Would you or have you...

…purchased a home whether it be to buy and hold or buy and sell in which someone passed away in the home?

  1. How has this affected your plans?
  2. Was this disclosed to you before purchasing?
  3. How has this affected you in terms of selling or renting?
  4. Is that type of info mandated to be disclosed?
  5. How did buyers or tenants respond if you had to disclose?

I ask because I found a gem that had been sitting across from my wife’s grandmother’s house for quite awhile (as long as I can remember, at least 4 years). Since I hadn’t been actively looking at real estate I never paid attention until recently. I looked at it yesterday, it’s in real good condition. Basic cosmetic (paint, carpet, closet doors, good cleaning, etc.) on the inside. Outside needs some good money put in. There is a HUGE tree right in front (I never understood why people put trees that are going to grow 100ft right in front of a home) that has pushed the concrete up and I know it’s gone under the home. Amazingly, the floors and foundation don’t look like trouble. Yet to be determined. I know tree people, foundation people and concrete people, so cost shouldn’t be rough on me. Long story short, when talking to granny, she tells me that someone was found in the home about a week after he passed. Passed, not killed.

The house is bank owned and has been off and on the market. Back on the market now for more than when last on, but no improvements have been made. Not sure why the increase in the asking price. Whatever. I guess I am wondering if the death is what is scaring people. Any thoughts and answers to my above questions would be great. I am really interested in this in this property. I’m polling people around here on their thoughts of buying or renting a place in this type of situation.


Almost every home has had someone die in it if it’s more than 30-40 yrs old. In most states if not all you do not need to disclose if someone has died in the home. In most states you do not need to disclose if there was a murder, suicide or felony on the property. In most states you do not need to disclose if someone has died in the home from AIDS, in most cases due to HIPAA and such you actually CAN’T disclose this as it violates the privacy of the person.

I can’t specifically speak for your state as I don’t know the laws for all states and this is something that is forever changing. I know in my state, CT, it has recently changed. As of now in CT this is how disclosure stands (again check YOUR state laws, check real estate laws on your state’s website):

Someone has died in the home- Do not need to disclose
Suicide- Do not need to disclose
Murder- Do not need to disclose
Felony on the property (drug factory, etc)- Do not need to disclose
AIDS related death- Do not need to disclose and cannot disclose due to privacy

But in CT if one of the first 4 listed above makes a difference to the buyer and they request in writing that they be told about any of those events the seller/agent must by law disclose. Without a formal request in writing it is not necessary.

Oh and in case you are wondering about ghosts and the need to disclose- Ghosts are NOT considered material as they are not considered a scientifically proven fact that they exist so you don’t need to disclose ghosts or other paranormal activity (if you believe in it). At least that’s the way it is in CT and I assume the rest of the country is in line with that line of thought.

Thanks Rich. I saw a “flip house” type show in which people were scared of buying because of a death in the home, so I figured I’d ask. Never bothered me, but I’m not the one who’d be living there.

Oh, my poll of my colleagues have turned up only 1 out of about 10 said they would not buy.

Guess, I just need to do my due diligence and confirm it’s a good buy (numbers-wise and structurally), then throw out an offer.

Any “professional” flipper (I use that term loosely when referring to some of the people on those shows like the Montelongos) that is worried about a death in the home is an idiot. If there is some stigma attached to it such as a gruesome murder that was in the newspaper I can see avoiding it or at least bargaining low enough to allow you to sell cheap.


Yes, I have a house that a woman died in about 3 years ago. She had an asthma attack and died. A relative found her a few days later. I also have an apartment building where a drugged up mental patient poured gasoline on her couch; set it afire; and sat down. She was badly burned but didn’t die. I also had a druggie raped in one of my apartments (by another druggie). These were all people the tenant allowed into her apartment. Stuff like this happens when you’re dealing with low income tenants. Many of my houses are old and I’m sure that many people have died in them at one time or another.

It hasn’t affected me at all. To be truthful, I couldn’t care less! I rent them without any trouble and have never had a person ask about the history of anyone dying in the property (and I have received thousands of calls from potential tenants). The death was disclosed to me prior to purchase and I didn’t care. There is no mandatory disclosure of people dying in Ohio (as far as I know). I don’t give disclosures to tenants, other than the required lead paint disclosure.

Dying is just part of living. With the popularity of hospice, a lot of people die at home these days. I don’t think most people would care.


Sometimes when I read your posts Mike I can’t wait to start renting! Then I hear about the burning couch lady… ouch.

If nothing else you learn the good, the bad and the UGLY when reading Mike’s posts. No fluff, no BS. The best thing about rentals is the stories you can tell at dinner parties!