1:13 am
(2) Newhome buyer says:

I found out the owner at 510 Cartagena Lane in San Ramon, CA died in her home in 2010. I was bothered that when I originally asked if there was a death in the home my questioned was ignored. It is the Law in California that a real estate agent must tell you if they were asked. It is what made the decision for my husband and I not to further look at buying the house, I don’t care if it was remodeled or not. Gross!

November 17, 2011 at 12:08 pm
(3) Elizabeth Weintraub says:

The disclosure law in California surrounding a death in the home is an agent must disclose if the agent has knowledge, and so must a seller, if it happened within the past 3 years. The Seller Property Questionnaire (SPQ) asks this question of the seller. But other states have other laws.

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