In: Real Estate

Getting a Handle on Inherited Properties

If you have inherited a property, it can be a double edged sword in that it is often a bittersweet feeling, for on the one hand it can be positive to be gifted with such a wonderful asset, yet on the other hand, there’s often a sense of sadness and loss associated with inheriting a property from someone you love.

Indeed, in the process of handling an inherited property you are going to find yourself having to handle an array of complex emotions as you come to terms with the loss, and in this sense, many people find themselves acting from a more emotional place rather than a logical place in terms of handling their inherited property.

Some will hang onto the property, treating it akin to a shrine of their bond with the person and the home itself, whilst others will have a much more detached and dissociated approach where they pull away from the situation like pulling your hand away from a hot iron.

For this reason, handling an inherited property can be an emotionally challenging situation that brings up a mixture of emotions.  Whilst some people prefer to keep the house, and the memories attached to it, others will view it as a chance to make an investment in their future, learn more about how to exchange the property, or add it to their existing portfolio of properties they manage.

Of course, inheriting a property is often the first step on the ladder of property investing, for those that don’t have much money, which means it can be a very welcome gift, yet dealing with an inherited property comes with much more emotion than most property acquisitions and it’s important to be mindful of those.

In many ways, it might be better to sell the house you’ve inherited and invest the money you make from the sale into something totally new, so that there’s a clean slate that isn’t tinged with sadness, emotional obligation, or loss.  Indeed, many people will put the house straight in auction as a means of disposing of the property without having a hands on approach due to it triggering too much upset.

No matter what you decide, there’s a strong chance, at some point in the near future you’re going to be in a position to want to sell the property, and whilst most people prefer to keep a little hands-off in terms of the processing of the house, on the basis of the many emotional triggers of the situation, it’s still important to make the house presentable for sale… and often that will fall on your shoulders.

As discussed, many people prefer to outsource the sales process to a real estate agent in order to manage the process from arms length; and one of the factors you will most likely be considering in terms of handling your inherited property is that of speed; in that most people after inheriting a property seem to want it to be over and done with, pretty quickly, in terms of the sale going through… yet often the houses we inherit are in a poor aesthetic condition that need updating in order to enhance the first impression the property gives off

There are a number of prep lists for selling a house, yet fundamentally, when it comes to an inherited house there are three fundamental steps to ensuring a good first impression; which is vital to forming the guyer’s gut instinct about the property.

This “gut instinct” which happens in the first few seconds, frames the rest of the viewing experience – meaning it’s vital the first impression is positive.

Here are three tips to help create the right impression necessary to selling your inherited home.


You want people to see the space at its best, as the ideal is people come into the space and see a blank canvas they can make their own.  If the space is too cluttered, particularly with boxes and personal items, it will make it much harder for the prospective buyer to see the home as their own.  

For this reason, there is a strong need to declutter the space – even if that means one room is full of boxes, for as long as you create the impression of space and a blank canvas in the rest of the house, the prospective buyer can forgive one room that is full of personal belongings.



All too often with inherited properties, as there’s been nobody to look after the place, the basics haven’t been taken care of – for instance, there may be overgrown lawns and bushes, or more structural issues that need your attention.



Your favourite colour combination might be beautiful to you, and the person you inherited the property from might have thought purple and yellow was the perfect match, yet what you really want to create when selling a house is a blank canvas that is neutral, so the prospective buyer can envision their own painting on the canvas.

It should therefore be a blank and neutral canvas the prospective buyer can project their own personality onto, and this is particularly relevant when it comes to selling an inherited house because on the one hand, you don’t want to paint over the walls and throw out all the person’s belongings, as there is a huge sentimental attachment there – but it’s imperative the house is made as neutral as possible, in terms of obtaining a quick sale.

In summary, if you inherit a property it’s important to be aware of your emotions and ensure you deal with them, rather than just plough forward from a place of logic and getting things done.  Take your time to process the loss, and as you move through each room, see it as a chance to cathartically cleanse the home and situation pertaining to the loss.

In terms of decluttering and cleaning the home, it’s not just good for potential purchasers, it’s also good for your healing process.