If you’re the executor of a loved one’s or friend’s estate, you may learn (or have already known) that they designated that their home, along with the furniture and other belongings in it, be sold after they died. Generally, when people stipulate this, they also specify that the proceeds are to become part of the estate, for distribution to heirs and beneficiaries in the amounts specified.
If the deceased person placed their home in a living trust, it shouldn’t even have to go through probate. Regardless of whether it does or not, you can make things considerably easier and more efficient by bringing in a real estate agent with experience in probate real estate sales. Your best bet may be to find a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES).
Securing the home until it’s sold
Selling the home will likely be one of your biggest priorities. It’s probably the largest single asset in the estate. The longer it remains unsold, the more chance you have of theft or vandalism. You should change the locks and make sure that no one (not even other family) goes in unless you’re there.
If there are items in the home that the deceased left to specific beneficiaries, get those out. The easiest way to deal with the furniture, artwork and other items is usually to hire a company to hold an estate sale.
How much time and money should you put into fixing it up?
Once everything is out, you and your real estate agent can determine whether to spend time and money on repairing and remodeling to get a better price or sell as-is. In a seller’s market, you may be able to get multiple offers on a home that’s been kept in reasonably good shape without doing anything. Remember that the longer the home stays unsold, the more you’re paying in property taxes, insurance, homeowners’ association dues and possibly mortgage payments.
It can feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s wise to rely on real estate, legal and other professionals who deal with these situations all the time to provide advice and assistance.