May 19, 2024


Mad about real estate

Real Estate and Death

Death and Real Estate.

Nothing is as final as an estate sale. Family members usually have opinions that get vetted in the process. A word to the wise; be succinct, be brief, use a gentle hand, and be prepared for the unexpected.

This can be unstable territory for the family,  tensions can peak when it involves the sale of the family home. Pent-up rivalries boil to the surface during many of these sales. Family members are emotionally charged….prepare to tread softly. Not all estate sales are “Estates”. Some are just homes that need a lot of work that have an inflated value placed by their heirs.

I know…it won’t happen in your family….well…stand by. Things tend to get a little freaky…no matter what the pre-resolve. You can set your watch to it.

Some helpful battle weary rules beyond the basics:

As the Realtor, follow real estate rules explicitly set forth in your state, and pay attention to every detail. Your involvement will be under a high level of scrutiny.

Follow the direction of the Executor(s) of the estate. They are the legal entity that calls the shots (not the bereaved cousin) and remember to use a gentle hand. And if the property is in probate, follow what the probate calls for explicitly.

Useful suggestions that I have employed in the past concern the contents of the property. What do you do with all the stuff inside?  The seller (the executor) might need a little guidance from you.

This is not the standard moving checklist. This involves your suggestions on “tag” ladies, estate sale specialists, estate attorneys (if the executor is from out of state), and some basic insight from their Realtor as to what needs to be done in order for the home to to become Market Ready.

If an estate sale is needed, do not have the family box stuff up and put it in storage.  Most storage places will not allow sales to the public at their locations.  Let the estate sale manager do the sale at the house, then put the house on the market.

However, if there will not be an estate sale-and the property needs to be disposed of quickly-suggest to the executor to have the contents of the home be boxed up, labeled, and placed into storage… to be dealt with at a later date. Dispersal doesn’t need to be instantaneous and yanked on a beckon call.

Your communication needs to be discreet and only with the Executor(s) of the estate. You should be well versed in the rules of the state and the probate court. Consult with your local Estate Attorney if needed.

Keep in mind that those involved in this process  (the death of a loved one) are somewhat exhausted.  Press to have the property priced to sell…Don’t add angst by overpricing and under-delivering. It is better to get the property sold quickly as it helps to alleviate the stress on the family. 

It’s usually a difficult situation for the seller(s) and it is up to the Realtor to make it as easy and stress-free as possible. Be the Realtor(r) that makes the property sell.