NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) -- House hunters in New Orleans are a unique lot. Most will forego the appeal of "shiny and new" for something with more character instead, but if those plaster walls and cypress floors could talk, what would they say?
We found a website that'll give you the morbid truth: www.DiedInHouse.com.
Founder Roy Condrey explains, "Our purpose is to help you find out before you buy or rent."
Condrey knows from first-hand experience, it's not always fun finding out someone died in your house. So he created a website that will find out for you.
Died in House searches digital records with a custom algorithm, then compares names associated with the house to the U.S. Death Master Index.
The website will also report any meth labs or fires and is working to add sex offender records as well.
By law, real estate agents aren't allowed to disclose an issue, if it's not a material defect such as a leaky roof or bad plumbing. "We're not supposed to try to scare people off with information that doesn't affect the house itself. We're worried about the actual bones and skin of the house, the real estate."
New Orleans Realtor Jon Huffman says a morbid past is not uncommon. "We have houses a hundred, two hundred years old and the question there isn't did somebody die, it's how many people died in this house over the years!"
For example, a historic beauty at 2127 Prytania listed for $3.8 million.
Died in House discovered two brothers, one a previous owner, died unexpectedly within just 24 hours. The next owner died unexpectedly as well, struck by lightning on the Fourth of July!
However, some buyers... even agents... embrace the dark side. Huffman explains, "In that case it can become interesting, sort of a historical record, what happened in the past in this house and people can be intrigued by that."
If safety's at stake or the death indicates a criminal trend, that's when Huffman says, buyers should beware. "Crime can happen indiscriminately in any very small space, but you need to look at the broader picture of the whole neighborhood."
Condrey agrees. "You still need to do your due diligence. You still need to talk to your agent, ask neighbors, ask the seller, check government records. We're just trying to get you as much information as possible."
And for $11.99, you just might be surprised what "Died in House" can dig up.