By Michael Longsdon, Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels
The passing of a loved one represents a trying time in anyone’s life. There are events to arrange, responsibilities to handle, all while dealing with the sorrow of losing someone close to you. Selling your loved one’s home (also known as an “estate sale”) can represent a challenge, both practically and emotionally, as you work through that grief in a physical way. This includes everything from furniture moving to completing all the requisite paperwork.
Your Peace of Mind Realtor invites you to take a look at some of the important activities you’ll find yourself doing during the estate sale, so you can be better informed and devote more of your time to the other responsibilities on your plate.
Determine who the house goes to
First, and perhaps most important, it’s critical to determine which relative gains possession of the house by law after the person’s death. Technically, as Estate Planning notes, after debts are paid by whatever assets remain from the deceased, the home will go to whomever the deceased has named in their will.
However, if there is no will, the property will then belong to the heirs or beneficiaries determined by law, depending on what state the deceased resided in. For instance, if a single parent of two adult children passes away, both children are technically granted ownership of the property and can continue paying the mortgage from where the loved one left off.
Remember, finances can be a sensitive matter in the days after a relative has passed. Determining ownership is important but needs to be handled with a deft hand and emotional sensitivity. Make sure that all parties who have played a care-taking role are rightfully compensated, and a great deal of turbulence can be avoided.
Obtain title insurance
If it is determined that you are the grantee of the home, you should immediately obtain title insurance. Deeds.com points out that this will help you avoid risks associated with the title’s history. Some potential problems include deed forgeries, undiscovered easements, or inaccurate property descriptions. Partnering with title insurance experts can remove that stressor.
Gather the required documents
As with any business arrangement, there are a lot of official documents you will need to acquire before you can make the sale official or, indeed, even begin the process.
Here is a list of the documents you will need to gather in order to have a successful estate sale:
- Mortgage information (including payoff amount)
- Copy of the sale agreement
- Copy of title report
- Copy of the deed
- Property tax information
- Past utility bills
- Homeowners insurance documents
- Homeowners Association forms (where applicable)
Prepare the home for sale
Preparing your loved one’s home for sale is more than painting the walls or repairing a leaky faucet in the master bathroom. It means removing the person from the home entirely — and packing up their things to either sell or distribute among family members. Going through your loved one’s belongings can be a hard lesson in grief, but it also offers you the opportunity to say goodbye in a meaningful way.
Although you may not have a lot of time to go through their things, be intentional about the process. Make sure you communicate with family members who can’t be there for this step and determine if there are things they want you to keep or sell. You may also consider discussing using proceeds from the sale of the home to start a nonprofit in your loved one’s honor, designating the nonprofit’s purpose as one that aligns with a cause they were involved with or passionate about. ZenBusiness can walk you through the process.
Consult a reliable real estate agent
As with the sale of any home, going through a respectable realtor like Orlando Pino is the way to go. Reliable real estate agents will know how the local market operates, what you need to do in terms of paperwork and negotiations, and, perhaps most importantly, will take this part of the process off your hands so you don’t have to worry about it. Since this is their job, they will have an attention to detail that you may not.
Selling a deceased loved one’s home can be a very emotional experience. To ensure that the process goes smoothly, make sure you take everything into consideration before you begin. Teaming up with a real estate agent you can trust will also make this a little easier.
Orlando Pino is Your Peace of Mind Realtor, ensuring your real estate buying or selling experience is as easy, comfortable, and profitable as possible. Reach out today! (714) 686-7736