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Some Buyers Regret Not Asking: Anyone Die Here?

By: Stephanie Rosenbloom

April 30th, 2006

…Just as in New York, sellers in New Jersey are not required to tell buyers about a death on a property, or a rumor of a haunted house. “If it doesn’t harm the property, under no circumstances do you have to report it,” said Adam Leitman Bailey, who practices real estate law in New York and New Jersey.

Connecticut has enacted legislation, sometimes referred to as a “Ghostbusters law,” that exempts sellers and their agents from having to voluntarily disclose deaths on the property, and might even cover rumors of a Casper in the closet. Mr. Bailey added that it requires a seller or a real estate agent to reveal the existence of a property that was suspected to have been the site of a homicide, other felony or a suicide if a potential buyer requests such information in writing…

…Mr. Bailey, the lawyer, said that people who are truly worried about ghosts, suicide or murder should read through old newspaper articles and also find out the names of the previous owners and then search for death certificates. “If you’re really worried, hire a detective,” he said…

…“For many of my investor clients, death smells of opportunity and sometimes joy,” Mr. Bailey wrote in an e-mail message. “Death and suicide of an owner may result in a lower priced sale from the estate than the sale price on the free market.”…


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