How to Find out if Someone Died in Your House

To find out if someone has died in your house, you may find the answer through online searches, local archives, or talking to people who live in the area.
Written by Melanie Krieps Mergen
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Jul 07, 2022
While some states require real estate agents to inform buyers when a death has occurred in a home for sale, that’s not always the case. To check if someone died in your house, you’ll typically need to do some research yourself, like searching your home’s address online and investigating local news sources and community archives.
People with different cultures, religions, and backgrounds will have different attitudes toward death and varying levels of comfort living in a home where someone has died—but regardless of your background, it’s not uncommon to want to know this information.
Knowing whether a death has occurred in your home could also alert you to safety issues in the house and surrounding neighborhood. Home and
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Do buyers need to be informed of deaths in a house?

Depending on the state where you live, your realtor or seller may be required to disclose that a death has occurred in the home before you buy it, but this isn’t always the case. 
When the death occurred can impact what a seller is required to disclose. In
, for instance, a real estate agent must disclose deaths that occurred within the last three years. If the incident happened before that, they’re only required to tell you if you ask first. 
In other states, the nature of the death has an impact on requirements.
South Dakota
also require that buyers be informed of only murders or suicides that occurred within the last year.

How to check if someone has died in your house

Whether you live in a state that requires the disclosure of previous deaths in a house, there are several ways you can go about finding out the answer yourself.

Ask the seller or your real estate agent

One way to find out whether someone has died in your home is simply to ask the real estate agent or seller. Depending on your state, the realtor may or may not be required to tell you, but you’ll never know until you try.

Search the home’s address

Entering a prospective home’s address in a search engine is a simple but effective first step to finding out if something notable has occurred in the house. This doesn’t have to be a death, but there could be other events that are worth knowing about, like certain crimes or house fires.

Research public records tied to the home’s address

Census records, deeds, and death certificates are all examples of documents that could be connected to a home’s address.

Search your community’s local news site

Even if your prospective home’s address isn’t explicitly named, you may be able to discover incidents tied to the house by using keywords associated with more general items, like the street or neighborhood name, or the names of past owners.
It’s possible you may also come across obituaries of a previous owner that note that the deceased person died in their home.

Visit local community archives or genealogical societies

Your local library’s archives and regional genealogical societies may have records containing information about the house and previous inhabitants. 
If you’re lucky, they’ll be staffed by people who know the community like the back of their hand and might know the answers you’re looking for themselves or will at least be able to point you in the right direction.

Talk to neighbors

You don’t have to risk scaring your neighbors from the get-go by asking about deaths—you can simply ask what they know about the house and people who have lived there over the years. 
If you’ve done research on the home ahead of time and suspect a death might have occurred on the property, the information you’ve found can help you steer the conversation gently in that direction. 
Plus, talking to neighbors can give you a general sense of what people in the neighborhood are like and how well they know each other.

Use online databases

Some websites keep track of various events that happen on properties, from crimes to fires to deaths. Examples include
Some are free to use (and will have dubious levels of credibility), while others may require you to pay to search their records. Use these resources at your own discretion.
You can also review census records via the
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
or online databases set up by your area’s vital records office, which can be particularly helpful if you live in an older home.

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