My residence, the house in which I am sitting as I write this, is nearly a century old. Chances are good that at some point over the years, a previous owner died in this house. After all, most people would prefer to die at home as opposed to anywhere else. So, the idea that somebody, probably multiple somebodies, passed away in this house doesn’t bother me in the least. In fact, I never gave it much thought until I heard a recent radio ad for a website called DiedInHouse.com.
The logic behind this service is interesting, if a little cockeyed. The Died In House folks claim that if the public knows people have died in a house, the property value of the house goes down. (This sounds plausible on the face of it. I suspect the average person gets a little more freaked out about such things than I do.) Their solution? Make it easier for everybody to find out if people died in houses. From the perspective of a potential house buyer, the idea seems compelling — it might save you from investing in a flawed property.
Ah, but there’s the rub: the “flaw” only exists in the imagination of other potential buyers once they know the information. Objectively speaking, there’s nothing tangibly wrong with a house just because somebody died in it — even if it was a lurid, bloody murder like the examples given on the website. It’s truly a case where ignorance is bliss and you’re better off not even thinking about it, much less paying for a service that is ultimately sabotaging property values by sensationalizing a non-issue. (Unless of course, the house is haunted and one night the poltergeist of a deceased former resident pops out of your bedroom closet, grabs your face with its ghostly hand and sucks your soul out through your eye sockets. In that case, you’re probably going to wish you had consulted with DiedInHouse.com before buying the place.)
But hey, no one ever said an offering had to stand up to rational scrutiny to be voted into the Odd Product Hall of Fame. In fact, it helps if it doesn’t. So, with that said, congratulations on your induction, DiedInHouse.com. Try not to trip over that moldering skeleton in the doorway when you come here to pick up your plaque.