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Selling A Home After The Owner Passes Away

Posted by Michigan Lifestyle Properties on March 22, 2021


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The following is a guest column written by Michael Longsdon. Michael is the founder of ElderFreedom, which advocates for the rights and support of seniors. Through his site, he provides tips to seniors on how to downsize and age in place.

Many of us will, at some point, be put into a position to have to take ownership of our parents’ or grandparents’ home after they pass. This is an emotional process, but one that also comes pre-packaged with practical and legal considerations that you can’t ignore. From understanding the probate process to implementing a seamless transaction, selling a home after a loved one’s death takes work.

The Early Stages

Upon your loved one’s death, their property will either convey to a beneficiary or enter the probate process. If a will is in place and there is an unencumbered transfer of property, it’s a smart idea to contact your real estate agent for more information on how to sell based on its location and price point. No matter the unique situation, Michigan Lifestyle Properties can help you find the right buyer.

If the home does fall subject to probate, you should know that this is a lengthy process, and it can take months to untangle who the property goes to if there is more than one potential heir. According to SmartAsset, probate requires identifying the decedent’s assets. This includes real estate, bank accounts, and other personal property. Before the property can be disbursed, debts must be paid, including the deceased person’s final taxes. You must also determine whether there is a current mortgage attached to the home. Once all legal matters are settled, you can prepare the home for sale.

Prepare For Listing

Getting your loved one’s home ready for the MLS starts by cleaning and clearing. If the home is full of furniture and personal belongings that your family does not wish to keep, it’s a smart idea to host an estate sale. Blue Sky Estate Services explains that this is a two- to three-day process. At the end of the sale, the home should be completely cleared out and ready for the next steps.

Once the home is cleaned and emptied of clutter, you can decide if you want to make upgrades or sell the property as a fixer-upper. The latter can help you make a faster transaction, but you’ll need to make sure that you and your agent know the home’s best features. These you will showcase on the listing. For example, if it is a large property with several acres, boasts a unique design, or comes with outbuildings, give more weight to this information.

Keep in mind, however, that you must be honest with buyers if there are any defects you are aware of, such as wood rot, busted plumbing, or inoperable systems. Failure to disclose can result in legal issues because, as BPE Law Group explains, it reduces a buyer’s ability to enter into a fair and equitable contract.

Should you choose to make repairs or upgrades, it’s wise to know which are most impactful. MoneyWise suggests focusing on curb appeal and cosmetics. If possible, update the bathrooms, and take steps to decrease home maintenance for future buyers. These are fairly inexpensive fixes, but they can have a significant impact on the home’s value.

Perhaps most importantly, understand that selling the home of a deceased loved one is an emotional event. Although you have a sentimental attachment to their property, you must be as objective as possible. Otherwise, your emotions may put a higher value on the home than the market will bear. If you want or need to sell quickly, listen to the advice of your agent, and know that they only have your best interests at heart.

Michigan Lifestyle Properties can help you sell your country, lake, and log homes and land. For more information, contact us today at (800) 413-1016

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