Home Buyers Beware

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COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP -- Thanks to a ruling by the State Supreme Court realtors do not have to let homeowners know about the criminal history of properties. The ruling may have an effect on a property in Monroe County.

Police and investigators surrounded this prospect road home just five years ago, the scene of a gruesome murder in the Poconos.

Police said a young woman was tortured and killed here in Coolbaugh Township before she was cut into pieces. Her body parts found in bags along the Interstate.

Now neighbors said this home that was the scene of a murder has turned into a vacant eyesore.

"In the beginning it was listed for sale, but it didn`t work out and now it`s just abandoned," said neighbor Art Thieling.

Now according to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Ruling, if this home goes back on the market, the seller doesn't need to tell anyone what happened here.

"It`s an interesting ruling, in that, many see it as it affects the property, but the court obviously has now ruled that it doesn`t effect the value of the property and therefore doesn`t have to be disclosed," said John Fox, Century 21 Unlimited Owner.

The ruling re-affirmed the disclosure laws that were already on the books for home sellers in PA.

Some said they agree murders and crimes like these don't need to be advertised.

"Ah, it doesn`t really surprise me, I didn`t think that was really important. Disclosure is for electrical, plumbing, things like that," said Thieling.

Even though realtors don`t have to disclose what happened in the home in Monroe County and many others across the state of Pennsylvania, some said, they`ll do so anyways.

"If we know about it, we usually disclose it and usually encourage to disclose as much as possible," said Fox.

Fox said he encourages buyers to do as much research as they want, but Newswatch 16 did talk with other realtors who said they'd keep things like this to themselves to make the sale.

As for this Monroe County neighborhood, they hope the ruling might get this eyesore turned into a home.

"Once the place is all cleaned up, you don`t know what happened to any houses. Houses are over 100 years old. You don`t know what happened in them," said Thieling.

Realtors said they wouldn't be surprised to see this disclosure law challenged again in the courts, but for now, home buyers who are even the least bit leary might want to do some homework before signing any deals.