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Death in a home may not have to be disclosed

While Maryland home buyers must receive disclosures about material defects to the homes they are interested in purchasing, nothing requires a seller to disclose if a death or violent murder occurred in a home. People who are concerned about homes in which someone died may thus want to check other sources of information to find out.

Courts have held that a death inside of a home is not a material defect but is rather a psychological one. The National Association of Realtors indicates that as many as 15 percent of people would not be willing to pay the asking price of a home in which a death occurred. Known stigmatized properties in which deaths have occurred have been demonstrated to sit on the market without selling for as much as 45 percent longer as other homes.

Homes in which people died or were murdered also sell for significantly lower prices than comparable ones. Notable examples include the home that former NFL star Junior Seau purchased for $3.2 million and in which he then committed suicide. The home sold for $1.98 million after he died and again in 2015 for $2.2 million, as compared to comparable homes selling for more than $3 million.

People who are preparing to make offers and commence residential real estate transactions may want to further investigate the history of the homes in which they are interested. They can ask the broker and the seller for information. They may also want to do research on their own in order to make sure no death or murder has occurred in the home if they are concerned about it. A real estate attorney can often be of assistance in this regard.

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