Selling any home is a trying process, involving precise time management, stacks of paperwork, and physical and emotional exertion. But selling your parents’ home can be doubly difficult.
Often, one sells a parent’s (or parents’) home under challenging and emotionally complex circumstances. Either a parent has recently passed away (bequeathing their estate to you), or you are navigating their move to assisted living. In either case, the emotional aspects can exacerbate an already taxing experience.
If you are tasked with selling a parent’s home, follow this short guide to make the process easier.
If Applicable, Use the Probate Period to Prepare
If you are selling the family home after a parent’s death, you will need to wait out the probate process. Unlike in films, there is (usually) no key transfer at the will reading; instead, you will need to wait for a grant of probate, which generally takes between six and eight weeks (although it can take years in rare cases).
There isn’t much a beneficiary can do in this process; it’s between the executor and the courts. Still, you can use the time to prepare emotionally and logistically for the road ahead. If applicable, talk with joint beneficiaries about a game plan. Find out if there are outstanding debts or liens on the house. And research realtors and estate cleanout services (more on those below).
Hire the Right Realtor
If you are selling a home on behalf of a living parent, or if your parent’s will grants you authority to sell the property, you will probably start by engaging a realtor. We say “probably,” because, in some cases, sellers prefer to list the property themselves (thereby sidestepping commission fees).
If you hire a realtor, consider a listing agent specializing in estate property sales or POA sales. The process tends to be trickier than a cut-and-dry sale-by-owner and requires the guidance of an experienced practitioner.
Use Professional Estate Cleanout Services
Before staging and marketing the home, you will need to clear out the belongings. This can be a monumentally emotional prospect, especially if you are grieving a death, or aiding a parent in assisted living.
The best advice here is to seek out a compassionate, experienced estate cleanout company. Estate cleanout services will help declutter the home and – with your guidance – organize belongings to keep, sell, donate, discard, etc. They can also provide professional advice, liaise between third-party professionals and organize estate settlement paperwork.
Market the Property
A quality estate cleanout service should get you most of the way toward a presentable, marketable home. And a good listing agent should bear the brunt of staging and marketing. But, depending on your listing agreement, you may shoulder some of the responsibilities. In any case, it’s wise to take an active role in overseeing the process, ensuring that the home looks its best. You can also follow up with your realtor to ensure they have a comprehensive marketing game plan that includes multiple channels (MLS listings, physical signage, social media, open houses, etc.).
Selling a family home isn’t easy. It involves complex processes and even more complex emotions. Follow the straightforward steps above to get the support and resources you need to navigate the experience.