Some risk management for death that occurred in a listed property:
Some buyers will not care about the death.
Some buyers will care about the death and might walk even last minute before closing upon learning about the death, and the buyers will eventually learn about the death (e.g., the neighbors tell, the death is in the news and the buyer "Googles" the property/address/owner) which surprise learning can cause a loss of trust and perhaps loss of future business/referrals.
Therefore, perhaps persuade the seller to disclose upfront, perhaps on the seller disclosure SCR230 RPCDS LLR. This can be in the seller’s best interests for buyers who care about the death. The seller’s disclosure is in the listing agency’s risk management interests too.
Never lie when asked about any death when the seller has not disclosed the death. You can always say diplomatically: "That is a great question. Let me write that question down. I will give the question to the seller. I can let you know when the seller responds." This is not a lie. This also protects you if you do not know about a death and perhaps the seller does not know either or the seller does know and has not disclosed the death.
If a buyer agent has a client who cares about death in the property, perhaps ask the question early (e.g., "Have any deaths occurred on the property?", pre-offer, during SCR310 due diligence), perhaps recommend the buyers hire private investigators to research the property for death and other desired information.
In South Carolina, paranormal, ghosts, and psychological stigma are not required disclosure; but disclosure may be prudent risk management for all in accordance with the above, and with "haunting" situations, it may be a marketing gimmick to advertise "The seller claims to have seen a ghost on the property" if the seller does make that claim.
Some murders or deaths may leave trace physical residue (e.g., biologics, blood stains, hazmats) which can take the issue from psychological (no required disclosure, but prudent to disclose) to physical (disclosure required).
Posted by: Byron King on 08/08/23 (This information is only accurate as of 08/08/23. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 08/07/23 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email info at screaltors.org or email byron at screaltors.org)
This information is not legal advice. This information is intended only to provide general information and may not be relied upon as specific legal guidance. Legal counsel should always be consulted before acting in reliance on this information.