It’s a few nights before Halloween, and a lamp flies off your bedside table onto the floor. With spooky happenings on the brain, you wonder if your house could be haunted.
Finding out if anyone has died in your home is a click away with DiedInHouse.com, a two-year-old website with that sole purpose. For $11.99, it searches records and news reports for information at a specific U.S. address, including murders, suicides, accidental and natural deaths, crimes, fire-related incidents, and even meth activity.
Now, Massachusetts doesn’t require sellers to disclose this type of information about a property, so if your house was home to a felony, suicide, homicide, or alleged supernatural phenomena, it’s OK for your agent to be tight-lipped. They’re not allowed to lie, though, so if you specifically ask about a home’s questionable history, you’ll get a straight answer.
“Most states have a law like Massachusetts,” DiedInHouse.com founder Roy Condrey explains. He says a death in a home isn’t considered a material fact when it comes to buyers’ decisions.
“I don’t see why [deaths are] not considered,” he says. “Personally, I would want to know if there was a murder-suicide before I bought it.”
He founded the site because of his own experience with tracking down house history, after one of his tenants told him her unit was haunted. Since its founding, DiedinHouse.com has had 1,317 reports in the state of Massachusetts.
With an abundance of historic, old homes in Massachusetts (we have more homes built in the 1600s and 1700s than anywhere in the country) DiedInHouse.com could come in handy if you never thought to ask your real estate agent about any deaths.
“It’s not something that needs to be disclosed or volunteered by real estate agents because it’s not a material defect with the actual property,” says Ashley Stolba, Associate Counsel for the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.
In other words, if it’s not mold or a leaky roof, you don’t need to know up front.
Kristie Aussubel, owner of Beacon Hill real estate companies Presidential Properties and Saul Xavier, says it’s common for her customers to ask about crimes that have occurred in a unit.
“A lot of the time I have no idea,” she says. So she turns to the owner or property manager, adding, “It’s pretty difficult to find any information.”
The Boston Strangler’s final victim died above The Paramount at 44 Charles Street.
“But people ask, especially with the murder at the Paramount,” she says. “People are fascinated by that, especially people from out of town.”
Judy Moore, a real estate agent at Higgins Group Realtors in Lexington, shows a fair amount of historic homes.
“When you’re showing houses built in the 1700s and 1800s, you do run into a few ghost encounters,” she says.
Moore recounted a day when she was about to close on a deal, and the seller revealed there was a ghost of a priest in the house. She had grown up in the former rectory, and the ghost knocked things off of a dresser. But the story didn’t faze her buyers, Moore says, and they bought the home anyways.
“The ghost question doesn’t come up that often,” she says. “Unless it’s around Halloween.”
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/property/2015/10/29/diedinhouse/
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