How to Find Out if Someone Died in Your House

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How can I find out if something happened in my house?

To help you in your quest for property knowledge, here are eight ways to find out the history of your house and the land it sits on: Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office. Local assessor’s office. Census records. Local library or historical society archives. DiedInHouse.com. Local history books. NETROnline.com.

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3. Ask The Neighbors

In many cases, neighbors will be ready and willing to tell you about the home’s history. However, this isn’t always a reliable method. Some neighbors might be out of touch with the community, while others might make gossip a game.

What Are The Websites That Show If Someone Died In The House?

The most commonly-used service is DiedInHouse.com, which lets you find out if there are any known records of people dying in a specific house. It gets pricey, though—approximately $12 per search!

Search Address on Google

The next best (and free) way to find out any dirt about your property would be through searching the address on a search engine like Google. You might be able to find some online news articles or contemporaneous information on blogs or forums.

Quick tip: Try entering the house number and street name in quotes and leave the type of road (Avenue, Street, etc) outside of those quotes. For example, the search 123 Main Street NW becomes “123 Main Street” NW. This will help broaden the search results and may turn up more information about your house. If it’s too broad, try including the type of road in quotes as well.

Also, try a Twitter Search while you’re at it. Sometimes you’ll find addresses mentioned by newscasters people who report on information over police scanners. Doesn’t hurt to try!

Think about the house’s age

If you’re living in an older home, it’s more likely than not that someone over the years has died in the house. There are a lot of historic and often spooky homes around the US. If this feels too spooky for you, you probably shouldn’t be looking to buy an older home. 

Can I view a death certificate online UK?

An online search of the General Register Office (GRO) on the other hand, can help you find death records between 1837 to 1957 and 1984 to 2019 for free. It gives you the name of the person registered, age at death, and the year of their registration.

Try

There’s an entire site dedicated to finding out if someone died in your house, aptly named DiedInHouse.com. This website was founded in 2013 to solve that very question. Each search (one per address) costs $11.99 and will also notify you if your property is stigmatized in any other way, like have been used as a meth lab or to house sex offenders.

The catch is that the website pulls information largely collected after 1980, meaning that you may have trouble obtaining information on deaths prior to that point. However, the website is legitimate and provides valuable information.

Out of curiosity, I shelled out the cash to run a report on my address.

DiedInHouse can’t find any verified deaths a 

DiedInHouse can’t find any verified deaths at my property. And apparently, my home wasn’t used to house a sex offender or meth operation – that’s good. However, they do include an interesting disclaimer when listing past residents:

This means that someone probably died at or near m

This means that someone probably died at or near my home. Rest assured, I will update this article if and when I begin noticing any ghouls or spirits. 

Overall, DiedInHouse provides a comprehensive amount of information about a home and those who are particularly fascinated about their home’s history will find it worth the price. Some may wish to remain willfully ignorant, though!

Looking for a free alternative to DiedInHouse? Try HouseCreep, which has a database of thousands of different stigmatized properties.

Ask Your Real Estate Agent

Since search engines and courthouses can involve a huge amount of data, this tip might be the easiest: Ask your real estate agent. Though disclosure laws vary state by state (more on that later), your real estate agent might know up front if a death has occurred in a property. 

Ask your neighbors if someone died in your house

While it may feel uncomfortable, if you’re really nervous about someone having died in the house, it’s worth reaching out to neighbors about the history of the home. If they’ve been living in the area a while, they’ll likely know the history of the home. Remember, neighbors know a lot, so buddy up with them and get some answers. 

#2: Ask the seller and the Real Estate Agent

Suppose you ask the seller and their real estate a direct and specific question about past deaths at the home, irrespective of what it says on the seller disclosure form. Must they answer? On a balance of probabilities — yes, they probably should.

The law regarding death disclosures is unfortunately gray. Some states actively protect sellers and real estate agents who say nothing about previous deaths.

Yet homebuyers in other states have successfully sued sellers for keeping quiet about grisly past events. Professional bodies such as the National Association of Realtors routinely advise their members to be open and upfront about known stigmas in the homes they are selling, lest they face a lawsuit from disgruntled homebuyers.

For homebuyers the advice is simple: if you want to know something, ask. Most real estate agents will supply the information you are looking for. Just makes sure you know what you are asking.

All the case law on the subject of death disclosures concerns properties that have witnessed a murder, suicide or haunting. So far, no homebuyer has successfully sued a home seller for failing to disclose a normal, peaceful death in the home. Remember those home deaths were once commonplace.

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There’s a good chance that an older home has witnessed the death of an occupant, and neither the seller not their agent will know about it.

#4: Cross Reference Previous Owners With Death Records

If you have plenty of time on your hands, you can try cross-referencing the names of previous owners of the property with local death records. This requires a lot of legwork.

To find the names of previous owners, ask the seller if they have an abstract of title.

The property’s abstract is a condensed history of all the deeds, mortgages and probate records relating to the home. Abstracts go back to the first construction date and should list all previous owners of the property.

If the seller doesn’t have an abstract — and most won’t, since many abstracts were routinely destroyed when title insurance became commonplace — visit the county recorder’s office.

Here you can check all recorded deeds relating to the property. It’s a laborious exercise, especially if the records are not computerized.

First, you will have to find your deed in the deed book, then use the referencing on that document to locate the preceding transaction and so on, back to the point the property’s records began.

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The recorder can show you the quickest way to accomplish this task.

Armed with your list of previous owners, it’s time to check the death records. Various genealogy websites list death records online. Most ask you to simply type in the name of the previous owner, and the search engine will return a death record showing when and where they died.

Sounds easy, right? There’s a catch. The county deed book records former owners of the property, not who actually lived there. Wives, children, renters and so on may be missing from your list.

Also, a death certificate will not usually tell you whether the deceased died in the home, in a hospital or somewhere else, so you may be left with a lot of unanswered questions.

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Visit Your Countys Vital Records Office

Plain and simple, most death certificates list a place of death. Visit your county’s vital records office or website, and you can find listings of death certificates. From there, you can check if the address in question is on any of the certificates.

This information should be free, Supplee says, so be wary of websites that charge a fee, although they can be useful in sifting through large amounts of information for you. You can also visit your local library, where librarians should be able to assist with finding archival information such as newspaper clippings that might include an obituary with the address in question.

Further Research to Find Out if Someone Died in Your House

If you have tried these other methods but still haven’t found a satisfactory answer, there are still things you can do to research the property.

If you are interested in buying a really old house, you can check census records to tell you about the people who previously lived in the home. There are confidentiality rules that mean this information remains hidden for 72 years, but you can search old census records from as early as 1790 to the middle of the last century.

Even if you do this type of research, it isn’t necessarily going to tell you if someone’s died in the home. But the older the home is, the more likely it is that one or more people have died there.

It is estimated that one in five people die in their homes nowadays, and in the past, that figure was likely to be higher. In this case, you might be more concerned about violent deaths, and archives can be revealing for information like that news.

Your library might have digitized archives of historical newspapers, or you’ll be able to search microfilms. The local historical society could be another source of local newspaper archives. They might also be able to give you good advice on finding the property’s death history.

If nothing is uncovered, it will put your mind at ease, and you’ll also likely find out a lot of interesting stuff about the home and the local area in the process.

Does a Death in a Home Affect the Value?

One of the questions folks wonder is whether death can impact property values. There are many factors that influence as appraisal but death in a property isn’t usually one of them.

If a homicide has happened in a home, it will put off many people from wanting to live there. Murders in a house are a turnoff for many prospective home buyers. Even if a death occurred in the distant past, buyers might be concerned about being haunted.

Whether their concerns stem from personal experience or they have watched too many horror movies, it’s likely to negatively affect the price. Most potential buyers aren’t going to sweat a death from natural causes.

A violent murder or known haunted house could be a much different story affecting property value. For a certain percentage of buyers, it will be a deal-breaker.

Though it might not bother you, it could become an issue when you eventually sell the house. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to find out as much as possible about the home before you commit your money to buying.

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