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OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Daily Real Estate News  |  May 3, 2006  |   Buyers Regret Not Asking: Anyone Die Here? Prospective home buyers usually don't inquire about whether someone has died in the house. But in retrospect, many wish they would have. For example, last year a couple bought an condo on New York's Upper East Side only to learn weeks later that the previous owner had committed suicide there. ''They were very, very upset,'' says Andia Smull, the couple's real estate practitioner. Homes can be stigmatized if they are the scenes of murders, suicides, hauntings, and even peaceful deaths. Some buyers will avoid these properties due to concerns about bad luck or ghosts, while others back out of such deals due to cultural beliefs. Experts notes that the value of these properties often hinges on the deceased person's status in the community, how long ago the death occurred, the manner in which the person died, and whether the incident was widely publicized. For instance, the price of the Beverly Hills home where Lyle and Erik Menendez used shotguns to murder their parents fell more than $1 million at the time of resale; but the Manhattan apartment where Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died presently is going for $32 million. Sellers and real estate agents in New York, New Jersey, and other states are not required to disclose deaths or hauntings — although most will do so if the prospective buyer asks. However, Connecticut's "Ghostbusters law" requires agents to inform buyers in writing of homicides, suicides, and other felonies if requested to do so by the buyer. Source: New York Times, Stephanie Rosenbloom (04/30/06) © Copyright 2006 Information Inc.

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