When looking for your dream house, you’ll usually have several specifications. For instance, you might want to know the number of bedrooms and bathrooms it has. But you could also be interested in strange information such as whether someone has died in the house. So, is it normal to live in a house where someone died?
Although death can influence the value of a house and whether you choose to live there, it’s normal to live in a house where someone died. You can find out if someone died in a house by searching online, checking seller disclosure forms, asking neighbors, or researching the house history yourself.
Knowing if someone died in a house can be valuable information when getting a property. Apart from guiding your decision to live there, it can also help you negotiate a better deal. Here, we discuss living in a house someone died.
Is It Normal to Live in A House Someone Died?
Unless you’re planning to live in a new house, there’s a good chance that someone has died in the house you’re living in. The older the house, the more likely the chance that this has happened. Thus, it’s perfectly okay to live in a house where someone died. After all, death is a very natural thing. However, if you care about or believe in the paranormal, living in a house where someone died could have more significance. In such cases, you may want to dig deeper into the house’s history if only to satisfy your curiosity.
Should Death in A House Influence Your Decision to Buy or Rent the Property?
There are a lot of haunted house movies. If you’ve seen enough of them, you’re most likely skeptical about buying a house where someone has died. The truth is, most of these movies are based on fictional works. So, all the haunting incidents in the movies won’t most likely happen in real life. But the fact that someone died in a house could still affect your decision to get the house.
The psychological aspect of real estate could come to play, especially if the death resulted from a gruesome incident. Houses with a dark past connected to death have seen a 10 – 25% drop in their value due to that occurrence alone. In fact, more than a third of Americans won’t buy a house because of a significant death on the property. Thus, death might influence your decision to live in the house. If you’re someone looking to buy a house, it doesn’t hurt to investigate the house’s history before you pay for it. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, a haunted reputation could help you get a cheaper deal on the house.
How to Know You’re Living in a House Someone Died
Unless you’re avidly interested in the supernatural, it won’t matter to you whether someone has died in the house you’re living in. But if you have sufficient conviction in the paranormal or need that information for bargaining power. It doesn’t hurt to know. Here are ways you can find out:
1. Search Online
The first step to finding out if someone has died in a house is also the easiest – use the internet. There are free and paid resources for this purpose. One of the paid options is Diedinhouse.com. The website charges over $10 per search. But it has a comprehensive database that includes over 130 million police records, death certificates, and news reports to help you determine if someone died at the address you search for. However, it’s not 100% accurate.
There are also free websites and tools on the internet that you can use, and they offer similar services. Housecreep.com is a good example. Even though the free platforms aren’t as comprehensive as the paid ones, it’s best to try them first before you use the paid ones. Neigborwho.com is another paid option for finding out information about previous owners of the house and its full history. It’s a monthly subscription costing less than $40, but you get a lot of information and unlimited reports within that period.
2. Check Seller Disclosure Form or Ask the Real Estate Agent
Most states don’t require sellers to disclose deaths that happened inside homes, and even if they do, there’s usually a limit. For example, California requires sellers to disclose deaths in the house in the past three years. South Dakota and Alaska require disclosure of suicide or murder in the house in the past year. These disclosures can help you to an extent.
Even in states that don’t require such disclosures, most sellers will still provide relevant information about the house. An undisclosed death could lead to the buyer pulling out of the deal if they get to find out. Thus, it’s in the best interest of the seller to disclose. Read the disclosure form, and if you notice anything suspicious, you can ask your agent to talk to the seller about the home history. While there’s no legal obligation on the seller or agent to tell you, you’ll most likely get the true answer if you ask.
3. Ask Neighbors
Death in the house isn’t the first thing you want to ask your neighbor. But if you’re suspicious and have real concerns about this, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask them. Neighbors who’ve lived in the area for a long time usually know enough lore about the neighborhood to tell you about the house’s history. If they’ve seen the house pass through multiple hands, they’ll be more open to sharing the home history and theories with you. You have to approach them the right way too.
4. Do Your Research or Hire an Investigator
If nothing seems to be happening after exhausting all the previous options, it’s time to do the hard work yourself and investigate the property. If it’s an older house, you can use census records to get details about those who have lived on the property. Records after 72 years are confidential except that you’re a direct descendant. But you can still check who has lived on the property between 1790 to 1940 are available through the US National Archives and Records Administration.
If the house has been in existence for more than 72 years, there’s a chance that someone who lived in the house died, and it’s possible to die on the property. You can check archives at libraries or historical societies. These archives will contain news reports and other information to help you determine what has happened in the house. If you’re interested and don’t want to do the legwork, you can hire a private investigator.
It’s not all houses where someone died that are haunted. Sometimes, the house has a storied past and some old creaky joints. But it helps to know before buying the property as it might influence your decision.