Saturday, 17 March 2018
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Selling Property After Suicide

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 14 March 2018 17:09

When using your investment property as a rental, it is best to protect yourself from any and all unknown damages and extreme expenses. Although it is almost unthinkable, unattended death cleanup is a concern for property owners.

Lease Agreement
Did you know that an active lease does not necessarily expire at the time of death? Of course, each state has its own set of laws but generally speaking, the lease does not automatically end. Although some landlords choose to release the tenant survivors so they can move on to new renters.

Be sure to get a notice of death in writing from the family or executor. The landlord cannot repossess the real estate and must protect the tenant's personal property until correctly and legally removed.

Property Restoration
The most pressing issue is the clean-up process. Don't make the mistake of cleaning it yourself. This is as serious as fire or flood damage so hire a professional. Restoration companies have the expertise to remove odors and stains, and they are key to holding maximum value in your property. In addition to the physical restoration of your property, don't forget reputation and perception. The neighbors and other tenants in the area will know about the death in your property. This is especially important if you are selling the property after suicide. With the stigmas attached to unnatural death, it is all the more important to disclose it even if your state doesn't require the admission.

Occupation Adds Value
Don't be in a hurry to sell. It is advisable to rent the property for a few years before placing the home on the market. Having another family in the house helps reduce the rumors of darkness that fog the mind with unlit homes. If you are able to have the property rented for three years or so, the home will regain some of its value. It is not always possible to rent, and an immediate sale might be necessary. Beware! When you sell your home immediately after a suicide, homicide, or unnatural death occurrence, its property values will be reduced significantly.

Healing the Space
Help the property heal from the event by giving it a facelift. Depending on the social media coverage, you might need to change the landscaping or color of the home to make it unrecognizable to the mind's memory association. Some of these changes might cost more than others, but create a sense of difference. Most certainly change the space on the inside where the death occurred. Depending on the needed changes, your insurance coverage might cover damaged areas. If it changes to the appearance are not damage related, they will be out of pocket, but could make the difference between a sale or vacancy. 

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