Realtors not required to disclose murders, suicides at properties

If you are in the market to buy a home, would it ever cross your mind to ask, "Did anyone die in this house?"

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After a home that was the scene of a quadruple murder was put on the market, many wonder if a seller must legally disclose the history of the home.

In October 2014, 1846 Western Ave. was wrapped in crime scene tape. A Chinese family of four – a mom, dad and two young children – were murdered.

The crime remains unsolved.

The home has since been newly landscaped, has new siding and was renovated. It was sold by the victim’s family for $30,000. Currently, it’s on the market for $199,000.

Most Guilderland residents know of the home’s disturbing history, but a potential buyer may not. A local realtor says the seller is not legally required to share the disturbing facts.

“The answer is no,” Brian Sinkoff, a Berkshire Hathaway realtor, said. “You do not have to disclose a death, murder or suicide; even ghosts.”

It is a New York State law.

“That’s an immaterial defect. What I mean by that is that it’s not something you can touch,” Sinkoff explained. “A material defect, a roof has a hole in it; the house is leaning to the right. And, you as a realtor, you have the obligation to disclose that to a potential buyer. If it’s an immaterial defect, a ghost, a previous murder, you by law, you do not have the obligation to tell a potential buyer.”

Sinkoff says a good agent will disclose that information, but he said it’s important to be an informed buyer.

Michael Bueb and his wife purchased the notorious Porco home when they moved from downstate. The house is where Peter Porco and his wife, Joan, were attacked by an intruder who turned out to be their son. Peter died.

Bueb said he’s getting used to the attention.

“People stop by all the time,” he said. “We could be standing at the front window and we’ll just wave and say, ‘hi,’”

Bueb said he was glad his agent was up front about everything.

“She was forthcoming with everything,” he said.

Sinkoff recommends doing research on any home or property you are considering purchasing. In addition, he suggests checking crime statistics and asking the police about drug activity in the neighborhood.

Sinkoff says its best to be informed early so there are no regrets later.

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