Share this post:
Selling the home of a parent that can no longer live on their own or has departed can be one of the most challenging times that we have to face. It’s painful to deal with the fact that our parents might not be around forever. As adult offspring, we bear the responsibility of making sure our parents are well taken care of and that their assets are respected after they’re no longer with us. Waiting for your parents to tell you they can no longer take care of themselves typically is a day that does not come. Preparing yourself for the inevitable can help alleviate some of the stress, but not being prepared for this time can make it even more difficult to process mentally and emotionally. Whether you are in the middle of dealing with selling your parent’s home or preparing for when the time comes, educating yourself for what comes next is always a good call.
Selling your parents home and what to know about doing so can be a difficult process. You might be about to experience peak stress levels. It’s going to be hard, but there are a few ways to make it easier. When preparing to sell your parent’s home there are key steps you must take to ensure you get a fair price and sell the home at its best. Making sure you know your timeline, whether you are the main inheritor, what kind of legality is involved, if there is an executor that is not yourself, preparing the house, reviewing the home insurance policy, preparing to list the home, and interviewing the real estate agent before the home goes on the market. While this list looks overwhelming, believe me I know it does, don’t worry. I’ll do my best to guide you through each of these steps with tips on how to make the whole process easier for you and your family.
Part of the struggle of selling your parent’s home is that sometimes if you live far away and only have a couple of months you can be away from work or family, your timeline can be pretty slim. Other times, you might live in the area and have a longer timeline before you need to get the house on the market. In either scenario, being aware of exactly how much time you have can give you a better idea of how quickly the next steps should be taken.
Keep in mind that the longer you take to sell the home, the longer you will have to pay to keep paying utility bills. Buyers don’t want to tour a home with the lights off. Making a detailed calendar of goals can be helpful for the days that your brain feels like mushy peas. I know as soon as I put something in writing, I feel a greater need to accomplish the task and that can be imperative to stick to a timeline.
Consider everyone that is listed in the will and all direct descendants of your parents when selling the home. Perhaps you are not an only child and maybe your siblings have different feelings about what to do moving forward with selling your parent’s home. If Aunts, Uncles, and cousins are all due for inheritance in the will, they will need to be included in the decision as well. Even if everything is spelled out in the will, you as the executor are responsible for making sure everything is allocated as it should be.
Those who have differences in opinion could pose issues if not taken care of. Of course, try to work it out amongst yourselves if you can, but if you cannot, that is where the law will come in. If you have been given power of attorney, the legality of it all should be written out and clear, but the animosity between siblings and family members might not be. While this is already a difficult time, it often puts people on their worst behavior. Being prepared before going into the lion’s den is a must. Speak to a financial advisor before any discussions erupt, this way you will be prepared to back up your claims on the spot and nip any accusations in the bud.
When people ask, “What are the top things to know when selling my parent’s home?” I tell them, know the legal terminology and what it means. Knowing who holds what responsibility and what can legally be done with the estate is your ticket to a smooth sale. While Google offers quite a few answers, you want to make sure you confirm with a legal advisor or real estate professional before you make any assumptions.
Power of attorney means your parents have agreed beforehand that you will be responsible for them and their assets before and after they pass away. The difference between POA and an executor is that an executor is designated in the will before death and is activated by applying for probate through the courts after death. If either of these titles applies to you, then you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. You are and will be responsible for all financial decisions regarding your parents and this can be a tricky position to be in. Your best bet for assuring everyone and everything is put in the right place, you will need legal documents.
Legal documents you will need to procure include:
If this feels confusing, I hear you! Strongly consider contacting a financial advisor and a real estate firm you can trust to discuss exactly what needs to happen in your unique situation. You are not alone, even though it might feel that way. There are people out there that have been through this many times through their years of experience and they want to help you.
If your siblings are fighting about when to sell, how much, and who gets what amount, then someone has to take charge. If you are named the executor on the will, then the next step is applying for probate. Even if you are confirmed as the executor, you will need the permission of your siblings and the court to sell your parent’s home. Investing in a mediator can save you time and energy when it comes to arguing with siblings. If they simply will not budge, it is helpful to have someone on your side that can help reason with them so that assets can be split up fairly and evenly. We all know people behave better around strangers, so there is a benefit to inviting a professional into the mix.
One reason you might need to sell your parent’s home as executor is to pay off the remaining debt after your parents pass away. Whether your siblings like it or not, the only way out of this position is if your parents died bankrupt. You might be able to leverage the need to pay off your parent’s debt as a way to get your siblings or family members to concede. While it’s not the most poetic, it is practical and sometimes necessary.
Once everyone is in agreement that it’s time for the home to be sold, start preparing the home for sale. This means you will probably want to get it inspected and clear out items that are sentimental. After valuable items have been split up between children, allowing family members that would like to have a sentimental item to come and choose something is a nice gesture. After everyone has what they need from the home, having an estate sale can be a final step in preparing the home for viewings. After all the large items are moved out, the most common repairs are painting, stripping wallpaper, and pulling up carpet. Making the home look fresh and ready for new buyers is essential to making a quick sale.
For large repairs, like roofing or burst pipes, review the home’s insurance policy and file a claim to get these issues repaired while the policy is still active. Paying for large repairs is the last thing you need to be worrying about in a time like this, so taking the time to look over the policy can save you a world of stress.
The more practical side of reviewing the policy is that you will need to change it eventually. Vacant homes run the risk of vandalism and people breaking in to steal things like appliances and copper wiring. Vacant homes are not protected under a normal home insurance policy, so if you know who insures the home, give them a call and see what you need to do to change the policy over. Protecting the home while it is vacant usually isn’t at the forefront of your mind in a circumstance like this until the worst-case scenario becomes reality. Don’t let that become your reality. Make sure your parent’s largest asset is covered until it is sold.
When preparing to list the home after repairs are done and the house is beautiful, look for a local experienced Realtor who has experience selling homes with a person acting as power of attorney or executor. You will know which realtors dominate the area by signage and checking their websites and social profiles (ie. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Researching online ratings and reviews can help you determine who is well-liked, but also the types of selling situations they have worked on before. Once you select a few candidates, interview the agents during the free home evaluation.
Ask about the process of selling and test the realtor on their knowledge about selling properties in situations like yours.
Some examples of questions to ask are:
Also, try to ask questions about your specific situation. This will help you gauge how much help they will be to you as an individual. There are realtors that tout their experience and realtors that have the expertise to back it up. This will help you weed out who is perceptive enough to answer your questions and who doesn’t have the familiarity with the circumstance. It can be hard to trust your instincts when it comes to selling a home that you aren’t living in, but asking the right questions can put you on a better judgment path to choosing the most knowledgeable agent to work with.
When selling your parent’s home in the North Delta or Surrey region, you don’t want to settle for less. Don’t settle for less than what the home is worth. Don’t settle for a real estate agent that won’t sell the home for what it’s worth. Don’t settle for a lack of expertise in the type of sale you need. You have a long road ahead of you, but choosing a realtor that can give you peace of mind during this trying time is worth every penny. Thankfully, there is an expert in the area that can help you with selling your parent’s home and more.
If you’re looking for a realtor that has the experience necessary to successfully sell your parent’s North Delta or Surrey home, then Sukh Brar is the agent for you! With 14 years in the industry, Sukh will ensure you get the personalized treatment you deserve during a time when you need it most. Unlike an inexperienced realtor, Sukh and his team have precise knowledge of your situation and can offer trustworthy advice and sell your parent’s home quickly at an excellent price.
Call (604) 648-7800 today to meet with a professional that can guide you through this difficult time or visit the website to contact online!