Death and Disclosure
Every state in the nation requires full disclosure of material facts. The requirement in the State of Hawaii applies only to residential properties. A buyer is entitled to information regarding things that might affect the value of the property or influence a buyer’s decision to move forward with a purchase. Interestingly, standard disclosure is not required but is encouraged, for vacant land and commercial sales.
When completed, the standard disclosure provides answers to a series of questions related to current and past property conditions, health and safety issues, permit status and issues related to the quiet enjoyment the property. Military activities, excessive noise, nightclubs, rifle ranges, racetracks, barking dogs and the like must be disclosed.
Requirements to report notorious incidents may be subject to interpretation. The term “notorious” normally brings to mind a situation related to a death on the property. Such incidents can seriously affect the value and marketability of the property and yet, state law does not require disclosure of a natural death on the property. It is the circumstance of the death that triggers the disclosure. While a suicide on the property may not be considered notorious, a homicide probably would.
I always advise sellers to disclose any death the property. Many cultures in Hawaii are very sensitive to this issue. If nothing else, such notice allows potential buyers to have the property blessed prior to moving in.
Buyers routinely visit with neighbors during the purchase process. The neighbors want to be helpful and will openly share all sorts of information with their future neighbors. Non-disclosure may give the buyer the impression that the seller might be inclined to omit other information as well. With so many elderly homeowners opting to spend their last days in the comfort of their own home, natural deaths are a fairly common disclosure.
Sharing your concerns about this issue ahead of time provides an important bit of information which will really help your agent locate your perfect piece of Paradise!