FAIRLAWN, Ohio - When renting or buying a home people are quick to question the costs, condition of the property, crime rate and school system, but there is another factor that can impact the bottom line.
A violent death occurring inside of a house can reduce the property value by 25% according to real estate experts and often nearly double the time needed to sell it.
“They’re considered stigmatized homes,” said Jeff Fox, a V.P. with Stouffer Reality in Fairlawn, “Like violent occurrences, it could be a death, maybe even suicide, or may even be a sexual predator.”
In 2014 Stouffer Reality listed and sold the childhood home of serial killer Jeffery Dahmer located in Bath Township.
Fox says honesty is essential when dealing with a stigmatized house.
Ohio and other states do not require sellers to disclose deaths. However, if a house is 'haunted' that information is considered material and pertinent to the sale, and could result in legal action if a person lies.
A predicament a S.C. software engineer Roy Condrey faced; which him to create DiedInHouse.com.
The website searches over 118 million records and provides information on any murders, suicides, fires and meth activity.
Prices start around twelve dollars, but Jeff says there are other ways to find out that information for free. You can learn previous owners names by searching the county auditors records online; then cross reference the names through newspaper archives.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency also updates a list of known meth contaminated houses online HERE.
But Jeff says the simplest and most direct resource available is right next door.
“We always know the neighbors are the best source of information,” said Jeff.
But he says if all of that fails and you find yourself in a nightmare scenario, remember a good attorney and realtor are ready to help.