Have you ever wondered about the darker past of your home?
If so, it’s probably because your realtor didn’t tell you about it.
According to Massachusetts State law (G.L. chapter 93, s.114), realtors are not required to tell buyers if homes are “stigmatized” — a property where murders, suicides, or alleged paranormal activity took place.
The Massachusetts Association of Realtors stated, “In Massachusetts there is no requirement that real estate agents or sellers disclose that a property was the site of a felony, suicide, or homicide or that the property has been the site of an alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.
“If asked, however, a real estate agent and seller must answer truthfully and may not make a misrepresentation of fact or false statement.”
Some realtors have struggled with the concept, especially given certain buyers’ desires and fears when they’re purchasing a home.
In some instances, houses are considered so volatile from their horrendous pasts that they’re simply torn down because the realtors and owners know they’d never sell, even with the mum Mass. realty law. At least, that was the case in 2014 in Blackstone, when the single-family home at 23 St. Paul St. was torn down.
Prior to demolition, the remains of three infants were found “hidden in bags and closets” as reported by MassLive, while four children had been removed from the home and placed into the custody of the state Department of Children and Families services.
There are 63 stigmatized properties in Massachusetts as reported by HouseCreep, an organization dedicated to “finding homes with a creepy, curious, or criminal past.”
Luckily, there are a variety of options, including HouseCreep, to see if there’s real history behind that ghost in your attic.
Another helpful website is HouseNovel, a free database allowing users to search for an address, neighborhood, city, or zip code to find the history of homes in the area. Though it’s not specifically focused on the darker background, it’s helpful in finding information like the year built and pictures of the residence from decades ago.
The government also provides tools to find the chronicles of properties, such as the Bureau of Land Management and Census Records, along with your local assessor’s office, library and historical society’s archives, as US News reported. Each will have documented information on your property and you may be able to dig up some real dirt.
DiedInHouse.com is a site that tells users, for a fee of $11.99, if anyone has died at any valid U.S. address. The list of stigmatisms provided for each address includes, but is not limited to: deaths at the address and any details, names and vitality status of associated people, cause of death (if available), registered sex offenders living at the address or in the area, and nearby cemeteries.
Should you be experiencing housing discrimination based on your age, sex, sexual orientation, having a sec. 8 housing voucher, disability, race or national origin, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.