Has there been a murder or death in your home? Is it haunted? Few buyers realize how little a home seller in Georgia is required to disclose. Unless asked directly, things like violent crime and deaths in a home may not be required to be disclosed. In fact, GA requirements for disclosure with regard to these things is surprising:
Licensees must affirmatively disclose material defects in the physical condition of the property. However, they are not required to disclose whether a homicide or other felony or a suicide occurred on a property unless a prospect asks them. The key distinction is that felonies, suicides, and infectious diseases generally do not involve the physical condition of the property. Their impact on the property is psychological.
Not so fast. Over 25+ years of appraising and selling homes, I’ve evaluated several where violence has occurred. One of the more grisly was in upstate NY, the Wyley Gates home where four people, including a child were murdered. When that home finally sold, it went to a buyer from Brooklyn for a good 35% below market. The buyer could care less about the history, he recognized the positive aspects and secured a very nice deal. Gates was released in ’03, with a degree and is working in a law office in NYC. The four victims are still dead.
Home buyers can now run searches on homes of interest to see if anyone has died in them. Died in house is a site that claims to have the answers to your questions, once you give them $11.99 that is. They have programs that scan records and they will provide a report of what they find as well as the names of folks associated with that address not reported as dead. The jury is out on this….
Nationally, this is a topic of conversation and that seems to be the genesis for this site – they reference a buyer in PA that bought a home where a murder-suicide occurred. This case brought into question a multitude of things – including the agent/client relationship itself. If the law does not require disclosure of a murder but the agent is told, is the agent obligated to disclose that? Or does that violate their client level relationship? Does that open the agent up to a law suit?
For home buyers in GA, it is a good idea to get educated on what is required on a seller’s disclosure in Georgia. The GA Real Estate Commission is a bit vague, the best advice is to directly question the seller on anything of concern.
While the legal system and the various real estate commissions may debate it, there is little doubt that something like a murder or other violent crime will have a negative impact on value and marketability. If you’re a seller, disclose and avoid headaches. If you’re a buyer, ask and avoid headaches. It’s not wise to depend on the legal system…- See more at: http://hankmillerteam.com/2013/11/19/who-died-in-this-home/comment-page-1/#comment-42764