HomeSmart Evergreen Realty
Tricia Ebert & Ernie Sheesley, Realtors®

Going through the loss of a loved one is a life-changing event for you. Deciding to move, whether for a change of scenery to start fresh or out of necessity, is a decision that brings about another big change. A lot of different factors go into this decision from practical matters like the process of selling and packing to the emotional matters of deciding where to move and handling your loved one’s belongings.

How do you know if moving is the right thing to do?

For some people, moving after a loss is the most practical thing to do, especially choosing to downsize to a smaller place that’s more manageable. You may also consider your social network and whether moving to be closer to friends and family could help you get through this emotional time. Your home is more than just a house, and you naturally have an emotional attachment to where you spent the most time with your loved one.

At the same time, it can be healthy to keep those memories in your heart while moving to a new place where you can start fresh. Considering all of these factors, make sure you do what’s right for you because well-meaning friends and family members will probably give you conflicting advice.

What should you consider when selling and buying a new home?

If you’re selling the home you owned with your spouse, there may be legal and tax considerations, like the tax deduction for a jointly owned property. You also will want to consider the value of the home you’re selling when budgeting for your new home, especially if your loss means finances will be tighter. An experienced real estate agent can be valuable in helping you navigate these complex legal and financial considerations.

You may also need to make some changes to get your home ready to sell. The Balance recommends being as practical as possible about making the changes necessary to increase the home’s value and suggests following a checklist to help keep you on track. You may need to paint, remove dated window coverings and replace old flooring to get your home in the best condition for selling.

When looking for a new home, start by thinking about where you see yourself in the future. For many people, going “home” to be closer to family gives them a sense of comfort and normalcy following a death. For others, this is an opportunity to branch out to a spot they’ve always dreamed of. Whichever is best for you, don’t let your emotions keep you from finding a home that truly suits your needs, now and for the future. You may want a home that’s on a single level and that will require minimal maintenance. Downsizing to a smaller home also has the added benefit of reduced energy costs. Make sure to research home prices in the areas where you want to live.

Like most people, you’ll need to find a way to finance a new house, which is usually done via a mortgage loan. There are many different loans to choose from (fixed rate, adjustable rate, etc.), so make sure you do plenty of research to ensure you find one that fits your budget and needs. However, if you’re a veteran, there are special loans you can pursue, such as a VA loan. VA loans provide benefits you won’t receive through other loan programs. VA loans have lower interest rates, and you won’t have to pay monthly mortgage insurance payments, also known as PMI (private mortgage insurance).

How do you navigate packing and sorting your loved one’s belongings?

Once you sell your home, the time will come to pack up and get ready for the move. This is naturally going to be a highly emotional process, so it’s important to have a plan and do your best to make decisions wisely. What’s Your Grief recommends sorting belongings based on the 4Ps — participants, people, prioritize & plan, and pace yourself. Approaching sorting items with this plan won’t take away your grief, but it can make the process easier.

The “participants” part of this plan is about whether you do this alone or get help and support from others. Even if there are some parts you feel you need to do alone, don’t try to take on everything by yourself. You may even benefit from hiring professional movers who offer a packing service. Having this help relieves a lot of pressure from your shoulders, and hiring a professional allows you to take a step back. Just be sure to take the time to shop around.

Whatever your reasons are for moving after your loss, this isn’t a decision to be made lightly. Leaning on the support of professionals and those who are close to you can make it easier, though. They can help you navigate this process so you’re able to start over in a space where you can honor your loved one while also making it your own.

Article written by Lucille Rosetti at The Bereaved
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What my clients are saying  

"When my wife and I separated, we of course needed to sell our house. It was a very tough time for both of us. But despite our stress and grief, Tricia was really great understanding our difficult situation, and was able to work with both of us to satisfy our needs. We had to sell the house as fast as possible and get the most possible from the sale. Tricia was able to accomplish both! She is VERY knowledgeable about the market, and treats each sale (both buying and selling) as if it is her own home. It made our difficult situation less stressful knowing she was taking care of us. We are both very grateful she was there for us. Tricia is the best!"


~ M., Burbank, CA

Tricia is a great person to work with. She was very familiar with the process, and she was very patient. Tricia did help us find the right townhouse for us. Highly recommended!


~ Aristos & Suzanna Theoharides, Burbank, CA

Tricia is AMAZING! We had to do a short sale with our property, and Tricia's expertise made the process so easy, and dare I say, even enjoyable! We will definitely work with her again and refer her to everyone we know who needs a knowledgeable, patient, and professional agent.


~ Bowe & Gina K., Burbank, CA

I love Tricia! She really helped me through everything. Very knowledgeable and thorough. So glad she was on my side!


~ Mari Helgeson, Hollywood, CA

I call Tricia my Angel. She genuinely cares about her clients and goes out of her way to help them. She helped my family do a short sale on our house, and we felt completely taken care of throughout the process. I highly recommend Tricia to all of our friends and family.


~ Fides D., Van Nuys, CA

Tricia is truly a hands-on Realtor whose attention to detail takes the stress out of house hunting. She has helped me buy two properties over the years, and I would recommend her to anyone looking for a real estate agent. Tricia is hard-working, caring, and guides her clients through the buying and selling process step-by-step. A consummate professional!


~ Kari Wahlgren, Burbank, CA

Tricia: Impeccable professionalism, humor and good spirits. Constant cheerleader and positive force of nature. Not only our Realtor but our teacher, our guide, our guardian angel. We feel so fortunate that Debi found you and led us to you. You encouraged us from the get go. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. It goes without saying but, we could not have done it without you! Hugs and Happy Dancing!


~ Sarah & Chad Wiley, North Hollywood, CA

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