There comes a time in adulthood when, with much grief and loss, you also have to deal with inherited property. The house where you once enjoyed Sunday dinner and were served an abundance of delicious food is now the source of anxiety and depression. Instead of long chats with unmatched parental guidance, you are on your own, navigating the real estate market.

Losing your loved ones is always a difficult process. inheriting their property is both a blessing and a challenge. Here’s how that process went for me a few years ago.

On the day that I was blessed to inherit my childhood home, I stood outside wide-eyed, staring at the 1970’s suburban back-split that had never had a dime put into it. “How am I supposed to pay to fix this up,” I thought to myself. As I stepped into the untouched home filled with a lifetime of possessions, I was reminded of the show “Hoarders”. While some may say they find “treasures” in inherited property, I like to call it for what it is: Junk. Just piles and piles of unneeded junk.

My (now ex) husband and I decided to remove the items ourselves to save money. It took about a month to sort through the items and likely caused the divorce (just kidding- that was inevitable). That very same weekend I had an industrial-sized disposal bin dropped off in the driveway and got to work chucking the “treasures” that were left behind. Anything that was of value (silverware, furniture, records, etc.) I kept in the garage and had a MASSIVE yard sale that the neighbours STILL talk about to this day.

The untouched 1970s home needed anything and everything you could think of… Roof, Furnace, AC, mould removal, it had a pool that looked like a swamp, all the cosmetic items (think along the lines of having bright blue carpets in the Bathrooms. Yes you read that right – carpet in the Bathrooms (gag) ). When I used to watch the home renovations shows, I would think that the homeowners were silly to act surprised when their budget turned into double the cost. HA! I was no different with my $25,000 original budget. I was that homeowner that thought, “No this will be different- I can stay within the budget”… Ya okay! Try adding on another $30,000 on top of that to start. That was just to be able to make it livable.

At the end of what seemed like never-ending renovations, my partner and I debated what to do with the newly renovated home. We could sell it or we could move in.

After a ton of back-and-forth, we decided to move into the inherited property and rent out the townhouse that we owned. We hired a property management company to take care of the rental and we made my newly renovated childhood home “ours”. Would I do it again? Absolutely not.

Inheriting property was emotionally exhausting, the renovation was never-ending, and to this day, the house does not feel like “mine”. It feels like my parent’s house.

However, the challenge of inheriting property from your family is not something that comes to us by choice. One thing we can almost guarantee is that unexpected challenges and costs will come with it. So, when that time comes for you, or if it has already, we would recommend seeking expert advice to navigate the real estate market, the renovations, and the possible rental management of the newly acquired home.