When you lose a family member, the hole it leaves in your life can be unbearable. You’re missing them, trying to continue living your life and upholding responsibilities, and on top of this you are responsible for selling their home and handling their belongings. I understand how overwhelming this can be. Read through the steps below to help you get things in order and make the process as easy as possible.
Locate All Paperwork
You’ll first need to address the paperwork in the home. Are the bills paid to keep the utilities on? Have you spoken with the mortgage company yet? It will be helpful to compile all bills and insurance policies in one place. You may also want to forward the mail to your home to make it easier on you and in preparation for the sale. Remember to shred all sensitive documents after you’re finished with them.
Change the Locks
If you’re at all unsure of who has keys to the home, it’s best to go ahead and change the locks. Plus, fresh new locks will look great to potential buyers.
Sort Through All Belongings
Just as you would if you were listing your own home, you’ll need to address clutter. Start by making three piles: keep, donate/sell and toss. Many of these decisions will be easy but some will be tough. You may have some items that family members argue over. Remember to take your time and perhaps start a special pile for those unsettled items. You could also consider working with a company that specializes in estate sales to simplify the paring down process.
Prepare the Home for Sale
There are many things to consider before you list the house. Here are a few major points to take care of:
- Furniture – If it’s old and tattered, get rid of it. The home will show better with more space instead of filled with items that don’t present well.
- Flooring – What kind of shape is the carpet in? If it’s shabby, will you have it cleaned or replaced? Or could there be hardwoods underneath that could be refinished for an updated look?
- Window treatments – If they are dated, get rid of them. You’ll let more light into the rooms without them anyway.
- Fixtures – If they are old and yellowed, try to clean them and replace if cleaning doesn’t help. Put new bulbs in each one — the highest wattage allowed.
- Pets – Find a new home for pets left behind and remove all pet items before the showing if possible. It’s always an added challenge and worry to show homes with pets.
Next you’ll need to clean from top to bottom — baseboards to ceiling fans. Once this is done, you’re ready to call a realtor and list the home. If you’re in the Northern Virginia area, contact me. I’ll stage the home for free when you list with me! I understand the emotions and challenges you’re facing, and can help you sell your loved one’s home as quickly and easily as possible.