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Selling a House After a Bereavement

Update Date: May 31, 2019 10:21 AM EDT

Losing a family member, or person closest to you, is one of the hardest things you're likely to experience. Of course, in most cases, grief will understandably overshadow the practicality of sorting out possessions and belongings and the legal side of things, but unfortunately these are things that do need to be acknowledged. It's difficult enough emotionally without even having to consider these things, so you'll want to do them with as little stress as possible. Selling the home of your loved one is one of the hardest things you're bound to do, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and there are things that can make it seem a little easier, and cause you less upheaval.

Smaller Practicalities Prior to Selling

Sometimes starting with the slightly smaller things can make the bigger things seem less daunting, and acknowledging the practicalities following a death can seem impossible.

Clearing the possessions of your deceased loved one is not a small task psychologically and emotionally by any means, but is a simpler place to start than immediately putting the house on the market.

In the time before you feel ready to start doing this, make sure the house is fully secure and that everything is safely locked away. It's absolutely worth popping in regularly, just to make sure everything is intact and no one has taken advantage of the property being empty. For an extra security measure, you could even invest in some timed lighting to make the property look like it's being lived in.

When you're ready, the house will need clearing prior to sale. Although there are bound to be items of sentimental value in the house, you're unlikely to want to keep absolutely everything. Making a system and sorting belongings into three categories is useful here: things sentimental to myself or others that need to be kept, things that could go to charity, be useful to sell, or recycle, and finally the things that have no reason to be kept and therefore are possibly best being thrown away. It seems like a difficult decision to make, but the person you loved lives there no longer, and would want you to do what you think is best with their things. In fact, making the clearing of things almost ceremonious, and sharing it with those who share your grief can be a very healing experience, as well as being productive and practical. Leaving the house clean and clear will make for a quicker and easier sale of the house when you move onto the next stage too.

In the midst of it all, it's easy to forget about the ongoing subscriptions being taken out on direct debit. Whether it's utilities, phone bills, or streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, you don't want it to add up and for you to be the one who ends up owing a lump sum of money to these companies.

Selling the House Itself

It's completely up to yourself how involved you'll want to be in the sale of the house itself, and whether you want to be or not, there is more than one way of selling the house on.

The person named on the Grant of Probate will be the person who holds the responsibility for the sale of the house. It's heavily recommended that you have the house in question valued by two seperate estate agents in order to get the most accurate price, and if these differentiate by 10% or more, it's best to get a third opinion from elsewhere. Once you've chosen which estate agent to go with, it's pretty much guaranteed that if you want them to, they can take it from there with minimal involvement from you.

Unfortunately, the property market is continually changing and there are no guarantees that the property will sell quickly. Often people feel that the longer the sales process is drawn out, the longer it takes for them to get the closure they need and begin to move forwards with their life. However, there are alternative options to going down the traditional sale route. Fast home sale companies such as Ready Steady will value any house for free, and buy it for cash, as quickly as you need. Not only is this a quick choice, but chances are if it's coming out of your pocket that it'll save you money on estate agent's fees and valuations. Every little bit of help you can get in times of grief, can make the day-to-day things a little easier.

But of course, the practicalities are not the highest priority in times of bereavement. Above all, be kind to yourself, wait until you're ready, and remember that when the time comes to sort such things, that there are options out there.

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