Some time ago, there was an unfortunate incident at a house near us where a man committed suicide. When his estate put the house up for sale, they found it was a hard sell because many people knew the history and wouldn’t even consider the house.
This is something my wife and I have discussed. To me, a house is a house. It becomes a home when you live in it. But my wife disagrees. She doesn’t want to be in a house where there was any kind of violent event. More people are probably like her than me. How do I know? This house near us sat and sat and sat while others around it sold quite nicely. Finally, somebody who thought like me came by and got a steal of a deal!
What story does your house tell?
Houses tell stories. You may not know the story until it causes a burden to you. In most states, there’s no requirement that a real estate agent disclose to you if a death occurred at a home. But now there’s a website that addresses this problem head-on. It’s called DiedinHouse.com. For $12, they’ll comb through millions of records and generate a report for you that may include any or all of the following info:
- Has a death occurred?
- Who died at that house?
- When did the person die?
- What was the cause of death?
- List of names associated to the address
- Vitality status of previous residents
- Additional information about the death
- Reported meth activity, including labs, ‘dumpsites’ or ‘chemical and glassware’ seizures
- Reported fire incidents related to the address
But deaths are just one back story. Another back story that really is relevant to wallet is your C.L.U.E. Report.
Your C.L.U.E. report (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) will tell you if a house has had a homeowners insurance claim against it. When you buy a house, insurance companies may refuse to write you a home policy or they may charge you massive premiums if there are prior claims on that property — even if they pre-date your ownership of the place.
During the seller disclosure process, ask the seller to pull the C.L.U.E. report. It’s free for them to do as the owners. If that report is clear, you can breathe easy and move ahead in the due diligence process.
Other databases you might consider looking at before making a home purchase are the FBI Sex Offender Registry and the EPA’s EnviroMapper, where you can search info on air releases, drinking water, toxic releases, hazardous wastes and more by zip code.
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