Monday, June 9, 2014

Haunted house? What to do if you buy a home and then find someone has suicided there.

Often life throws a curve ball at us and sometimes in quite unexpected ways. Take for example, the case of the couple who brought a house in good faith, only to find the home to be depressing and ‘dark,’ once they moved in. They became depressed and put the home on the market again and at the time of sale were told by a neighbour that there had been a suicide before they had brought it. The new owners found out and were upset and also sold the home on. The agents were subsequently taken to account and although they paid no compensation, it was found that they should have made prospective buyers aware of the ‘issues.
This is a hard one. Fault seems to be the wrong word and divulging information may well have had an effect on the price or even contribute to a non-sale for many buyers, however for some, it may have been down to some sort of ‘spiritual cleansing,’ and that may have been enough. I can only say that for myself, I would like to have been made aware and then taken things from there. Whether that would have translated into a lower price, I do not know.
This issue must arise a great deal in markets where the homes are hundreds of years old; take in Europe for example. How do they deal with the situation? Is a ‘blessing’ by a priest or other spiritual leader, enough? For sure, as New Zealand comes ‘of age,’ this vexing issue will arise again. Given that, maybe we need to have the discussion and find a way forward that satisfies all eventualities. To be given the choice as to what to do, very much depends on having the correct information about a property. After all, if a property is flood-prone, we are at least aware and can adjust our actions accordingly. Te be warned is to be prepared and be able to make appropriate decisions.