Property – Bereavement

Property – Bereavement


How to Deal with the Sadness of Selling Inherited Property


Usually when someone decides to sell a property it is a very positive choice.  Their choice is made at a time of change which comes about due to happy circumstances.  Moving to a larger home to accommodate new additions to the family, or relocating to take advantage of a new job or different lifestyle.  It may be a choice to downsize to adapt to changes in later life.  Such are scenarios that make my job as an estate agent a cheerful one.  Property – bereavement and how to deal with the sadness of selling inherited property is a very different scenario.

There are also those selling up under very different circumstances.  They are the ones which they would have much rather not had to deal with.  Understanding the emotional strain of anyone selling their home because of divorce, redundancy or other financial reasons is an unwelcome but necessary part of my job.  Sadly, perhaps the hardest is helping those who have recently lost a loved one and have then inherited a property through bereavement.

Property Selling in Sadness

A professional estate agent needs to be a ‘people person’.  It’s one of the things that attracted me to the role in the first place.  Understanding the unique needs and requirements of each individual client means putting yourself in their shoes.  The reasons for selling a property may vary.

By its very nature, a situation where someone is asking me to help them sell a property they have inherited means that someone close to them has died.  In most cases this will be a recent death of a parent, partner or other close family member or friend.

The emotional strain that the seller will be under has to be taken into consideration.  There is sadness in saying goodbye to a home which has many memories of a lost loved one attached to it.  This emotional strain must be respected.

Bereavement Closure

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote about dealing with sadness and depression under these circumstances in her 1969 book ‘On Death and Dying’ which has become an acknowledged classic for those looking to understand the grieving process.

She realised that people go through five stages in a cycle of grief.  This starts with denial and finally comes to a state of acceptance. The stress and pressure of dealing with practicalities and legalities surrounding an inherited property means that a decision to sell can be taken at any time in the cycle.  Thus, estate agents will often be helping clients who are still in the ‘depression’ stage.

I have experience in this area.  I know how important it is to acknowledge the reality of the situation.  It requires dealing with in a sensitive and understanding way.

It might be hard to realise at the time, but there is a positive side to closing chapters.  For example, celebrating the lives of those no longer with us.  Bear in mind that those who left us an inheritance wanted the benefits used in ways that had the most positive effects possible.

If you find yourself in this situation of property – bereavement, don’t hesitate to contact me for some free advice on what your options might be – call or email me