After the death of a loved one, one of the most time-consuming and emotionally difficult tasks is clearing out the family home. If you have lost your parents or a loved one and are in charge of selling their house, you may find the following checklist helpful.
1) Call locksmith – Any number of people may have house keys (e.g. neighbors, handymen, cleaners, friends). Change the locks for peace of mind.
2) Locate Vital Documents – Search everywhere for financial documents, important files, stock certificates, and cash. In addition to the obvious places like filing cabinets and desk drawers, do a thorough search of every closet, bookshelf, storage bin, attic, and crawl space.
3) Obtain Maintenance Records – Potential buyers may want to know when the roof was replaced or which contractor was used for the kitchen renovation.
4) Protect Yourself Against Fraud – Shred all sensitive documents with identifying information such as social security numbers.
5) Stop Services – Some services, like subscriptions and water delivery, need to be stopped. Others must continue (home insurance, utilities, lawn service). Notify vendors of the new address for sending invoices.
4) Declutter – Sorting through your loved one’s belongings will be the most difficult task. Separate everything into 4 categories– Keep, Trash, Donate, and Sell.
5) Assess House for Staging – Throw out any old or worn furniture. Consider getting rid of any dated or stained carpeting that is covering hardwood floors. Trash any drapes or blinds that have seen better days. There is no need to replace them with anything. How do the walls look? You may want to have at least part of the house painted.
6) Empty Out House – You will need to figure out how to get ‘Keep’ items to each family member. Call a haul-away company for the ‘Trash’ category. Contact several charities and arrange donation pick-ups (no one organization will take everything). If there are enough valuable items, you may want to have an Estate sale. Other options include garage sale, online websites like eBay, and consignment shops.
7) Clean Thoroughly: Hire someone for a deep cleaning top to bottom.
8) Research – Do a little research before interviewing realtors by checking out the comps online. You may also want to consult companies specializing in flipping homes to see what you could get as is.
9) Obtain Repair Estimates – If you choose to tackle some repairs before putting the house on the market, you need to obtain estimates and develop a budget. This could entail finding a handyman, power washing service, plumber, painter or roofer.
10) Be Cognizant of Timing – The last thing you want is to have an empty house too long. Rodents and other critters may find their way inside. Vandalism risks also rise.
11) Consider Hiring a Professional – Just a regular move is time-consuming and stressful. Arranging a move that involves an estate is much harder. You may live far away. Perhaps your loved one lived in the home for decades and accumulated vast amounts of belongings. Did health issues prevent them from keeping up home maintenance? Do you have the time to sort through every single item in the house? Move Managers and Professional Organizers have all the experience and skills needed to get the job done efficiently and seamlessly.
Clearing out a home after a loved one has passed away can be an exceptionally difficult job, both physically and mentally. Be assured, top-notch assistance is only a phone call or email away. Contact Potomac Concierge today and we’ll provide all the moving and decluttering help needed, assisting from start to finish or with any phase of the project.