Tips for removing deceased's possessions from a property?

12 Replies

Hi folks,

I have a property that has quite a few items that will need to be cleared out before listing it for sale.

Does anyone have any tips for how to handle this most efficiently in a respectful manner?

Bonus points for any referrals that I can use here in San Diego!


Dumpster and some labor?

I'm not really being trite here. If the family doesn't want to deal with the leftover personal property, I can't imagine why they'd object to it all going into a dumpster. It's simple and cost effective.

This is real estate... if you get caught up in the emotional content of someone else's possessions (even the dead), you are going to have a pretty hard go of it.

Thanks @Dawn Anastasi .

I should have mentioned it earlier, but I'm also wondering the quickest way to sell those items that someone might pay for.

I know that there are companies that do estate sales, so I guess I'm also looking for references for those.

BTW, in this case I'm the relative.  ;-)

I started asking more generally to keep the thread less specific to that aspect of this... In part because I'm looking to purchase probates in the future, and am looking for solutions that I can use then too.

Plus I figure this will keep the thread more useful to others.  :)

Thanks @Aaron McGinnis .  I agree with what you're saying in most cases, especially standard flips, etc.

In this case there's some additional considerations because it's personal...

I'm also trying to figure out visibly respectful ways to handle this, because I'm looking to use these methods for future probate deals, and I want to have tools in my belt that I can use to demonstrate respect for the relatives and their loss.  (That would be part of my value-add to the relatives.)

We recently purchased a house where a single guy died and the home sat full for 3 years.  The family wanted absolutely nothing from the house, and to be honest, it was nasty.  There were a 5-6 pieces of solid wood furniture that may have brought in a couple of hundred dollars each, but we didn't have time for that, as we are in the flipping business-  not the resale furniture business.  The house was about 2,300 sf and there was quite a bit to remove.  I knew it would take 1-2 dumpsters, plus the cost of two guys' time for a couple of days to clean out the entire house.  Instead, we were able to find a lady (through an estate sale company) and our deal was that she could take anything she wanted BUT she had to take EVERYTHING (trash included) and gave her a time limit she had to get it done.  She was amazing and hauled off multiple trailers of trash and ended up saving us hundreds of dollars by us not having to get a dumpster or hire the guys.  Yes, perhaps we could have ended up with a few hundred dollars in our pocket if we had tried to sell the furniture, but in the end, we would have probably netted about the same amount of money/savings-- but would have had to work a lot harder.  I would much rather work smarter than harder ;)

Of course, if the furniture is of much greater value, you may want to try to sell it yourself.  Just make sure you assign a dollar value to the time it takes you to do it.

Good luck!

Julia, your solution is the best I heard - I had to do similar with my parents house and I did have a charity take some of it - but, my my, charities are very fussy these days! - I also gave a lot of my Dad's tools and stuff to a young couple starting out - whom I found using Craigslist for one thing then I just told them they could have almost anything else!

did have to pay the dump for a few items though!

What about donating to a good cause?  Here in Colorado Springs, an organization sets up housing for people that are transitioning off the streets.  Most of them only own what they can carry or were able to fit into a car.  Perhaps, you could check around and partner with this type of organization and a church college group that is looking for service projects.  The college group could package all the stuff and the organization could pick it up and put it into service.  This approach could be very healing to those that have suffered a loss.  Your business would be serving the community along with a tax write off.  This could be easy to duplicate once you make your contacts.

Nancy Allen

First thing I do is see if a local charity like Goodwill will take any of it; that gets you a tax deduction and they haul it for you.

Sometimes I will post free items on the Internet, but that means you have to have somebody onsite (just in case the item is not taken, to not leave things exposed). 

Then I contact my "trash out" services for their price to remove. They donate to their charities whatever they can, they might send some items for recycling, and to the dump with the rest. The REO agents can let you know who they use.