FAQ – “There was a death in the home that I just listed for sale. Am I required to disclose this to the buyer?”
In this video Steve Jamieson, Managing Broker of RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside, reveals some surprising news with regards to disclosure of death or other events causing a property to be described as “stigmatized” or ‘‘ psychologically impacted.”
Here’s a brief summary:
Stigmatized property or psychologically impacted property
Structural and mechanical issues aside, there are other individual or cultural concerns a buyer may have when choosing a home.
These can include:
- Death (even by natural causes)
- Violent crimes
- A sex offender living in the neighbourhood
- An organized crime gang member lived at the residence
- Robberies or vandalism at the property
- The property is reported to be haunted
This is a very tricky area, because stigmatized properties are difficult to define and your duties depend on if you are representing the seller, the buyer or both.
Also, a seller may have no knowledge of events that occurred prior to them owning the property, or their beliefs / tolerance levels may be vastly different to those of a potential buyer.
Here’s the surprise:
As a listing agent in British Columbia, you are not required to disclose what is referred to as a “stigmatized property” unless you are asked.
You must disclose any events that you have knowledge of when questioned.
The lesson for buyer’s agents
As a buyer’s agent, if you know that your buyer is sensitive to these issues, then it is your duty to make these inquiries of the listing agent.
For a more comprehensive explanation about this sensitive issue and what happens in a Limited Dual Agency situation, please refer to your Professional Standard Manual.
Please note: The Frequently Asked Question video series is used for training purposes within our group of RE/MAX offices. If you are licensed at a different brokerage, you must refer to your own Managing Broker for advice.