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Alberta residential real estate sales: Checking a home's history

Those people who believe their homes are haunted and who are thinking of selling them are in luck. When it comes to residential real estate transactions in Alberta, homeowners aren't obligated to divulge the history of their homes. So, if a homeowner believes he or she is sharing a home with otherworldly guests, it isn't necessary to divulge that belief to potential buyers.

So, in effect, it's buyer beware when it comes to a home's history. If a potential purchaser hears rumours that a home he or she is interested in may be haunted or that some gruesome crime has taken place at the residence, some investigation into the property's history may be warranted. Although homeowners aren't legally obliged to tell a purchaser about the sordid history of a house, real estate salespeople operate by a code of ethics. Chances are if a realtor knows about a home's history -- like if a crime once took place there -- he or she will tell a possible purchaser.

There are ways a purchaser can track down information on a property. An internet search on the address might dredge up some information on the home. In fact, there are websites devoted to finding sordid information on properties. Purchasers could also just talk to neighbours who may have lived in the area for quite some time and know a little about the home's history.

Purchasers could also speak to an Alberta lawyer who practices real estate law. A lawyer could even fashion a condition that goes into a residential real estate offer that speaks to such issues. A condition could even list particulars like suicide, murder, natural death, hauntings, prostitution, bootlegging etc. In the same vein, a lawyer could also assist a seller with similar issues. 

Source:, "Halloween home horror? Check the history of a house before you buy", Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Oct. 20, 2017

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