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by Abigail Van Buren

New Neighbors Hear Notorious History of Their Home at Open House

DEAR ABBY: New neighbors moved in a few doors down from us. A few weeks later, they hosted an open house and invited about 15 families from the homes closest to theirs. They served food and graciously gave everyone a tour of the home, which had been completely renovated.

My husband and I arrived about the same time as another neighbor, and the three of us visited with our hostess. As she rolled out the red carpet, the other neighbor proceeded to talk about the history of the home -- who had lived there and what the house had been like when she visited there as a friend of the previous owners.

She then announced that the man who owned the home years ago had committed suicide -- in the home. The hostess maintained a gracious stance, but my husband and I were horrified. Should the neighbor be told that her comment was inappropriate? -- HORRIFIED IN THE EAST

DEAR HORRIFIED: Because the comment may have cast a pall over the housewarming, it was inappropriate. However, it may not have come as a complete surprise to the new owners. In the state where I reside, real estate agents are required by law to disclose that there had been a death in the house (suicide, murder), which might affect the value of the property. If you feel the need to say something to the neighbor who made that tasteless comment, by all means do so.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Holidays & Celebrations | Money