Sometimes bad things may have happened in a house that you may be looking at to buy. You might expect a seller or listing agent to reveal details about a home’s past that are pertinent to the sale, but they’re not always required to do so. Most states require sellers to disclose physical property defects, but they may not be required to disclose thing like a murder having taken place there.
As a buyer, you should be prepared to take on the burden of asking the right questions when it comes to property stigmas. It’s always a good idea to know your state’s disclosure laws. There are also some specific steps you can take to find out what they may not be telling you about the house you’re interested in.
Sure, there is supposed to be a disclosure document, but it may not tell you everything you want to know. Ask specifically about events in the past involving the property, including crime, past owners, and, yes, even paranormal activity. Sellers may not be required to volunteer this information in some states, but when asked about it, they must answer truthfully. Otherwise, they could be held legally liable.
Use your online resources. Do a search on the property yourself and look for any news articles that may involve the property. While you’re at it, check local police records for any criminal reports that may be concerning.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for the disclosure statement early in the negotiations. Make sure the seller includes items that were revealed during the course of conversation, whether they’re legally required to be disclosed or not.
One of the best ways to get information on a property is to simply ask the neighbors. Meet the next-door neighbors and ask about their impressions of the neighborhood. Neighbors love to gossip and will be more than happy to let you know if there’s anything strange about the house or the past owners.