Don’t Let the Grieving Process Bury You Financially

It’s been said – and it’s true – that when a loved one passes away don’t make any big decisions or do something drastic for a year. By all means wait out the five stages of grieving:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

But after the acceptance phase, you have to get busy with disposing of the real estate assets. The first step is to consult a good estate attorney to iron out who can legally sell the house, then get it listed for sale. Waiting too long can bury you financially.

A recent situation prevented my grieving client from disposing of their real estate for almost 3 years. As a result, the worry and stress of financially and physically maintaining a vacant home took its toll on the seller’s health and landed him in the hospital. His poor health and hospital bills compounded the problem.

The financial responsibility for carrying costs for an property Can bury you in the best of circumstances. What are carrying costs?

  • Snow removal
  • Taxes
  • Lawn mowing
  • Insurance (on a vacant building this can double)
  • Utilities
  • Maintenance to prevent deterioration

Carrying costs can and run thousands a month. Underestimating these costs is a common mistake I see sellers make on vacant properties or when carrying two houses.

A big example is deferred maintenance. Any house our building that sits vacant over years will inevitably develop problems including but not limited to: getting broken into, roof leaks, frozen pipes and furnace problems. Water is especially a problem, since a wet, closed-up building always results in mold which can make the building unsalable,

These and other problems will result in either:

  • Drastically reduce the value of the property
  • Needlessly drain your bank account

Or both.

The solution isn’t to ignore your grief, but to give these concerns to a skilled Realtor who can handle them for you during the mourning process. Find a Realtor you can trust. Then listen to their advice and take it. If it does not sound reasonable to you, consult another Realtor or a lawyer to confirm or disapprove your beliefs.

A reputable Realtor will NOT steer you wrong and will aid you in the sale of the house in a reasonable time-frame. A skilled agent should not only be concerned with the sale but equally as important the health and safety of the home itself.

I always take the time to balance the concerns of the seller with the needs of the property and make recommendations that will get it sold with the least amount of financial investment as possible.

Grieving for the loss of a loved one is painful. But in my experience, the pain is compounded when real estate assets lose value and become a financial burden because a dependable Realtor wasn’t with the family to help.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash