Selling Your San Diego Home Because of Bereavement. How to Make the Process Less Stressful

Losing a spouse, parent, or family member is one of the hardest things any of us can and will go through. The grief and pain during this time is something we usually aren’t prepared to cope with. Symptoms of grief aren’t limited to sadness and shock, but can lead to stress that causes many physical symptoms as well. And during this tough time, you will also be faced with many difficult decisions that simply have to be made. One thing (of the many) that can be extra stressful is having to deal with what to do with the house after a loved one passes. Whether you lived in the home or you inherited the property, there are many things you’ll have to consider when selling. Grief is not easy and selling a home usually isn’t easy either, so here’s a few tips about the process that may help ease the stress.

Finding Comfort in a Tough Time

Before diving into how to best prepare for selling, let’s discuss some ways that you can help yourself, or help others through the emotional and physical ware of grief over a loved one’s passing. The paperwork and legalities can be an extra thorn in your side during this tough time, but there are ways that you can help yourself pus through.

  • Grief is powerful, know that those going through it will feel emotionally and physically different…it doesn’t mean you’re going crazy.
  • Address the guilt. If there’s anything being held onto, talk about it and let it out in the open- that’s the best way to release it
  • Schedule activities. Whatever you can do to stimulate your brain or feel connected again, maybe to something you used to enjoy, do it.
  • Writing in a journal can help you process through feelings.
  • Be around other people.
  • Take care of yourself as best you can by eating well, resting, and trying to exercise.
  • Understand that grief will take time. The feelings and emotions will come in waves…there will be good and bad days, but know that it will take time to feel healed. A loss is something you’ll carry with you.

Here are some additional resources for coping with bereavement:

Things to do Immediately After a Loved One Passes

Again, we know that selling the house and dealing with probate is not what you want to be worrying or stressing over when a loved one just passed. It’s hard to know what to do in these situations, but here are a few things that you shouldn’t forget to do while you’re in mourning (because ultimately, it will make your life easier down the road):

  • Request death certificates (you will need this for the entities listed below).
  • Probate the estate – it may be a really good idea to contact a local estate attorney to help you through the estate process as it can get a bit complex.
  • Notify financial institutions- You will need to send the death certificate and notification to all of these companies. Contact your loved one’s insurance company, mortgage companies, credit card companies, pension providers, and the credit bureaus to prevent identity theft.
  • Get in touch with their service providers- This includes utilities, and any other provider that charges recurring fees (gym membership, home security, phone lines etc.)

Next Steps in Preparing a Home to Sell During Bereavement

If you know that you’ll want or need to sell the house, then you’ll have to begin sorting through the belongings in the house. This process will be painful and difficult…it’s usually the hardest aspect of selling a home after a loved one passes (whether you lived in that home or not). It’s very difficult sometimes to clearly define which belongings should go in the three typical categories: keep, donate or sell, or throw away. If there are some items you can’t simply decide on, or they’re causing controversy among family, set those items aside and work them out at the end of the process.

One thing to be mindful of while sorting through the items in the house is to set aside all and any important documents. It’s best to shred anything that includes sensitive information (with social security numbers etc.). Some other items that you should store or hold onto include: homeowner’s policy, a Will and copies, insurance, bank account information, letters from your loved one’s friends (you may want to write them or call them), poems or letters that are sentimental, and maybe bill receipts so you can contact creditors if necessary.

As the owner of the home, you also need to be sure to keep up with utilities and pay the mortgage while it’s under your sole ownership. In some cases, a lender will put a pause on mortgage payments, but speak to your probate attorney and ensure that this is being handled regardless.

Choose the Best Route to Sell the Home for Your Situation

The best route for selling depend solely on your situation. Are you living in the house still? What timeline do you have to sell? Are you able to keep up with the mortgage payments and utilities for a few months? Is the house in sell-ready condition?

If the home is in good condition and you aren’t in a rush to sell, you should contact a reputable real estate agent who’ in the area. In this case, you’ll still need to go through the belongings and throw any unwanted items away before listing. You’ll also want to make the home “show ready” by making small repairs and removing the bulk of personal items. This can be easier if you inherited the property and aren’t living in it. On the other hand, if your spouse passed for example and you still live in the home, it may be tiresome having strangers walk through your home during a difficult time for open houses or showings. Consider all of these factors.

If you want to sell the home quickly, then selling direct is often your best option. It doesn’t matter if the home is in new condition or does need many repairs- we’ll provide a fair cash offer no matter what. By selling direct you can avoid making any repairs or cleaning anything. It’s hard enough having to sort through all of the belongings in the home, so we also won’t ask you to take anything out that you don’t want. Anything that is left behind to be tossed or donated, we’ll take care of that for you. There won’t be any buyer showings or strangers coming through the home either.

And if you aren’t sure what your best option is, you can count on us to be an honest resource to provide information to help. Ultimately, we just want to help anyone in bereavement move on with less stress and hassle during an already tough time. One of our friendly team members will be happy to walk you through the process if you’re interested.