Every now and then on ESPN Radio I’ll hear an ad for something called DiedinHouse.com which, theoretically, tells you whether someone has died in your home.
The big hook? According to the ad, only in three starts “are Realtors required to tell you if someone died in a home.”
Which isn’t actually correct.
If, by chance, an agent is aware of a death in a home and is asked if someone died there, the agent is required to disclose what they know. However in most states, Arizona included, a death in a home (or any felony committed other than operation of a meth lab) isn’t a material fact that’s required to be disclosed proactively.
So, from that standpoint, this website might serve a purpose.
At least, until you pull up the website FAQs and read some of the fun …
- Do people care if there is a death in a property?
- Yes, a 2007 Associated Press Poll found that 1/3 of Americans admit to believing in Ghosts. I wonder how many do not admit it.
- You may not believe in ghosts, but you do not want to live in a house where someone has died, no matter how they may have died.
Really? I guess it’s just coincidence that all those folks on Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters purchased homes – most often knowingly – where deaths took place.
Which reminds me … from later down the FAQ …
- Can a death in a property impact its value and length of time to sell?
- Stigmatized Property can be a bargain. A buyer can expect to pay 10 percent to 25 percent off regular market prices for stigmatized homes. – AOL Real Estate Article
- According to a study by two business professors at Wright University, houses where murder or suicide have occurred can take 50% longer to sell, and at an average of 2.4 percent less than comparable homes.
- During the Thornton, PA case, the PA women cited the reports from two real estate appraisers retained by her. Both appraisers were of the opinion that the murder/suicide lowered the value of the property between 10 to 15%.
- Simpson Murder – The house that Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered in 1994 sold two years following the murders for $590,000, $200,000 less than the asking price.
- Amy Winehouse Death – The Camden house in London, England where singer/song writer Amy Winehouse died in July 23, 2011 from accidental alcohol poisoning sold in 2012 for over $1 million less than its asking price.
- Michael Jackson – The Los Angeles, CA mansion where the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, died on June 25, 2009 was listed in 2010 for a little over $23 million, it finally sold for $18 million in 2012.
I guess it’s too logical to suggest that maybe any of the homes may have been overpriced. And it certainly wouldn’t make sense to point out that, despite the site’s claim that “you don’t want to live in a house where somebody died” these homes still sold.
As for this … I don’t know what to do with it.
- What are some real houses that inspired movies?
- Amityville Horror – The address was changed in 1977 from 112 to 108 Ocean Ave. Amityville, NY. Actually seven people have died in the Amityville, NY House: First its original owner John Moynahan died in the house in 1939, following a year-long illness. Then in 1974 the oldest son Ronnie DeFeo Jr. murdered six of his family members in the house. He was found guilty and is currently serving his prison sentence of 25 years to life at the Green Haven Correctional Facility in Stormville, New York. The Amityville house is still there, it sold last in 2010 and is very nicely renovated.
- The Exorcist – The house in St. Louis, MO were the exorcism of Roland Doe was conducted in 1949. This true story is what inspired William Peter Blatty to write the 1971 novel and the 1973 film both named The Exorcist.
- “Psycho” Ed Gein’s – The house in Plainfield, WI where Ed Gein fashioned trophies and keepsakes from the bones and skin of women that he murdered and the bodies he exhumed from a local cemetery. His victims were selected because he thought that they resembled his deceased mother. His case influenced the creation of several fictional killers, to include Norman Bates of Psycho. Ed’s house was bulldozed in 1957.
- The Conjuring – Sherman- Arnold Farm, a 14 room 18th-century farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island where Roger and Carolyn Perron and their five daughters allegedly were terrified and even possessed by spirits. Paranormal Investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren came to assist the Perron family. Supposedly, those that have lived in this farmhouse, both before and after the Perron’s, have reported paranormal activity. The current residents claim there is always activity in the house, but not to the extent the Perron’s endured.
So, maybe you only want to purchase a haunted house if there’s a chance a movie will be made about it? I’ve got no idea what we’re going for.
(By the way, Ghost Adventures shot an episode this season at “The Exorcist” house. As Jonah Hill says in This is the End, it’s not that compelling.)
(By the way, part two, thankfully got rid of those creepy as all hell windows a the Amityville Horror house, pictured at the top.)
Bottom line … if you’re concerned someone may have died in a house you’re considering purchasing, feel free to check it out. The Arizona Residential Real Estate Resale Purchase Contract provides a 10-day inspection period (unless the boilerplate is changed by one party) to research whatever you choose to research.
Far be it from me to tell you not to plunk down your $12 if you think it’ll help you sleep at night.
But do the FAQs give you any confidence this thing’s reliable? I’m not convinced.