I know this is kind of morbid but I saw a home go on the market recently in which a heinous murder occurred. It got me wondering how realtors go about telling prospective buyers that the house they're looking at purchasing has a bit of a "history."

Do you just, like a band-aid, go in and tell a potential buyer, "Yep, this is that murder house?" That's one way to do it, I suppose.


There's another way to do it too, and that would be to ignore the house's past.

There's a term for homes and properties that share that kind of background. According to the National Association of Realtors, they are called Stigmatized Properties described as places that "have been psychologically impacted by events such as murder, suicide, alleged hauntings, or notorious previous owner."

Do realtors legally need to tell buyers of stigmatized properties?

Legally speaking, no they do not. According to the Illinois Real Estate License Act, realtors do not need to notify buyers "that the property was the site of an act or occurrence that had no effect on the physical condition of the property or its environment or the structures located thereon."

That's the legal end of it, but does that mean realtors shouldn't disclose to clients they may be buying a house where a murder or suicide took place?

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To me, that's more of a moral obligation. I'd imagine any realtor would go in with these stigmatized properties for sale knowing to at some point address the "elephant in the room."

Sometimes, these home's histories are so difficult to maneuver they come at a significant discount. Would you buy a stigmatized property if you knew you could get it on the cheap?

[H/T Belleville News-Democrat]

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