If you could find out if someone died in your house, would you want to know? Founded in 2013 by software engineer Roy Condrey, DiedInHouse.com allows users to search any valid U.S. address to find out if it had a dark former life (or even accommodates the afterlife). From murders and suicides to meth activity and arson, DiedInHouse uses data from over 130 million police records, news reports, old death certificates and more to determine if your house has seen horrors.
The website’s creation begins like a ghost story. Three years ago, Condrey received a text message in the middle of the night from one of his tenants that read: “Did you know that your house is haunted?” Condrey went down a cyber rabbit hole seeking, but not finding, an easy way to determine if his property had indeed seen a gruesome crime or fatality.
“I went online to find a ‘Carfax’ of sorts for deaths in homes and I didn’t find anything, but I did find pages and pages of people asking if there’s a way to find out if their house is haunted,” says Condrey, who rents out several properties. He later learned through his data collection that, in fact, at least 4.5 million homes nationwide have had documented deaths take place on the premises. The number of homeowners that know about the history of their home, however, is unknown.
“There was no database for this information until DiedInHouse.com,” says Condrey. The self-proclaimed entrepreneur serves the site’s President and CO-CEO. For his day job, he helms a software company called Simply Put Solutions in Chapin, South Carolina. He was inspired to build a database of the dead after he learned that in many states, real estate agents are not legally obligated to tell interested renters and home buyers about prior criminal activity because it is not considered a “material fact” or structural detail about properties on the market.
Condrey believes that prospective homeowners should be told this kind of information because it could sway their decision. “The intent of the site is for buyers and renters,” he says. “The realtor is trying to sell, so they won’t disclose if they don’t have to.” And for good reason, prior death or violent crime in a home can reduce its value up to 30%, according to real estate site Trulia.