Advice for dealing with an estate that includes houses
Everyone’s parents are getting older. It’s a fact! I often have discussions with estate lawyers and here are some things I say to them. If this is useful to you please use and please feel free to call me for more clarification.
1. If a house is involved, the personal representative needs to be given a budget to prepare it for market. Even an ‘as-is’ sale includes a thorough cleaning and taking the piles of stuff away. Given our acquisitive society, that can be a huge job, that is too much to do without some monetary vehicle to make that happen.
2. If the estate does not want to leave $10s of $1000’s of dollars on the table, the budget might also need to include a fresh coat of paint, some new carpet, fresh lighting and plumbing fixtures.
3. Understand that if there is a sale to a family member who is going to buy the others out, (also in a divorce), the cost of selling (brokerage fees, title charges, state deed taxes, etc), should be added to the expense column before subtracting from the value in order to determine the equity split. It is a common mistake and hurts the person staying in the house.
4. Leave the negotiating to the real estate agent. Agree that the goal is either to get the most money or have the least trouble. That will give a clear direction to the person helping you.
5. Before you can do that make sure you have hired a knowledgeable agent. Don’t use a Real Estate for Dummies approach. Know that there is a lot to be known in the world of real estate and hire someone who has the knowledge to do the job. The two subgroups of real estate that require the most skill on the part of the agent are estates and relocation deals.
Coming next week: How smart people choose a real estate agent!