Remember “The Amityville Horror”? It was a huge late-1970s bestseller and movie about a family that was terrorized by a house of evil spirits. It turned out to be a hoax, but there was one part of the story that was just as terrifying, yet absolutely true.

In 1974, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo, Jr., used a rifle to kill his parents and four younger siblings as they slept in their large Dutch Colonial home at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, N.Y. The house remained empty until it was purchased by the Lutz family 13 months later at a bargain price of $80,000.

When notorious murders make headlines for weeks or even months, homebuyers typically know what they’re getting themselves into. But what happens when someone dies in a house by way of murder or natural causes? Does the real estate agent have to disclose this potential deal-breaker to the buyer?

Yes and no.

According to an article on boston.com, real estate agents are “not required to affirmatively disclose that there might have been a homicide or suicide on the property.” This means that they are not required to offer the information, but they are expected to confirm the information if asked. So, ask.

The article goes on to talk about paranormal activity, which is another little detail that may be left out by an agent looking to unload a property that may or may not have a few ghosts rattling chains in the master bedroom at midnight.

If you’re a buyer, do your homework before you embark on a tour of available properties. If you’d like help creating a list of questions, please get in touch.

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.