How to Manage a Move After Losing a Loved One

  • Luci Edwards
  • 05/15/22

Many people seriously consider moving after losing a loved one. Sometimes, a change of scenery can feel like the only way to overcome sadness and move on, especially if your house brings back many negative memories. However, moving is a significant endeavor and can take a lot out of you. If you’re considering buying a new home in the wake of a loss, consider some of the following advice to make your move more manageable.

Give Yourself Time to Grieve

According to Verywell Mind, it’s essential to avoid making significant decisions immediately after losing a loved one. Try to wait at least six months before moving into a new home. Your home and community may look different to you in several months, and you may decide that a move isn’t the best option. If you still want to move, you’ll be better equipped to handle all the moving demands after giving yourself time to process your grief.

Consider Downsizing

When someone loses a spouse, they’re forced to downsize for financial reasons. On the other hand, people may choose to reduce to let go of baggage and refocus on their passions or purchase an affordable home where they’ve always wanted to live. Whatever your situation, downsizing can be a beneficial move following a loss — you’ll have less stuff to worry about, lower utility bills, and fewer household chores. If that sounds enticing, start searching for smaller homes in your area within your budget.

Retain a Qualified Real Estate Agent

Selling your home is a stressful experience, and there’s no doubt about that. If possible, hire a licensed real estate agent who can take on all the work of finding buyers. Your real estate agent will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the best asking price for your home and recommend effective staging techniques to highlight your home’s best features. An excellent real estate agent should take most of the pressure off you.

Your real estate agent can also walk you through any legal steps you need to take if you lose a spouse who owned part of your home. You may have to do some paperwork to remove your spouse’s name from the deed. Also, Kiplinger explains that surviving spouses can get a much larger tax break on their home-sale profits if they sell within two years of death. A great realtor can help you understand all the fine details of selling a home after losing a spouse.

While selling a home has become much more complicated during the coronavirus lockdown, ask your realtor if they’re able to show your home virtually. Some realtors are offering live video-chat tours so they can show your home to prospective buyers without them having to be there in person.

Gather Important Documents Needed to Sell the Home

In addition to being a real estate agent, you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork kept together to sell your home—the deed, mortgage information, final purchase and sale agreement, and title report. Ensure you have these ready before putting your home on the market to ensure a smooth selling process.

Ask Friends or Family for Decluttering Support

Whether you’re moving into a smaller home or not, decluttering before a move is a brilliant idea. Why pay to store a bunch of items you don’t need? Give yourself plenty of time to go through the belongings of your deceased loved one, and try not to do this on days when you’re feeling awful. Even if you’re having a good day, sorting through your loved one’s belongings can be challenging, so enlist the help of friends and family for support. The process will bring up all kinds of memories that can be enjoyable or cathartic to share with others.

Create Keepsakes

It may be tempting to fill your storage spaces with stuff, but it’s important to remember that these items are just things. Keeping this in mind can help you let go of things that aren’t meaningful to you, like your loved one’s yard tools. Create a collection of meaningful keepsakes that you can store easily and access when you want. You may also want to turn some of their possessions into mementos.

Moving after losing a loved one can give you the fresh start you need. While it may be impossible to move on completely, decluttering and downsizing can help you accept this new phase in your life. Just make sure you wait until you’re ready. Try not to let anyone or anything pressure you into this big decision — only you know what is best for yourself.

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