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Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

As long as the buyer is willing to pay whatever penalties as a result of cancelling a contract... I get asked this question more often than one realizes if someone died in a home. With some cultures, it's really a big deal and we need to respect that.

Jul 13, 2016 09:29 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Make it a cash deal and settle today.



Give the seller enough money to go live in a hotel until settlement day.

Jul 13, 2016 02:07 PM
Sharon Altier
Coldwell Banker Realty - Elmhurst, IL
Luxury Property Specialist, CSC, SFR

I had a discussion with a Buyer about that within the past year.  I reminded him that people have died on almost all the property around us...streets, etc., cemetaries built over...and there is no way to know, with certainty, if someone had NOT died on the parcel at some time.  We talked about the services that will "clear the air" of homes, etc...

Jul 13, 2016 01:52 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

I would definitely be calling title to see if we could up the closing date.  Mark

Jul 13, 2016 01:38 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Should have made it a special stipulation.... 

This contract is contingent upon no one leaving this life inside the home prior to closing. 



Jul 13, 2016 02:59 PM
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

I had the same thing only the buyer who I had found out that the seller had passed away and wanted to cancel the deal until it was proved that she passed away in assisted living not the condo they were buying.

Jul 13, 2016 02:08 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

My first reaction is, it's not worth worrying about. If the potentially dying person dies, the contract and listing agreement dies with him anyway. Many people will say that the person died in the ambulance on way to hospital.

Jul 13, 2016 09:11 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

"Well then, let's get moving and get this closed quickly, are you prepared to move up the closing date?"

Jul 13, 2016 02:33 PM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

"Let's take a look at NEW CONSTRUCTION. This is the only assurance a buyer has regarding your concern. But we still do not know what may have occurred on the property 100, 200, 300, 500 years ago. How do you handle that?"

Jul 13, 2016 11:48 PM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Many Eastern Religions believe in this .

Jul 13, 2016 06:55 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I would have lined up a priest, or minister or whatever his religion is to do an exorcism..LOL, seriously, I am glad the seller is still with us...saves you a heap of trouble.  A

Jul 13, 2016 02:08 PM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

I have no idea how I would respond to that. I hope it never happens to me.

Jul 13, 2016 01:19 PM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

   Some have answered your question that it should have been written into the offer as a contingency.  I am not sure how that would go over with the Seller, when they are reviewing offers (a clause that says, "If Seller dies, Buyer can cancel the transaction").

   The legal issue is if there is only one Seller, and the Buyer walks, are the heirs prepared to file suit for specific performance?

   However, Nina Hollander 's point is good.  Some cultures (particularly certain Asian cultures) will perceive it as a bad thing.

Jul 14, 2016 12:25 AM
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

Firstly, I'm glad your Seller survived!  I can understand if it were a violent death ie murder or suicide but a person dying of natural causes with their family at their side, in a home they loved - that I don't get!  I imagine that many many homes have had people pass in them and we'll never know!

Jul 13, 2016 11:46 PM
Anthony Acosta - ALLATLANTAcondos.com
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker


Jul 13, 2016 10:51 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Oswego, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

You bought it! You can default and lose your deposit! You can close and relist it! You cannnot cancel and walk away as if you never contracted to buy it!

Jul 13, 2016 10:43 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

Well, everyone has their personal preferences or superstitions. Can't do anything about it but think about all the so called 'jixed' houses out there where people have died? Seems nuts to me.

Maybe have a house cleansing which is just as obscure. Who knows if that works.

I did have someone tell me once at an open house saying she 'was sensitive' & that the owner was standing behind me & that she indeed had died in the house. Not much you can ever say to that! 

Jul 13, 2016 10:27 PM
Bob Betel
Allstar Home Mortgage, Inc. - Sweetwater, TN
President, Allstar Home Mortgage, Inc

Sorry Debbie Reynolds , but I am one of those people myself. I saw the TV show, Major Crimes last night that had a murder in the pool of the house they wanted to buy. Multiple offers on the house, but everyone cancelled except for one, then they found black mold, and they cancelled. No thanks, just give me a new house or an recent house with young kids in it. I love the older homes built in like 1900, but could never buy one or live in one. But thanks just me

Jul 13, 2016 10:12 PM
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

Well I just don't know what to say, it's certainly a disturbing contingency :(

Jul 13, 2016 08:55 PM
Katina Hargrove 352-551-0308
Stake Your Land Realty, Inc. - Eustis, FL
Broker/Owner, SFR®, e-PRO®, GRI, AHWD, REALTOR®

Debbie Reynolds,

I am glad the seller is doing well.  Tell the buyer that seller is moving no matter what. His spirit would not stick around but would be moving too.

Jul 18, 2016 12:48 AM
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

I recently had this come up. A death in a house bothers some people. I respect that. If I know it I disclose it. A seller's agent doesn't have to disclose that in CO. 

Jul 17, 2016 12:20 PM
Tony Lewis
Summit Real Estate Group - Valencia, CA
Summit Real Estate Group Valencia & Aliso Viejo

Debbie Reynolds this is a very reasonalbe reason to cancel a contract.  Many of our clients here in Southern California won't buy or look at a home if someone had died in the home.  The big problem we are facing is Hospice which, in many cases, leads to a death in the home.

Jul 16, 2016 07:18 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

We dealt with this one selling my mother's house.  A live one decided not to make an offer when we said, yes.  My mother preferred a home hospice situation and the buyer freaked out.  And it was better to have that happen before instead of after an offer was submitted and accepted.

Jul 16, 2016 04:15 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

Response:  I have no control over that. Unless it is a condition written in the offer ... there may be no recourse ... However, if I represent the seller, that conversation needs to be had with the buyer and their agent. 

Jul 14, 2016 06:31 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA
https://HugginsHomes.com - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

If the contingencies hadn't been removed, that's legit in CA.  Out here you have to disclose if someone died w/in 3 years in the house (used to be 7 years).  If the contingencies have been removed, they will need to kiss their deposit goodbye... unless the death causes an issue with the ownership of the house.

Jul 14, 2016 06:06 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

I've had queries of that nature as wel: "did the last owner die in the home?" . The answer was no.  Maybe some sort of spirit expulsion?

Jul 14, 2016 05:34 AM
Sandy Padula & Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Florida Realty Investments - , CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

I can see that happening; though it has never happened to me.

Jul 14, 2016 04:44 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

I'm not sure what I would do.  Most likely talk to a real estate attorney.

Jul 14, 2016 04:42 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

They better not be admitted to the hospital if that's the case.  People die there all the time.  Patients die in hospital beds, in the ER, in the OR and those beds/gurneys are used again and again.  If they are "dead" spirits, then what are they worried about?  It's the "living" spirits that are the problem . . . LOL

Jul 14, 2016 03:15 AM
Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

We're talking an ailing seller, right? Not the OJ Simpson murder scene or the Amityville Horror house? We have a few stigmatized properties in our area - they do sell for significantly less than they "shoud." But a house that a person died in - that doesn't affect the selling price.

Glad the seller has recovered. 

Jul 14, 2016 02:40 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

A buyer(or a seller) can do whatever they like but there may be legal and/or financial obligations associated with breaking a contract which are best addressed with legal counsel.   

Jul 14, 2016 02:15 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Parek and reading, have never had this one Debbie.

Jul 14, 2016 02:08 AM
Harry F. D'Elia III
WEDO Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

I would not let that stop me from purchasing a home.

Jul 14, 2016 12:12 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Given that different cultures do have trouble with this sort of thing . . . I might ask buyer if having the seller ill in the house is also a problem, or if we should find a home with a less complicated situation. Then again, I can think of several homes where someone not only died, but killed others that sold like hotcakes. This is, to me, a hybrid of 'attorney question' and 'buyer and seller can agree to anything they both will agree to'. Not sure the seller would have signed off on such a provision, though.

Jul 13, 2016 11:56 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Glad it closed.

Jul 13, 2016 11:26 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Debbie Reynolds I would amend the contract for the seller to forfeit a substantial EMD.

Jul 13, 2016 11:09 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Let's get this done right away...! What is the fastest & best way to get a hold of you for signatures, appointments etc.

Jul 13, 2016 11:06 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

So glad to hear the seller is still alive and things are moving forward..could have been fraught with problems!

Jul 13, 2016 10:47 PM
Chrissi Chapman Topoleski
Coldwell Banker Realty - Woodbridge, VA
Helping agents live an exceptional life!

I had buyer clients who wanted me to ask the seller's agent, and no one had died. Not sure what would have happened if the answer was yes.

Jul 13, 2016 10:44 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Wow crazy situation.  Not sure what I would have said; however, I could understand the buyers reason.

Jul 13, 2016 10:06 PM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Coldwell Banker Realty

Jeff Pearl nailed this one!


Jul 13, 2016 09:46 PM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

The buyer is in very poor taste to say it in that manner. I have had REO homes where there has been a death and many people do avoid them

Jul 13, 2016 09:35 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

If they don't want to buy the house if the seller dies in the home before closing, they should have that information in the contract (although I haven't seen this clause yet!). I'm betting that contract language would keep the seller around!

I'm glad to hear this specific seller revived.

Jul 13, 2016 09:34 PM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

It depends on what the contract provides in a situation like this. Whether in the home or outside of the home, if the seller died before closing, we may have other problems than just a potential cancellation. 

Jul 13, 2016 08:33 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Settle quickly.

Jul 13, 2016 08:19 PM
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

As long as it wasn't from the mold in the house or falling through the roof, I doubt the HOUSE spirits would be upset. We do have to disclose a violent death or suicide here in California within, as Endre Barath, Jr. says, within a 3 year period.

Jul 13, 2016 06:37 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

I know a tenant who's mom passed away in the ambulance. She has a chronic heart issues.

Son is superticious thinking he can not coup with it-military captain. House is a 1931 and I don't know how many have passed away over the years.


Jul 13, 2016 05:31 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Wow, that is a tough one... Sad...but it is life...people do not live forever....I had once a lovely young lady who was terminally ill( cancer) and wanted to spend her last days with her family....home. If I were her, I would want the same....

She was a renter... I did disclosure since we are required.....and yes, for many clients it was an immediate turn off. 

Jul 13, 2016 05:10 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Debbie in CA you have to disclose three years if someone passed away... now with that said usually buyers have no problem when some one passes away due to natural causes and loved living in the home... generally people get concerned when it has been due to a violent crime...Endre

Jul 13, 2016 04:45 PM
Kartik Subramaniam
Adhi Schools, LLC - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Market Analysis--Educational Content, Adhi Schools

I'm happy it worked out so we can laugh at this and not lament the loss of a commission. I have no idea what I would say in that situation but seems like some people here would be prepared. 

Jul 13, 2016 03:58 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Burlington, MA
Metro Boston Homes For Sale

Debbie Reynolds - very tricky! Not sure how I'd answer that for sure....

Jul 13, 2016 03:54 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Glad to hear things are moving ahead. I suppose if the seller had died the status could also depend on any will vs. probate, etc. Thank goodness no worries there

Jul 13, 2016 01:48 PM