Whether expected or not, losing a loved one is never easy. But it’s often made even harder and more stressful if, in addition to the emotional grieving process, you’re also having to deal with the many logistics involved in selling their home and dispersing their possessions. If you are in the midst of this right now or think you may be sometime in the future, read on to learn more about how to handle a home sale when a loved one has passed away.
– There are a few things that need to be done immediately after a death. First of all, if there is anything of value in the home, you’ll want to change the locks, being sure to communicate that you’re doing this to anyone else who believes that they should have access to the home. You’ll also want to forward mail to a different address or check it regularly at the house so that you’ll be aware of any creditors looking to be paid or any contacts that need to be made aware your loved one’s death.
– Don’t cancel the homeowner’s policy; this will need to be in place until the day that you close on the home. Also don’t make any other big changes on the home without consulting any other heirs. Keep paying the mortgage and contact the executor of the will if you need funds from the estate in order to do so.
– Start the process of looking for a real estate agent and attorney right away; you don’t need to wait until the will is executed before starting your research. This will mean that when you are finally given the green light to sell, you’ll be ready to move forward right away.
– Look in every nook and cranny for money and paperwork. Search under mattresses, behind cabinet doors, in the backs of drawers, etc., especially if your loved one was suffering from dementia in the end and might have been prone to hiding things of value.
– When you’re ready to move forward with the sell, hire a real estate agent familiar with these types of home sales and also retain an attorney familiar with both estates and real estate. This is especially crucial if there are multiple heirs with differing opinions on how the sale should be handled.
– If the home holds special meaning for you, take time to take photos and say goodbye properly. But with this being said, it’s also important to note that most of the time, older homes will also need a fair amount of work to get the ready to go on the market and you need to not be afraid to make changes to the home in order for it to sell quickly and for maximum value.
– Hire an estate sale company to fairly divide up valuables between heirs and also sell the remaining items. Generally companies charge 30% in order to manage these types of sales.
– After the home sells, pay any debtors and then proceed in accordance with the execution of the will.
Although it is never an easy process, calling in professional help, taking it slow and communicating with all heirs involve will mean that you can get through the sale of a home of a loved one with relationships and valuables in tact.