Purchasing a home or property is a big decision and it is important to get all of the information you can before you make a decision. For many people, finding out that a serious crime was committed on a property is a deal breaker, and sellers are not always required to tell you about past crimes. There are some things you can do, however, to find out if a crime was committed before you make a purchase.
Ask your real estate agent. Even though a broker might not legally have to divulge information about a crime, most will do so if asked directly. According to real estate agent Diane Saatchi of Long Island, New York, it is good business for agents to be upfront about crimes and other property stigmas. Most agents will not want a reputation for withholding pertinent information, so they will be honest.
Talk to the neighbors. Housing Watch.com says that neighbors know almost everything that happens in an area, and they can be a good source of information about the neighborhood.
Research the property through public records, police records and online searches. Housing Watch.com says that police records can tell you when and why police were at a residence, and city records can tell you if a house was rebuilt.
Buyers tend to avoid homes with sordid pasts; if you are the only buyer interested, you may be able to negotiate a discount.
Check state law. In some areas, seller's are required to disclose certain types of horrific crime.
Crime scenes and other so-called stigmatized properties take longer to sell and usually sell at a discount. You may have difficulty selling the property quickly later on.
Based in Harker Heights, Texas, Timothy Onkst has been writing about sports, fitness and health since 2003. His articles have appeared in a variety of publications including "Texas Roundball" magazine, Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports and other websites.