It’s not a pleasant subject to discuss how to prepare a Windsor Ontario house for sale when an owner dies. It’s such a difficult topic yet unfortunately, it happens every day and children or relatives are left behind to make decisions and prepare the property for sale despite their grief.
When surviving family members meet with a real estate agent, they often have many questions and concerns. Here are some tips to consider if and when the time comes for you:
1. Did owner die in the property?
If an owner died in the property, you may have to include the information when selling the property as it depends on the circumstances. Your real estate agent can give you more information.
2. Change locks and forward the mail:
Chances are, you are not quite certain who has keys to the home, so it’s best to be safe rather than sorry. Change the locks as soon as possible, canccel newspapers and forward the mail immediately. Unfortunately, there are those that will make your home a target if they realize a home is not occupied.
3. Continue making payments:
This includes house, insurance and utility payments until the home closes.
4. Sort belongings:
This is often a difficult and overwhelming time for family members. The key is to make the home as organized and decluttered as possible for a quicker sale. Make piles of those belongings that you want to keep, give away or throw away. If necessary, have expensive items appraised if you question its value.
5. Prepare home for sale:
There is no doubt that preparing a home for sale is exhausting, but it can be particularly difficult when you are selling a home of a loved one. Maybe it’s the house you grew up in and holds sentimental value. For some, it’s impossible to make any changes to a home or update as they simply can’t bear changing the personality of a home that holds meaning to them. However, without making the necessary changes, a home will take longer to sell, especially if the decor is older and harder for buyers to relate to. My suggestion is to walk around the house with a video camera and record every room while reminiscing with other family members or friends. It’s a wonderful way to close a chapter on a home that was well-loved and well-lived.
- Get rid of older, worn furniture, especially if it is too large for a small room. This detracts the buyer.
- If necessary, repaint, especially if the rooms have not been painted in several years.
- Remove old-fashioned window treatments because, once again, buyers will take note. It’s best to have nothing than something dated on the windows. If there is a great view, focus on that instead.
- Replace old worn out carpeting with a mid-priced alternative. Expose the wood flooring if any while making the necessary repairs.
- Replace outdated lighting fixtures. Again, this can be done by buying inexpensive lighting from home improvement stores.
- Remove older paintings, family photos. Buyers may find it uncomfortable to view family photos, especially if they know the person has recently died. Depersonalize the home as much as possible.
- Maintain landscaping by mowing, fertilizing and planting seasonal flowers, especially by the front door.
- Clean! If possible, have the home professionally cleaned once you have finished making all the necessary changes. It is imperative that when a buyer walks into the home that the house smells fresh and clean. The home needs to be spotless from the ceiling on down. This includes light fixtures, walls, windows, baseboards, inside closets and cupboards and every nook and cranny. Pay special attention to bathrooms and kitchens, especially inside the ovens and cupboards.
Once the property is ready to sell, hire a professional real estate agent who can promote your property and set the best possible price so that it can sell quickly. It’s not in anyone’s best interest to keep making mortgage, insurance and utility payments when no one is living in the home. However, it is necessary to keep the home looking in top shape while it is on the market. Leave lights on timers, have the landscaping well-kept and with winter on its way, have the driveway and walkways plowed. Have the home set at a comfortable temperature so buyers will stay longer inside the home.
Finally, if there is anything of interest regarding the older home, such as an antique fireplace mantle, or the moldings are original, make sure all of that is pointed out in the marketing materials. There are many buyers who only want to purchase older homes, so it’s necessary to target that particular buyer.