Do Deaths In Homes Affect Their Sale Price?

death in home real estate valueSo here is a situation that you may find yourself in one day. Your real estate agent shows you a home, and you fall in love with it. Seriously fall in love with it. It has the right size, great design, perfect neighborhood, and a surprisingly reasonable price. That is when your realtor shatters the moment and tells you that someone died in the house. But is the dream really over?Does it matter if someone died in the house?

If someone dies in a house does it affect the sale price?

First you have to understand the kind of tragedy that took place in the home before you determine if it impacts the sale price. When something tragic happens in a home, and it becomes public knowledge, the home becomes ‘a stigmatized property‘. Do does a stigmatized property sell for less? – “it depends”.

Estate Sale of a Home

The important thing when talking about stigmatized properties is always how the general see the events that took place. Lots of older people pass away in their homes. Unless you read the obituatires you would never know. Some people check the obituaries to find possible homes to buy before they are listed for sale. In that case, the death in the home may increase the sale price.

How Do You Sell The Murder House?

Every city has ‘that murder house’, where there was a violent crime. When a home is that notorious it you may see the banks, who typically ends up inheriting the real estate, tear it down because it is just unsellable. So there a death can really impact the price of the home.
But there is a pool of buyers who do not care about what happened in the home in the past. All that they care about is getting a great deal, and a stigmatized home may offer them that.

How long can a house be stigmatized?

How long a house is stigmatized depends on how public perception changes over time. If the story persists in the media and the public’s mind the stigma can last for generations. So if you buy a stigmatized house you may save a bit of money, but you had better be prepared to sell it for less for the same reason you bought it for less.

How Do I Know if Someone Died in my Cincinnati House, or if it is a Stigmatized House?

Before you even begin a home search you should speak with a Realtor  whoactively works in the areas you are interested in. . They know the market and can answer these kinds of questions. . Beyond that  why not Google the home address and search for articles about the home? There are also services such as Died in House that runs a registry of stigmatized homes. It could be a good investment if you are concerned about things like this.

As a parting though – when celebrities die in their homes they become stigmatized too. Here are a few interesting examples.

Alison Moss is a Cincinnati real estate agent and can be reached at