July 2, 2016
ITEM FILE PHOTO
BY THOMAS GRILLO
LYNNFIELD — The gated, 11-room European Contemporary on Needham Road has everything.
Listed for $3.3 million, the 5,000-square-foot estate is described as a “breathtaking masterpiece” featuring walls of glass, 13-foot ceilings, a floating staircase suspended by stainless steel cables, four bedrooms, seven skylights, a three-car garage and a gunite pool.
But nowhere in the MLS Property Information Network description is the fact that a murder occurred at the home in May.
Keivan Heath, 33, of Randolph, was shot to death at a pre-dawn reunion party at the house that had been rented for the weekend. The Essex County District Attorney’s office declined to comment on the case, saying the investigation was ongoing.
It’s a topic that few real estate agents want to comment on either.
Louise Touchette, the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Lynnfield agent who listed the property, declined comment.
But not everyone was reluctant to talk.
Richard Tisei, broker-owner of Northrup Associates Realtors in Lynnfield, toured the house when it was previously listed.
“Honestly, the biggest problem with that house is not the murder but the price,” said Tisei. “It’s $2 million overpriced. That house has been on and off the market for years.”
Under a state law that was backed by the real estate community, brokers are not required to disclose there was a murder, suicide or even a ghost in a home for sale. But if the broker is asked, then they must tell the potential buyer.
Tisei said if he were acting as a buyer’s agent, he would let the potential buyer know.
“My fiduciary responsibility would be to the buyer and I would tell them,” he said.
Paul Yorkis, president-elect of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, said despite the state law, he would consult with the seller and recommend honesty.
“If a person purchases the property and later discovers from a neighbor about the event, the buyer would feel they should have known, required or not,” he said. “I try to live my life as honorably as I know how, regardless of the rules. If I were purchasing a home, and there were some tragedy that occurred in it, I would want to know about it.”
Such disclosure may or may not discourage buyers, Yorkis said.
“Just because a tragedy happened in a property doesn’t necessarily mean the home is not a good one to buy,” he said. “It may be the right location and have features I want.”
For Tisei, the bottom line is this on any property:
“At the right price, everything sells.”
Thomas Grillo can be reached at email@example.com.