4 dead bodies but shhh! We can’t tell you about that

A Washington D.C. house where a mother killed her four children and lived with their corpses for more than a year is on the market but languishing, even though its price has been marked down to $90,000. No one is supposed to know about the dead children, though:

District real estate experts say laws such as the Fair Housing Act forbid real estate agents from disclosing information about crime in a neighborhood or a home. Real estate lawyer Brian Kass said it’s up to the buyer to ask the agent whether “anything unusual” has occurred in the house. Otherwise, the agent needn’t divulge.

“It’s illegal to reveal that type of information,” said Brookland-based Long & Foster agent Andi Fleming. “In the eyes of the bank, it doesn’t affect the value of the home.”

Give the price history, even in this market, it seems safe to assume that agents are ignoring those laws, thereby demonstrating that common sense is not yet entirely extinguished in our nation’s capital.

The home’s asking price has been sliding faster than the Dow.

It is assessed at $220,610 according to 2009 District tax records.

In September, it was listed at $163,000. In October, the bank lowered the price to $152,200. Nine days later, the price was lowered to $139,900. In December, the price was lowered to $100,000. On Feb. 6, the price was lowered to $90,900.


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8 responses to “4 dead bodies but shhh! We can’t tell you about that

  1. Anonymous

    In addition to divulging information about crime in the home or the neighborhood, what else are agents forbidden to volunteer to prospective buyers?
    Just Wondering

    • christopherfountain

      Good question – I refuse to take continuing ed classes for real estate agents and instead take a 15 minute test every two years. I pass, but I never get the equal housing questions right because they are impervious to logical deduction. I’ll look it up, but I’m pretty sure we can’t tell you whether there are children in the neighborhood (age and sex discrimination) whether there are churches or synagogues (religious discrimination, but if I were Jewish, for instance, I’d like to know that Darien has no synagogue and never has), crime rates, school reputations, etc. As I said, I’ll do some research and post on the whole subject. You’ll be amazed.

  2. Old Coot

    Sorry I followed your link and read about the words on the chalkboard. Very sad story.

  3. anne

    Wow, I thought they had to tell you if the previous owners had been murdered for example.

    • christopherfountain

      Nope – that was the law briefly, but changed. Doesn’t mean we can’t tell you, if we represent you, but a sellers rep needs authorization from her client, which is not likely to be forthcoming.

  4. anonymous

    Any prospective buyer who can’t google on own to understand crime/social dynamics of region is fairly clueless anyway

    More reasons why used houses, like used cars/underwear/cell phones, etc, are gross on many levels….

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