Do You Need To Disclose a Death in Your Home?

Here’s what you need to know about disclosing deaths on your property.

I wanted to touch base this month and share a thought-provoking question that recently came up—a bit of a dark subject but an important one nonetheless. The question raised was whether sellers are obligated to disclose any deaths that occurred in a home, whether by natural causes, suicide, homicide, or otherwise.

In Arizona, where I operate as a real estate agent, sellers are not legally required to disclose such information. Interestingly, this is consistent with the laws in 35 out of the 50 states in the U.S.

However, there's a crucial distinction to be made.  While sellers aren't obligated to disclose deaths in the home, withholding material information could potentially lead to legal trouble. For instance, in the case of Lerner versus DMB Royalty in 2011 or 2012, the buyer sued the seller for failing to disclose that a registered sex offender lived nearby. Although the seller initially won the case, they settled on the basis of misrepresentation when it was revealed that the seller had misled the buyer about the reason for their move.

"You should always disclose important information."

In essence, if sellers are directly asked about deaths on the property, they have the choice to disclose or not. However, a non-disclosure might raise suspicions and prompt buyers to conduct their own investigations.

In my experience spanning 25 years in the industry, I've always advised sellers to disclose everything they know about a property to avoid potential conflicts down the line.  Transparency is key to maintaining trust and avoiding surprises for both parties involved.

While this topic may seem grim, it's essential to be aware of these nuances, especially in real estate transactions. Being informed can help navigate such situations effectively. Click here to check what your state needs you to disclose. 

I hope you found this insight valuable. If you ever need assistance or have further questions, don't hesitate to call or email me. Have a wonderful day! 

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