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What is your opinion on this?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by senior smoke, Jan 29, 2013.

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  1. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    Wauwatosa Wisconsin
    A Pennsylvania woman has appealed to the state Supreme Court in her suit against a home seller and real estate agent who failed to disclose that a murder-suicide had taken place in the home she purchased.

    When Janet Milliken, 59, moved from California after her husband died, she had hoped to start a new life with her two teenage children in Pennsylvania near her family.

    She bought a home in Thornton, Pa., for $610,000 in June 2007. She learned a few weeks after she moved in from a next-door neighbor that a murder-suicide had occurred the year before in her home.

    She sued the seller and the real estate agent for fraud and misrepresentation, saying they made a "deliberate choice not to disclose the home's recent past," according to a court document.

    The trial judge granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, saying state law does not require agents to disclose such events.

    Then in December 2012, a panel of the state appeals court affirmed that decision, though with a nearly split decision.

    The matter dates back to Feb. 11. 2006, when a previous homeowner, Konstantinos Koumboulis, allegedly shot and killed his wife, then shot himself in the master bedroom.

    Joseph and Kathleen Jacono had bought the home Oct. 31, 2006, knowing of the murder-suicide, for $450,000. They later sold it to Milliken, who wants the transaction rescinded and her money back.

    Filing a petition to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania last week with the hope of arguing the case further, the attorney for Milliken, Tim Rayne, said they "hope to have Pennsylvania recognize that having a horrific event occur within a property can be just as damaging and troubling to a future homeowner as a physical defect, or perhaps even more so."

    "Having a gunshot murder-suicide committed within the home is much more devastating than having a small leak concealed by the previous homeowner," Rayne said. "Physical defects can be fixed. Troubling events that could and did occur in this home could never go away."

    Rayne said sellers should be required to disclose troubling events "at least for some period of time."

    Abraham Reich, the attorney for the Jaconos and their agent with Re/Max, said, "The majority, en banc [full-court] opinion of the Superior Court was well reasoned and consistent with years of industry practice in Pennsylvania.

    "While the issue is interesting, the number of times it comes up does not warrant Supreme Court review," Reich said. "The Superior Court opinion provides guidance for any real estate transaction in the future and puts to rest the uncertainty of whether a seller has a duty to disclose a murder-suicide or any other type 'psychological damage.' In my opinion, the result is a good one."

    Rayne said Milliken, 59, was "disturbed" when she learned of her home's history from a neighbor. "As she was struggling what and if to tell the kids," he said, her children's friends visited the home for Halloween and told the children about the murder-suicide.

    "They were very upset upon learning about it and disturbed about the whole situation," Rayne said.

    "They were dealing with the death of a father and husband and wanted to move closer to family, and then this happened to them," he said. "It was a tragedy all around."

    Rayne said Milliken and her children are still living in the home. He said they would prefer to move out of the home but can't afford to do so without selling it.

    "They feel that if they sold it, through good conscience they would have to disclose," Rayne said, "so it would negatively impact the value."

    What do you think? If she attempts to resell this property, she will never get her money that she originallly paid for this house. How would you feel if you purchased this property and you were not told of it's past?
    Steve Balistreri
  2. over the hill

    over the hill Well-Known Member

    Aug 30, 2007
    We had a similar situation about a mile from my house where a man shot his young son or sons then committed suicide.

    The neighbors on both sides moved almost immediately.

    It is an upper class neighborhood and a friend of my daughter said the houses were for sale for a long time.

    I would conduct a prayer service, light some candles, possible display some pictures of the family.

    It might please the spirits (if you believe in the spirits).

  3. shadow

    shadow Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    "What Difference Does it Make" ? A house is a house, no matter what happened in it before. That is----unless you happen to believe in ghosts.
  4. 100straight

    100straight Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    My opinion is that $610,000 is a crazy price to pay for a place to live.
  5. eck44

    eck44 TS Member

    Oct 10, 2012
    Is this some sort of Amityville Horror thing? It's a house for cripe's sake! Wood, nails and shingles, unless it's haunted............yeah, sure.
  6. RobertT

    RobertT Well-Known Member

    Jun 27, 2006
    Many states have disclosure laws that would have protected Milliken and her family, including California where she moved from.

    The Jacono's made a nifty 160,000.00 for less than a years investment.

    Though not necessarily averse to living in a home with a sordid history, I would feel taken by people who set out to scam the unsuspecting.

    Pennsylvania real estate law should address the issue for future home buyers.

  7. dougp

    dougp TS Member

    Aug 4, 2011
    while I may appreciate you might be a trapshooter why ask this question on this forum ? , Perhaps call a lawyer(Im not one either )

  8. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    My opinion is - I guess I'm lucky to live in Indiana where real estate is more affordable.LOL 610K will get you at least a 7500sf used house around here.
  9. JT 27

    JT 27 Member

    Dec 13, 2012
    A home in Indy sat vacant for over 20 years after a hanging suicide in the garage. It was pretty common knowledge in town so I don't know if the realtor was required to disclose. The house was on E. 56th just east of Shadeland Ave., it was torn down in the late 60's. A lot of realators are in the same class as atty.s & used car salesmen. I remember what I went thru in Philly trying to buy a house.
  10. blizzard

    blizzard Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    My opinion is that I don't read posts that long without paragraphs.
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