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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!

Beth Richardson

Beth began her real estate career in 1991 at Coldwell Banker. She joined RE/MAX in 1994 and has moved steadily through its sales awards programs (from Executive Club to President's Club to 100% Club to Platinum Club to Chairman's Club). RE/MAX continues to be home to the nation’s top REALTORS®. Beth has been voted by readers of the Minnesota Women's Press as Favorite Real Estate Agent 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2007. Beth holds the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), the ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), and the CNE (Certified Negotiation Expert) designations. Prior to starting her real estate business, Beth was a social worker, (LISW), working with emotionally disturbed kids and their families. She holds an MA in human development from BGSU in Bowling Green. Business History 1992-present Residential REALTOR® 1986-1991 Social worker in various positions 1980-1985 Retail and food service management Professional Designations ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative CRS - Certified Residential Specialist® CDPE - Certified Distressed Property Expert CNE - Certified Negotiation Expert Professional Qualifications MA Human Development 1988, Bowling Green State University Minnesota Real Estate License Active member of the National Association of REALTORS® Active member of the Minnesota Association of REALTORS® Active member of the St. Paul Area Association of REALTORS® Active member of the REALTORS® National Marketing Institute RE/MAX Sales Awards Top 5 agent in Minnesota President's Club Executive Club 100% Club Platinum Club Chairman's Club


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