- Ask Your Real Estate Agent
- Check Public Records
- Ask the Neighbors
- Look For News Reports
- Ask the Previous Owners
- Run a Google Search
- Check the Seller Disclosure Statement
1. Ask Your Real Estate Agent
The best way to find out if someone died in your house is to ask your realtor. Though they are not legally required to tell you if a house has been a site of death, most real estate agents will be upfront if you ask them about it. Moreover, many states have laws that require agents to be truthful if directly asked about deaths in the home.
2. Check Public Records
Another way to find out if someone has died in your house is by looking at the public records associated with the house. Many jurisdictions will have a legal mandate requiring public records to address any deaths or serious crimes that have been witnessed on-premises. You can do this by asking the town for information on the home.
3. Ask The Neighbors
If you want to know if someone died in your house, you can also ask the neighbors. In most cases, neighbors will be ready and willing to tell you about the home’s history. However, this isn’t always a reliable method. Some neighbors might be out of touch with the community, while others might make gossip a game.
4. Look For News Reports
If a murder occurred on the premises or the home was the site of a suspicious death, there’s a good chance that you might be able to hear about your home in the headlines. On a similar note, many obituaries will also mention if someone died in the home. Check to see if a former owner’s obituary mentions it.
5. Ask the Previous Owners
Another great way to find out if someone died in your house is by asking the previous owners. Though some may not want to be honest about it, many owners will be transparent about the home’s history. In some cases, it might even be the reason why they’re choosing to sell the house. Even if you don’t expect them to be forthright, it’s worth a shot at the very least.
6. Run a Google Search
Another way to check if anyone has died in your house is to run a Google search for online stories regarding the house. If your neighborhood is well-known among paranormal investigators, you might be able to find out about your house’s history from online forums that detail excursions. Oddly enough, this can help you figure out if someone died in the house.
7. Check The Seller Disclosure Statement
The seller's disclosure might also mention deaths in a house. Even if it doesn't the seller disclosure statement might be able to give some clues as to what happened in the house. For example, if there was a disclosure for fire damage, you might be able to further inquire if anyone was harmed in the fire, so keep an eye out for strange disclosure gaps
Here’s something pretty twisted: there’s a good chance that your agent does not have to disclose if a person died in a potential house. Some states, such as California, Alaska, and South Dakota, have laws that require realtors to disclose properties that are stigmatized due to death, hauntings, criminal activity, or other issues.
But most states don’t have “stigma” laws when it comes to house sales. This means that realtors are not legally required to say if a house has a haunted reputation or if someone died. You shouldn’t expect to have your realtor tell you if someone died in your house.
Though it’s not something discussed on paper, it can affect your property value, especially if someone was murdered in the house. Depending on the deaths, it could cause a serious drop in demand as well as home value. Sometimes, it can exceed 3 percent of the home’s value.
If someone died in a newer house, the value will be affected more than in an older home. This is especially true with 19th-century homes since it was common practice to die at home during that point in history.
The most commonly-used service is DiedInHouse.com, which lets you find out if there are any known records of people dying in a specific house. It gets pricey, though—approximately $12 per search!
As with any online search tool, it’s essential to realize that the information you’re getting is based on public reports as well as volunteered information from local residents. The site itself makes a point of having a disclaimer that there’s no guarantee to the accuracy of the information. In general, it seems to have good records starting in the 1980s as that’s when information on deaths in homes become public record in most parts of the country. The site also claims to gather historical information that goes further back, but it certainly isn’t perfect.
However, most people who use it agree that there is a decent amount of accuracy provided by the service. So while it’s not 100 percent accurate, it usually is accurate enough to be relied upon.
The fastest way to find out if someone died in a house is to pay a small fee to a company like DiedInHouse.com to run a check.
Most of the free methods you can use to determine your potential home’s morbid history will be time-consuming or unreliable. This is why it often makes sense to look it up online through a professional service.
Here’s the problem with trying to figure out if someone died in your house: it’s not always that cut and dry. Public records are not exactly known for being very detailed, especially back in the old days of pen-and-paper recordkeeping.
Many parts of the country have histories that weren’t fully caught on paper, or if they were, had records that were lost to time. As a result, you cannot guarantee that you will find the full history of any house on the market. It’s just not really reasonable.
There are plenty of ways to find out if someone has died in your house. You can pay a small fee to find out about deaths in your home, or you can find out for free, as long as you're willing to put in the effort. If you're lucky, your real estate agent can find out for you, or you can easily run a search on DiedInHouse.com for $12. But finding out if someone died in your house for free is also relatively easy as you can search public records, disclosure statements, and online news and databases.