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Ways to Sell a House After the Death of a Loved one

May 4, 2022 | Rob Marini Rob Marini

This content was created in collaboration with Dr. Phil, a spokesperson for Sundae.

While you handle the grieving process, you don’t have to figure out everything at once. Here’s how to sell a loved one’s house.

No matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s always difficult coping with the death of a loved one. While it’s an emotional time, you also take on additional responsibilities such as planning their estate.

As heartbreaking as it is., selling a house after the death of somebody you love is a common procedure. You don’t have to figure everything out on your own.

Don’t run from your emotions

Your loved one probably has plenty of items including ones of sentimental value and other things that could simply be tossed or donated. This is a huge challenge and it’s understandable to feel strong emotions as you go through this. Dr. Phil believes you should give your emotions free reign as you do this part.

Grief after loss is hard and you may feel, “feelings of fear and panic, to anger and resentment.” You may spend days where you do nothing but cry. That’s okay, but you shouldn’t run from your emotions. Handle your loved one’s items with care and keep moving forward. You can’t sell the house until it’s cleared out and empty. So decide which items mean a lot to you so you can hold on to them. 

Inheriting: First steps

For those who are inheriting, it’s critical to understand the steps before the home is transferred to you. It’s not a matter of days before this happens. There are multiple ways to inherit the home including, probate, death deed, or living trust. Probate is done in court where the right people are distributed their loved one’s estate. Sometimes it could take months, but other times it may take over a year. 

Transfer on death deed (or beneficiary deed) is a direct inheritance method and is much quicker than the probate method. The drawback is that it’s only available in certain states. While the state laws vary, you may need a will proving the home will be yours, and you have to pay taxes on the home. Finally, a living trust is a document written up before the passing of your loved one. You can directly be named as a beneficiary and it’s straightforward if there are more than one heir. 

Hire a specialized attorney to help guide you through the process

A specialized estate attorney can guide you through estate planning. An estate attorney is great in case you have to go through the complex motions of probate court. Also, the attorney will help you compile information and documents, explain the process of deed transfers, and propel you forward so you can put the house on the market for sale.

It’s an emotional time, but the process may go smoother if you know about the complications ahead such as taxes, securing, and listing the home.

Prepare for conflict

While conflict is not guaranteed to happen, it could save you a tremendous headache if you’re prepared for it. If you have siblings or other heirs, have that personal conversation early on before it escalates into disputes in the court system. Additionally, talk about responsibilities together and come up with a plan. It’s never good when somebody is shouldering more of the burden than the rest. Especially when there are usually funeral arrangements and other things going on. Talk about home-selling expenses, inheritance, the value of the home, and work on duties as a team. 

Hire a real estate agent to ease your workload

It’s more than likely that you didn’t live with your parents or even close to them. While you take time to heal, consider hiring a real estate agent when you sell the home. Delegation takes a load of pressure off of you while you carry on with your career, family, and other personal obligations. An experienced real estate agent will know the local area where your loved one lived and will find the best listing value for their home. 

You can always turn to your real estate agent for advice too. Let a professional real estate agent handle tedious tasks such as marketing, listing, staging, and taking photographs. You can focus on more personal tasks such as decluttering the home and figuring out what to do with your loved one’s items inside.

Consider selling on a marketplace

When you sell your loved ones house after death, it’s totally normal to feel like you just want to get the process over with. You have the option of utilizing a marketplace where competitive buyers are ready to bid on the house. A good marketplace makes selling a house very easy and quick. It’s a great alternative compared to MLS, because it’s hassle-free. This is because multiple buyers are more than likely to bid so you can not only sell the house fast, but you can evaluate the best bid available for better value. 

We hope that you find comfort during your stages of grief and strong emotion. While nobody deserves to lose a loved one so suddenly, life still hands us responsibilities that we have to move forward with. It’s a test of resilience, but remember that you are not alone, and you have plenty of options at your disposal. 

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Dr. Phillip C. McGraw is a paid spokesperson for Sundae and made this content in partnership with the company. The views and opinions expressed by Dr. McGraw are solely his own and do not reflect those of CBS Media Ventures.

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