Died in House Dot Com
“Only three states require a real estate agent to disclose that a person died in that house!”
This message was delivered in an urgent and most dire tone over my car radio. It was the opening salvo of a commercial I had never heard before, for a product I had also never heard of. It’s a website called DiedInHouse.com.
At first I suspected it might be a joke. I was, after all, listening to a station that featured stand-up comedy. And then I thought it was advertising a website that disclosed a wide range of undisclosed information about a house that you might be thinking of buying, sort of like a CarFax for houses. But nope, these folks only care about one thing, and that is whether anybody ever died in that house you’re thinking of purchasing.
Is it really that big a deal if somebody dies in a house? (I mean, besides to the dead person.) And if it is, why is that? Is it merely based in superstition, or perhaps the remnants of a centuries-old fear of, say, the plague? Maybe there are people who are afraid the house might now be haunted? (And don’t laugh. Studies show that seventy-seven percent of Americans actually believe in angels. Are ghosts really that much of a stretch?)
Still, I can’t help but wonder what effect a death in a home has on a property’s value. Some quick research tells me that while a natural death may have almost no effect at all, homes where a murder or a suicide took place can sell for an average of 2.4% less, and take 50% longer to unload. I imagine that if this sort of information becomes generally known, we might be hearing more conversations like this:
“I’d like to die at home,” croaks the old man from his hospital bed.
“Uh, now Grandpa, you know here in the hospital is where they can best, you know, take care of you,” replies the greedy relative.
And now for the final step. I didn’t do this when I first heard of this website, because you have to register, and you know what a pain that can be. But I’m going to do it now, just for you. I’m heading over to DiedInHouse.com to find out if anybody has ever died in my house. Be right back.
Well, how silly of me. It turns out that DiedInHouse.com is a pay website. It costs twelve bucks to check on the morbid history of a house. Now that I think about it, sometimes it’s just better not to know certain things. And that’s especially true if you happen to be a habitual cheapskate.