How to sell a property after someone dies


When the death occurs in the real estate it is a very sensitive situation. How to deal with it? And what about if the tragedy or suicide happened there?

Doba čtení: 5 minut

How to handle buyers’ questions about death

In the event that you leave the sale of the deceased’s property to a real estate agency, you will not have to worry about viewings and handling unpleasant questions with interested buyers. But if you want to arrange everything yourself, be prepared for the following questions. “Why are you selling the apartment / house?” This turns the conversation to death and may be followed by questions such as “Who died?”, “Did the death happen on the property?”, “Was it a natural death, suicide or violent death?” Interested parties may care about your situation of feelings, as they only want to buy a property and so only care about its history. Don’t blame them. For some, the idea of ​​sleeping in a room where a person recently died or even committed suicide is unacceptable and can break any potential deal.

Is the seller obliged to inform potential buyers about a death in the property?

Simply put, the worse the cause of death which happened in an apartment or house, the worse and at a lower price it will sell. This leads some sellers to try to hide information about a death from buyers. Sometimes they even hide them from real estate agents, someone they are entrusting with the sale. However, news of a death can easily be found out.

Although, by law, the seller has no obligation to inform a buyer of a death that occured in the property, I always recommend the seller to communicate this information to all serious interested parties. It is basic human decency. After all, sooner or later they will find out from the neighbours. And if they don’t hear it from you, you’ll lose their trust, which can lead to a lost sale.

It is certainly not necessary for you to tell the buyer an elaborate story about the cause of death, just state the fact that the death occurred. Likewise, do not include information about the death directly in the advertisement or to everyone who comes for a viewing. Only tell those who show a serious interest in buying. The dignity of how you behave in such a sensitive situation will affect the atmosphere and the course of the entire sale.

Tragic death in real estate

A much more serious situation is when a suicide, fatal accident, or even a murder has occured on the property. The property thus gains a certain stigma

People are instinctively curious about death, especially if it happens in a particularly tragic manner. The media has long understood that the colourful description of tragic news can attention, readability, and viewership and thus secure higher advertising revenue. However, you are not a journalist. If you tell a colourful story about a suicide, wth specific details including the exact spot in a property where it happened, people will be interested, but will not buy. Let the details of any tragedy remain unknown.

How to proceed if the death occurred directly on the property

I have personally sold properties where someone had killed themselves. My colleagues also have experience with selling a property where a murder took place.

Selling such a property is complicated, as it will definitely have a negative effect on the price, but it is not impossible. Those interested in buying can usually accept that an old grandmother died of natural causes in an apartment, but many people refuse to buy a property where, for example, people burn died in a fire, committed suicide or were murdered. Others are willing to buy such a property only if the price is lowered. These usually include buyers who are emotionally colder or investors who will rent the property out, for example with short-term leases to foreigners or people with bad finances as they do not have the money to be choosey.

However, time heals every tragedy, so even a tragic death on a property will be forgotten after some years, and over time the price of such a property will begin to return to a normal level. Just think, in the Czech Republic are properties where shootouts with the Gestapo took place, or deported Jews lived, or other war horrors took place, sometimes marked by commemorative plaques on the side of the building or on the pavement outside. Yet today, no one cares too much about what happened so long ago.

In conclusion

Arranging the sale of a property following a death can be psychologically very demanding. The place itself carries with it a number of memories, both sad and joyful. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask for help from loved ones, or contact one of our real estate agents for advice. An experienced, sympathetic property broker will treat you with kindness and consideration of your situation, and will do their best to help you. We have real estate agents like this.

We wish you good luck in selling your property and much strength in the coming days.

Are you considering a sale? Start by finding out its market price. You can get a free estimate from us.

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Realitní makléř Petr Podlešák
Petr Podlešák - Realitní praxe od roku 2000

Article prepared by: Bc. Petr Podlešák, manager at RE/MAX Alfa

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