Disclosure of a Death in a House
When selling a home, does the seller have to disclose a death that occurred on the property? Watch the video to find out or read the script that can be found below the video.
If someone dies in a home, does the seller have to disclose it to a buyer? Well, it depends upon how the person died. In Texas, the law states that a seller or seller’s agent is not required to disclose a death from natural causes, suicide, or an accident unrelated to the property’s condition. So if someone passes away simply from old age or a heart attack, a seller does not have to disclose it. If there has been a murder, that must be disclosed. Because I do more probate sales than the vast majority of agents, I’ve handled a few murder homes. As for the property condition aspect, let’s presume a house that has a railing on a landing at the top of the stairs. Somebody drinks too much, stumbles, and falls over the railing to their death. That’s not a required disclosure because it was an accident unrelated to the property’s condition. Now take that same railing at the top of the stairs, but this time someone leans up against it and it gives way, sending the person to their death. That must be disclosed because a condition of the property, a poorly built or maintained railing, caused the death. Even when a non-disclosable death occurs on a property, a seller may find it in their best interest to disclose it, either formally on the seller’s disclosure, or informally by answering a buyer’s question. Some buyers aren’t phased by a death in the house, but others want no part of living there – and they’ll eventually find out, usually from the neighbors.