Disclose

Here’s an interesting seller lesson. This story appeared yesterday on Yahoo and is about a homeowner in Pennsylvania that discovered through the neighbors (after she moved in) that a murder-suicide had taken place there. This fact wasn’t disclosed to her upon her purchase in 2007. The murder-suicide happened in 2006 and before the current sellers had owned the place. In looking at our disclosures the question about a death in the house specifically asks whether that event has happened within the last 5 years. Interestingly, the defendants here won both in a trail and an appeals court. The issue now is in front of the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania. It sure seems to me that a murder-suicide that took place only a year prior to this lady buying the house should have been disclosed.

This topic has come up around here on more than one occasion in the past. There was a house on Lurline in Foster City a few years ago that had this history. Of course it was fully disclosed…and the house took ages to sell and sold at a significant discount. The problem can come when the property is a foreclosure. I saw an REO listing in Belmont a few years ago that looked great, but had no disclosures. In analyzing the history of the house it had been listed previously as a short sale and I contacted that agent to ask what history the house had and was told of a murder-suicide there. That fact wasn’t disclosed at all by the bank. Theoretically, they didn’t know about it.  In some cases it pays to do a quick Google search of a properties address prior to making the offer because information like this will show up via various media outlets. That’ll only take a minute to do that. I also think it’s obviously important for sellers to fully disclose the material facts about the home they’re selling. An event like this that happened just a few short years ago would clearly effect a persons desire to buy the house…and the neighbors are going to tell the buyers when they move in.

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