Selling the home of someone you love after they die is an emotional experience. There’s no way around the memories that being in the home and sorting through the items in it will bring up.
But if you’re the executor of someone’s will or one of the people who will be helping to prepare the house for sale, knowing what needs to be done can help get you through the process. Here are a few tasks that need to be done if you’re selling the home of someone who has died.
Change the locks: You don’t know who else had keys to the home, so for your own peace of mind, change the locks so you can control who can go in and out.
Forward the mail: Checking the person’s mail can help you know what bills are owed. You’ll also receive correspondence so you can let others know that the person has died.
Find financial documents: Insurance policies, bank statements, receipts, and a will can help you piece together the deceased person’s financial life. Plus, you may need some of this information as you work through the will and home sale.
Sort through the house: Decide what items will be kept, sold, or donated. There will likely be several people involved in this process. You can cool heightened emotions by saving disputed items until later. Valuable items may need to be appraised.
From there, preparing the home for sale is a lot like getting any other home ready for sale:
- Perform needed maintenance
- Update décor, paint, flooring, light fixtures, etc. as needed
- Clean from top to bottom