Estate cleanouts are usually an unhappy time for the person responsible. The selling of someone’s estate can be caused by a loved one’s passing, downsizing due to financial burden, or another major life event. It could even possibly be an eviction.
Whatever the reason, it’s a stressful time for whoever is affected, and you are looking for the easiest way to clean out your estate. This process could be even worse when there is more than one executor of the estate cleanout.
What to Remember During a Property Cleanout
When an estate sale is needed, most people do not know where to turn. Your first thought is most likely to hire an estate sales manager or auctioneer. Before you go through the hassle of the estate cleanout process, make sure you have considered all your options.
Is the estate filled with trash or debris? Are there items of value? Don’t get caught up in the hodgepodge of it all. This can be a simpler task than what you are working yourself up over. Instead, focus on the most important things to deal with during an estate or property cleanout, including:
More than likely, probate will occur if there is a death in the family and multiple family members are involved. During this time, it’s important to secure financial documents.
These will be crucial to filing anything for income taxes the following year. Be on the lookout for life insurance policies, estate deeds, bank statements, or stock certificates.
Not Everyone is Your Enemy
Times like these can really bring out the ugly in people. Don’t be at your wits’ end with your friends or family during the time of an estate cleanout. Keep in mind that everyone will not agree on the same strategies as you and that often times, everyone is emotional in this situation.
If the disagreements become bigger than you can handle, hire outside help. It’s not worth losing relationships over.
Figure Out Any Additional Costs
Every day that passes by without selling or renting the estate adds up quickly. The mortgage, taxes, and repairs can become out-of-pocket expenses you were not expecting. You’ll need to quickly figure out a plan of action. Review the extra expenses you don’t think about for a thorough cost analysis.
More often than not, family members live outside of the state or farther than normal from the estate that’s being cleaned out. Time isn’t on your side when a family member passes. Depending on your situation, you may need to rent a storage unit and come back when the timing is better.
We recommend avoiding this option if possible. The expenses will add up quickly when renting a storage unit, and you will have plans that get in the way of you rummaging through the items. If the items aren’t yours or don’t have sentimental value, then good riddance. Hire a local junk disposal company to do the heavy lifting for you.
Shipping Boxes and Fees
Do any of the items need to be shipped or delivered to a beneficiary or previous owner? The objects could be valuable, so they will need to be carefully packaged and shipped off. Depending on the size and weight, shipping costs can be more than you bargained for. Although the product may have an emotional attachment for whomever it’s going to be delivered to, ensure these costs are covered in the sale of some of the items.
Time is Money
The average American homeowner’s house is about 2,500 square feet, and the average estate cleanout ranges anywhere from 150 to 200 man-hours to complete. Don’t forget: your time is valuable.
Consider the time you are dedicating to the estate cleanout when reviewing the extra cost. Are you able to take off work? Make sure you have the time to commit to this project before getting started.
Think About Getting Insurance
There is risk associated with cleaning out an unoccupied property if you are having volunteers help. Be sure to take the necessary steps to avoid a lawsuit and investigate your insurance options. A better option is to hire an experienced hauler with insurance so you don’t have to worry about it.
Be thorough and ask questions when reviewing the estate. Inspect all items to make sure there are no additional storage units or garages that need to be cleared out. Don’t forget to check the backyard for an overlooked shed or storage space.
Was your relative a conspiracy nut? Check under their old mattress. They may have been storing some extra cash because they didn’t trust their money in a bank.