Would You Live in a Home that was the Scene of a Crime?

Would You Live in a Home that was the Scene of a Crime?

Dabney Frake
May 30, 2013

This is a popular question in the game of "Would You...?" Would you knowingly live in a house where a murder or other violent crime took place? Or where you knew someone had died tragically?

A morbid topic to be sure, but an interesting real estate dilemma nonetheless. If you decided to buy a home with such a past, what would it take? A drastically reduced price? A difficult housing market? Does it matter if it was an unknown suicide victim, or the home of an infamous serial killer like John Wayne Gacy? Do you have a threshold for creepy?

Odds are good your prospective property is free of the more dramatic stories. However, especially if you live in an older home, chances are very good that someone died in your house at some junction. (Growing up in Vermont, my bedroom had what was affectionately called a "coffin window" — rumored as a means to get pine boxes around narrow stairs and out of the house.)

Depending on the state you live in, realtors may or may not be required to tell you the so-called psychological history of the house. If you want to ward off the heebie jeebies, do some research before you sign any contract. At the very least:
  • Google the address: If Charles Manson was up to no good in your house, the Internet will surely tell you.
  • Ask the neighbors: Never a bad idea anyway, but you definitely want to watch for any pained expressions on their faces when you tell them you're interested in the house next door.
Happy house hunting!

(Image: ShutterstockWikipedia)

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