To launch a successful product or business idea a lot of things swirling in the cosmos need to align. You need to have a widget or service that is unique, with an identifiable market that will either benefit from or want said widget/service. Or if you are crafty, you will be able create a demand for it, like they did with the Pet Rock in the 1970s. Once all that big picture stuff is established there is all of the unsexy and technical stuff that has to be finessed, like building prototypes, culling investors (or getting your parents to stroke a check), manufacturing, distribution, packaging, sales, marketing, evolving the widget, hiring employees, plus yada-yada-yada, all in no particular order. Heads up: I majored in English and Special Education, not Business. Don’t blow up my comment box with what I left out or how I’ve over-simplified the process. Mmm-k?
But that was then. We live in modern times with evolving models where businesses can get a foot in the door selling only mere possibility, or be funded by Kick-Starter campaigns, they can outsource everything to China for, like, a nickel or claw their way into appearing on Shark Tank, like girlfriend Jenny did with her Hold Your Haunches pants, and blow it up. (You go girl!) But many emerging “cottage industries” have just buried the whole having a meaningful product thing in favor of brainstorming niche ideas while seemingly getting super-duper baked in their parent’s basement, building the requisite website and then enjoy the fat stacks coming in. The internet, and YouTube in particular, has proven time and again that there are VERY specific audiences and consumers to be exploited. For instance…
Are you getting ready to sell a house or buy a house? According to website diedinhouse.com, having any type of death in a dwelling can cost you “thousands of dollars”. How? No idea, they just say so in their commercial. DiedInHouse admits that, “You may not be a believer in ghosts, but you do not want to live in a house that someone died in, no matter the cause. You also may not want to invest your money in a home that had a death, because it could possibly decrease its value and make it harder to resell.” No matter what the cause? I’m actually okay with a house where sweet Grandma died in her sleep at the ripe age of 97 as long as it doesn’t smell ripe. Does that make me creepy or something?
Oh, no! What’s a girl to do? DiedInHouse contends that the G’u’v’ment is not doing its job and failing us all by not enacting more laws to protect citizen buyers from getting stuck with “stigmatized” property. Allow me the slow hand clap of congratulation for DiedInHouse; not only did they identify and groom a niche problem, but they have developed and offered the solution, too. Praise be to God! Well payed, DiedInHouse, well played. For the low, low price of $11.99 per search (compared with a possible range of up to $39.99…a range that I think was just pulled out of a dead guy’s ass), DiedInHouse will provide the curious, under-informed prospective buyer with a ghoul report. This report will contain a “vitality status of previous residents and people that are associated with the residence”. Of course, “the US Government did not start digitizing death records until the 1960s. Even today, there are government records that have not been digitized. Most of our data is from 1990 to present”. But, take heed because DiedInHouse cheerfully reminds clients that, “if we are not able to find a death record in our search, keep in mind that does not mean that a death has not occurred there….Our disclaimer states that DiedInHouse.com is merely a great tool to use to assist you with finding out if someone has died at a specific address.” Or you could just ask the current owner. Or Google. Whatever, man.
To support their assertions of financial harm and drawn out listings, DiedInHouse cites two well known and recently sold Death Houses.
After well documented hot mess Amy Winehouse trotted outta rehab in her Fuck Me Pumps and flew over the rainbow while clutching the wings of a pegasus named Heroin Cocktail Sparkle her father, Mitch, listed Amy’s Camden Square home in North London for sale at £2.7 million. It eventually sold at auction for £1.98 million. That does seem like a big downgrade for a 3 bedroom house, which included a widely-in-demand custom recording studio, in a neighborhood mostly populated by architects, barristers and writers…HOWEVER, at the time of listing the average home value for that street was £871,092 while the average asking price for homes on the market was £1,215,611 with the average closing price settling at £618,333. Maybe the discrepancy between list and sales price was more about unrealistic expectations and less about the pallor of death or chalk outlines. After all, the home did sell for a whopping £1,371,666 more than the average of other home sales in the area. Just putting that out there, DiedInHouse.
Another famous residence DiedInHouse cites is the home where Michael Jackson, crooner of possible DiedInHouse theme song “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough”, took his last and longest nap. The house, an architectural Gobstopper, sold in 2012 for $18.1 million, down from its initial asking price of $28.995 million. Whoa! Talk about taking a beating…but wait. The house had been sold in the real-estate heyday of 2004 for $18,500,180. At the time of his death, the King of Pop was renting it for $100k a month. About 5 months after Jacko donned his jammies and eye-shades for the last time, the house was listed and quickly scooped up by Hubert Goez, CEO of douche bag clothing house Ed Hardy, for a cool $18.050,000. Note that the year was 2009. How were your investments and bank accounts doing in November 2009? Mine were either wheezing or filled with tumble-weeds. Just months after closing, Goez and his wife, Roxanne, presented the house for sale for a staggering $28.995 million, inflating the value by a ghastly 62.25%. Unbelievably, there was not an immediate bidding war. I know. One year later they wanted to be startin’ something by bringing legal action against Linda Welton, a woman who operates an outpost selling umbrellas, coolers and maps to the stars’ homes. In their complaint, The Goezes asserted that, “potential buyers are bothered upon approach by the quite visible and annoying constant illegal stopping and/or parking of cars in front of the home on what otherwise would be a quiet residential street.” Let it be noted that they did not file a complaint against the devious former owners for not disclosing the dead Michael Jackson that used to be in the upstairs bedroom. Also note that it then sold for $50k more than the Goezes originally paid for it. I don’t know of too many other properties where the sales price only took a 2% dip during this time period.
I dunno, all things considered, it seems like these real estate survivors have ended up with fairly lively returns. Having not seen any sort of tax files, I can’t say whether or not DeadInHouse is making a killing, but just looking at the quantity and profile of advertisers they boast on their website, I’d certainly say their business is alive and kicking.