How To Find Out If Someone Died In Your House (2022)

Tips For Finding Out if Someone Died in a House

The older the home is, the more likely something hSearching for your ideal home can take time. Even when you think you’ve discovered the right house, it can be hiding secrets.

The older the home is, the more likely something has happened inside that could affect whether you want to buy or not.

Many folks want to know how to find out if someone died in a house. Discovering if death in a house took place isn’t always straightforward.

When you are looking through the property listings, the death history of a home isn’t going to be immediately apparent. But even though it’s a morbid thought, it’s something you’ll want to discover before buying the property.

You probably don’t want to have been living in your home for months before you find out about a horrifying secret.

Wanting to know a home’s history before purchasing is not unusual. Many buyers will do some casual digging before submitting an offer.

It can be unsettling to hear unexplained noises or seen something out of the corner of your eye that isn’t there when you focus on it. Creaking floors or footsteps when there’s no one else in the home can be alarming.

Growing up as a kid, I lived in an older home. At times it made me uneasy when I would hear strange noises. There was no paranormal activity, but nonetheless, it got my attention.

If you don’t want to live in a haunted house, you wouldn’t be alone. But the question is how to find out if someone died in your house?

Relatively modern homes could even be hiding a secret. So finding out if someone has died in a home before you buy is a good idea. We’ll look at the things you can do to learn about the death history of a home.

How long do you have to live in a house to avoid inheritance tax?

Passing on a home can take it out of your assets and reduce the value of your estate once you die, but there are strict rules under what is known as the seven-year rule. There is normally no IHT to pay if you pass on a home, move out and live in another property for seven years.

Video

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!

What does God say about keeping ashes?

There is no Biblical precedent for cremation. Ultimately, it depends on the personal wishes of the deceased or, if no wishes were left, the feelings and preferences of those making decisions for their final arrangements. If you decide to cremate and scatter ashes, nothing in the Bible prohibits you from doing so.

Why isnt it more prominent?

While curiosity is almost universal, there is a reason that the majority of states do not require sellers to reveal deaths that occurred in the home. If an especially heinous killing occurs in residence, the property may be unnecessarily branded and devalued. However, if you are sincerely concerned that someone died in the home you are considering purchasing, conduct your investigation and speak with the neighbors.

Do some more research

If a death was suspicious (or if a murder occurred), the local paper definitely wrote an article about it. Some quick googling can show you the recent history of the home. If you think a previous owner might have died in the home, you can cross-reference past owners of the property with local death records and/or obituaries. You can find a list of previous homeowners by visiting the county recorder’s office. You will be able to find death records in your local library and obituaries in newspaper archives (also often found at a local library).

The Power of Deduction

Let’s think logically for a moment: the older your home is the odds that someone died in it. For example, back in the Victorian era, it was common for births and deaths to occur at home. For a century-old house, the odds are pretty high that at least one member of a past family died within the house; particularly given the life expectancy in the early 20th century. 

Unfortunately, this thought experiment doesn’t yield much certainty. While it may be probable that someone has died in your home in the past, finding conclusive evidence may be challenging. 

Is There Any Guaranteed Way To Discover If Someone Died In Your House?

Here’s the problem with trying to figure out if someone died in your house: it’s not always that cut and dry. Public records are not exactly known for being very detailed, especially back in the old days of pen-and-paper recordkeeping. 

Many parts of the country have histories that weren’t fully caught on paper, or if they were, had records that were lost to time. As a result, you cannot guarantee that you will find the full history of any house on the market. It’s just not really reasonable.

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. 

#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.

See also   10 Fun Facts about Las Vegas

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.

How to find out if someone died in your house

Finding out if someone died in your house isn’t as simple (or as free) as you might like. Detailed public records — especially for homes built in the pen-and-paper record keeping era — are not always accurate or reliable. Records have been lost in some areas, or were never recorded in the first place. 

You can’t always guarantee that you’ll find a complete historical record of every house on the market, but you can take some steps in the right direction.

1. Search the web

The simplest way to find out if someone died in a house is to use DiedInHouse.com. Built to fulfill a very specific need, this site uses data from more than 130 million police records, news reports, and death certificates to determine whether or not someone died at an address you search. While it may be helpful, DiedInHouse does not guarantee to be 100% accurate despite its extensive records. It’s also not free. Each search costs $11.99.

There are very few free tools that offer a similar service to DiedInHouse. HouseCreep.com is one of the only ones and it’s not as prestigious or comprehensive as DiedInHouse. Still, it’s worth trying before you spend money on a search.

2. Read the seller disclosure form

Only three states have death disclosure laws. California requires sellers to disclose deaths that occurred in the house within the past three years, while Alaska and South Dakota require disclosure of any murders or suicide that occurred in the house over the past year.

That said, it’s in the best interest of the seller to tell you the true history of the home. If you find out about an undisclosed death in the home before closing, the deal might fall through. Read over the seller disclosure form to see if anything looks suspicious or like it was purposely left blank. If you feel uneasy, talk to your agent about having a conversation with the seller about the home’s history. Realtors are not required to disclose information about deaths in homes either, but they should be willing to set up a discussion.

3. Ask your neighbors

It might be an awkward introduction to the neighborhood, but if you’re concerned about someone having died in the house, you can always ask the neighbors what they know about the house. If they’ve been in the area for a long time, they may have seen your home pass through multiple owners and be more willing to discuss the home’s history. After all, they don’t stand to gain anything from withholding information from you.

4. Do your own research

Finally, if you haven’t figured out if someone died in a house but you’re still suspicious, it’s time to roll up the sleeves and do some good old fashioned investigating.

For older houses, Census records will give you details about the identity and number of people who previously lived at an address. For privacy reasons, these records are confidential for 72 years so you won’t be able to research a specific address or individual after 1950 unless they’re a direct ancestor. Census records from 1790 to 1940 are available to the public through the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

However, if you’re wondering if someone has died in a home that was built more than 72 years in the past, you can probably just use logic. Someone probably died while living in the house. They may not have died in the house, but given that 20% of people do die in their own homes today, there’s a greater than zero chance.

If you’re more concerned about the manner of death, your local library or historical society archives may prove more useful than census records. Libraries and historical societies tend to keep archives of local newspapers, so you can research news or events around your house and the people who previously lived there. Librarians and historical society members are also good resources who may be able to point you in the right direction.

Many libraries have digitized their news archives, but there’s a chance you’ll have to search by hand or microfilm. It may be time-consuming, but at least you’ll feel like you’re in a horror film set in the 1980s, and what’s not to love about that?

Curiosity is human. But if you want to know if somebody died in your house, you are most likely not legally entitled to that information. To find out, you’ll have to do a little legwork on your own, but if it gives you peace of mind, it’s well worth the effort.

Tags