Let's cut to the chase: Idaho realtors aren't obligated to tell you someone went kaputskis in or on a property you're about to buy.
Surprised? Um, we were.
We also learned disclosures surrounding death can vary significantly across jurisdictions. According to Spaulding Decon, most realtors aren't required to disclose non-material facts like a death or murder at all. Why? Simply put, those events don't impact the listing's structural or environmental standing.
Privacy Prevents More Pain
A KBOI investigation also found realtors don't have to tell you that someone committed suicide in a home, or that the residence belonged to a registered sex offender.
Privacy and confidentiality concerns also factor in. While it makes sense that a buyer would want to know if someone had died on a property they might acquire, they're not legally entitled to that information.
In those instances, sharing sensitive or tragic events with buyers infringes on the privacy of the previous occupants, the deceased, their surviving family members, survivors of the sex offender's abuse.
If you think that's unfair, consider this: disclosing that information could cause these people additional pain and stigmatize the listing; both of which can lead to unwarranted/negative perceptions of the property with the power to impact its value.
Death Disclosures Put Realtors at Risk
There's one more reason realtors wouldn't disclose a death: potential legal liabilities.
If buyers found out about a death or murder on the property and didn't buy because of superstitions they hold, or emotional discomfort, they could turn around and claim discrimination.
Because realtors have to adhere to fair housing laws that ban discrimination based on race, religion, and marital or familial status, Realtor.com says most leave death out of the discussion. Can you blame them? Realtors have bills to pay to like the rest of us.
Behold the power of the world wide web!
If you need to find out if someone died in or on a property, look it up on DiedinHouse.com. If that doesn't work, Google the address and look for news reports or obituaries associated with the listing.
Have you purchased a stigmatized property/one where someone died? Email us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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