Selling a House After Family Death

When figuring out how to sell an estate, there are some important considerations

1. Transference of real estate after death

With or without a will….who gets ownership?
Authority for executor to liquidate the property
Insolvent property (more debts than assets)
Follow state law for a priority list of who you have to pay

2. Pay the bills for the home

Mortgage, utilities and maintenance
What if it’s a reverse mortgage
Pay bills through the estate not personally

3. Collect all the necessary documents related to the home

The documents you will want to gather may include:

  • Receipts from bills – You will need to freeze your relative’s credit and contact all creditors, including the three major credit reporting agencies
  • Investment documents – Your relative may have had stocks and/or bonds
  • Insurance documents – There may be a policy from an employer, or one purchased privately
  • Homeowner’s policy – Keep homeowner insurance up to date
  • Bank account documentation – You want accurate information on all of your relative’s bank accounts
  • Personal documents – If your relative had any personal documents, like journals, poetry, etc., you might like to have it at a later date for sentimental reasons
  • Will–if there is one, will simplify the distribution of the estate

4. Change The Locks and Mail Delivery

Enhance security for home especially if vacant
Collect any keys given out (relatives, babysitter, dog sitter, contractors)

5. Go Through Everything in the Home

Clear out all possessions
Stage home for sale
Hold estate sale to maximize the value of possessions.

6. Get the Home Ready to For Market

This may include:

  • Getting rid of old furniture
  • Changing old window coverings
  • Removing wallpaper
  • Changing carpeting or other dated flooring
  • Refinishing hardwood floors
  • Applying a fresh coat of paint
  • Eliminating all signs of pet ownership, like stains and other damage
  • Installing new fixtures
  • Updating lighting
  • Through cleaning

7. Hire a Top Producing Real Estate Agent

Picking the right real estate agent is critical to your success. From pricing the home correctly to having an exceptional marketing plan to staying in constant communication, your real estate agent needs to be on top of their game

8. Did The Seller Die in The Home

Whenever you are selling an estate sale, be prepared for the buyer to ask if the death took place in the house
Buyers can now find out if a death has taken place in a house in a new website called Died in House. The site will check the following:

  • A death in a house and any relevant details
  • Names of those who died
  • The vitality status of associated people
  • Cause of death if available
  • Additional deceased information

It is important to understand the disclosure laws for your state

9. After Estate Sale Tax Consequences

For vital tax considerations and how they relate to your personal circumstances be sure to see the IRS guidelines on estate sales