7 tips when selling your Parents’ Home

Janey Bishop
Janey Bishop
Published on April 13, 2021

One of the hardest things in life for us to come to grips with is that our parents have advanced into old age.

At some point in the not-too distant future, they will leave the home, whether through death or hospitalization. Then, it’s up to you to dispose of their belongings and the home.

Depending on family dynamics, selling a parent’s home can very easily be a situation fraught with potential problems.

Let’s look at some tips to make it easier.

Get it on the market as quickly as possible

There are several reasons this is easier said than done, and we’ll get into some of those below, but the longer the house sits unoccupied, the more carrying charges you’ll incur, such as property taxes, utility bills and vacant home insurance. Houses should not sit empty too long because the mechanical systems need to stay in use to prevent problems. 

Get a head start

You won’t be able to obtain clear title on the property until a personal representative is appointed and is given the documents required to dispose of real property. While you wait, however, you can save time by making repairs and interviewing senior and probate certified real estate agents.

Check out the home’s mechanical systems

Elderly homeowners often can’t keep up with routine home maintenance and don’t see the signs of disrepair (interior and exterior). The last thing you need during the sale process is a costly surprise, such as faulty heating or plumbing.

Be ready to dispose of stuff

Your parents likely will have accumulated many things over the years. Hopefully, they won’t have been hoarders, but even so, you’ll have plenty of things that neither you nor your siblings want. It could be outdated furniture or your dad’s dragon collection. Some things may have value such as tools. frames, vintage clothing and accessories. Every member of the family with an interest in the home should be involved in the sorting and disposal process. Although you may be better dividing categories (books, clothes,….) to prevent endless discussion and disagreements. 

It can be very sad to toss out or donate things that meant so much to our parents and some family members may take it harder than others.

If you grew up in the home, bring tissues

Nothing we say will prepare you for the emotions you’ll feel when all is said and done and you close and lock the door to the family home for the last time. It helps to think of it as handing it over to a new family to make their family memories.

Feel free to ask your Realtor for copies of the listing photos to keep as mementos. You may also want to take some of your own to remember special parts of the property that mean a lot to you, such as an outdoor.

Trust your Realtor to list the home at its market value

Heirs often have dollar signs in their eyes and want to set the asking price too high, which can lead to the house staying on the market much longer, increasing those carrying costs.  I customarily provide my clients a Seller Sheet so you will see the Closing Costs and what the net proceeds are likely to be.

Ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the asking price and how far everyone is willing to negotiate on price. This will save time during the process.

Don’t DIY it

As tempted as you might be to make money from the sale, especially if you have several siblings to divide it up among, let professionals help you. Surround yourself with experts, especially if you hope to make any money from the situation.

If you’re the estate’s personal representative, hire a Probate lawyer to help with the many filings the court will require, and hire an experienced Probate Realtor. An agent is especially essential if you and your siblings live out of town and can’t be there to hire people to clean out the home and fix it up.

Give the home a little primping

Although your parents’s home may be dated, place limits on the money you spend to fix it up. Giving the kitchen a total makeover, for instance, probably isn’t worth the cost involved. But it will pay off to clean thoroughly (including the exterior), paint the walls and remove old carpeting throughout the house, especially if there are hardwood floors underneath.

For a free consultation about selling your family home in Woodland Hills, Calabasas, West Hills or the San Fernando Valley      Call Janey Bishop   (818)570-1144     email [email protected]    or watch my videos on https://janeybishop.video/Empty-Nest-Downsizing-Playlist

Senior Real Estate Specialist,     Probate Certified,        Real Estate Collaboration Specialist – Divorce

How much is your home worth?
Find out today.

Let's Talk Real Estate!

Get A FREE Home Valuation!
Yes I want it!