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Selling An Estate Home

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Selling An Estate Home

A Realtor Overview


Heirs, their families and Personal Representatives are often charged with selling estate homes they have not lived in for decades and know very little about. This is a difficult time for the family members and emotions are still raw. Often several heirs need to concur on all major decisions.

Sometimes there are legal issues to overcome. As an example, an appraisal is done as of the date of death. If enough time has passed before selling the home that appraisal may not match today’s market value. Courts sometimes insist the sales price needs to start at the appraised value. Or items such as unpaid condo dues or real estate taxes can create unpleasant surprises. Sometimes an adult child with no means of support lives in the house.

Selling an estate home is different from regular home sales in other important ways. Some these differences are:

 Decisions  to sell as is or fixed up        A checklist of things to do                                                                         The is home often sold vacant
 The estate PR may live out of town
 Communication with the PR and heirs
 Supervising preparation for sale
 It is a team effort

Let’s Examine The Issues & How We Can Help

Decisions About How to Sell the HomeA pin-up sign asking how to solve a problem

Selling an estate home can lead to decisions on how to sell the home: A quick cash sale (lowest price), as is (medium price) or some type of renovation (Highest price).
Your agent can provide you with a market value of each option and cost estimates for repairs, renovation costs and market preparation. In this way you will have sufficient information to make the decision that is in your best interest.

The Home Is Sold Vacant                                                                                               

Estate homes often go on the market unoccupied. Following clean-up and a few repairs, the home often goes on the market with plain white walls, empty rooms and bare floors. If the house is in good condition or repaired to a good condition, a few additional steps can help heirs get the best price. This is a bit similar to selling an investment home.

Selling a home is very visual, both in the initial viewing on the internet and when a buyer enters the home. For this reason some light decorating helps make a good first impression. Things like using kitchen accessories, towels in bathrooms, dining tables and china, accent rugs and wall pictures make the home look warm and inviting, not empty and desperate to sell. If the house does not pass the internet test, the home will not be visited.

Sometimes the house is in bad shape and the estate has no liquidity. In that case price will be your main tool

The PR, Family & Heirs May Live Out of Town 

There are certain things the Personal Representative needs to keep up with if they are local or out of town. The insurance should be paid, utilities maintained, and perhaps a mortgage paid to keep the house out of foreclosure. Mail should be forwarded to the PR and perhaps some security measures taken such as changing the locks.

The out of town PR, families and heirs do not want to be left wondering about the market preparation an image showing a man holding a documentof their home. To this end a web based notification board may prove useful. Regardless of time zones, vacations, and scattered locations heirs can see updates any time. Once the house is on the market, they can also see how many people saw the house. For those who are inclined, the agent can co-ordinate market preparation, paperwork, and contracts. Heirs are often scattered around the country or overseas. Arrangements with the settlement company can be made to send out and collect the needed closing paperwork 

It’s a Team Effort: Supervision, Clean-up and Repairs if Needed

If needed we can supervise cleaning the house, removing items the heirs do not want and making repairs. In addition,  we can arrange for personal items to be shipped to out of town heirs. We have used the same cleaners, trash-out crews and contractors for the last 15 years. They are honest, licensed and bonded. I use their services at my own home. Our team gives them a lot of business and they take care of our clients first.
However, you are welcome to handle this part yourself as many families have their own vendors of choice.

Selling an estate home can be no different than a regular sale with proper estate planning. Without it many of the issues described above can happen. Often its a group effort for the realtor and the heirs to put the property on the market in the best condition and get the best price. It often falls to the realtor to educate the heirs as to their options and let them chose what is in their best interest. Often the choice is to complete the tasks that create the highest net profit. However, sometimes just having the sale over and done with is the motivating factor.

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About The Author
Doug Kenny

Solutions Based Real Estate ServicesInitially starting as a real estate appraiser, I'm now a 20 year real estate sales veteran and associate broker at Remax. In real estate, what matters is getting a home or investment property sold in as short a time as possible. On the buying side of real estate, finding a home or investment real estate property that meets the need of the client is the key. We work very closely with all of our real estate clients to assure a positive result. This includes weekly communication and real estate status reports. Doug works in Montgomery County Md at Remax Pros. He can be reached at 301-351-1187 or at Broker Office phone number: 301-916-1400

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