Coping with the death of a parent is challenging, but selling their home can be fraught with challenges of its own particularly if they die without a will. Family members will be grieving and may be unable to make decisions. Siblings may have emotional attachments and create unrealistic expectations about what the property should sell for. At a time like this, there will be many emotions that may prevent clear and logical decisions being made.

Dealing with such a scenario can be a difficult and long process or depending on the circumstances relatively quick and painless. A lot depends on the heirs’ ability to ask for help and hiring a professional who knows the local housing market. Ideally, parents can take steps while they are still with their families to avoid many if not all of the complications of dealing with an estate. At the very least, make sure they have a will or alternatively they can create a trust. Always seek the advice of a qualified professional to avoid any unforeseen issues.

The biggest deterrent to selling a parent’s house is usually the emotional attachment. If the decision is to sell the home, be prepared to spend some money first. Before a home is sold, costs associated with maintaining the property still must be paid to prevent unintended consequences, such as broken appliances or fines from local government agencies. 

Should I do any work on the house before I sell?

It is not advisable to do repairs though cosmetic fixes can pay off. More substantial improvements generally do not. Remove furniture and belongings and show the property vacant or staged. Carpets should be cleaned and painting done, as needed. Hire professional cleaners and clean up inside and out.

Also, tax consequences must be considered. Estate inheritance and income taxes can impact the bottom line. Depending on what state the property is in, where the inheritor lives and how much money is being inherited could have a considerable impact on the final outcome. Again, check with local professionals/tax consultants before making any final decisions. 

Can I find help through this process?

Finally, using a professional Realtor will be invaluable in such areas as local market conditions and can relieve the heirs/siblings of the emotional burden of dealing with all the intricacies of selling the home-

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Making financial decisions today, especially about buying or selling a home can be challenging. I’m Tori Millan of and a real estate agent in

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