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What executors need to know if they’re tasked with selling a home

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2022 | Probate Administration |

People often discover as they’re discussing their estate plan with loved ones that no one wants to inherit their home. Therefore, they often designate that the home be sold and the proceeds returned to their estate for distribution to their beneficiaries.

If you’re the executor of an estate where the deceased’s home (perhaps along with most everything in it) needs to be sold, that’s likely going to be one of your biggest jobs. It can be hard to know where to start.

Why selling the home needs to be a priority

The longer the home goes unsold, the longer you’ll need to pay property taxes, insurance premiums and possibly the mortgage – which will lessen the ultimate value of the estate. You’ll also be responsible for keeping the home secure – both from thieves and family members who may want to go in and take a few things.

Before you take steps toward putting the home on the market, find out whether it needs to go through probate. That can be a lengthy process that can potentially delay the sale. If the deceased person took steps to avoid probate, such as placing their home and other significant assets in a living trust, that will simplify and speed up things for you.

You may want to retain a CPRES

If you were chosen as executor for your trustworthiness and organization rather than your real estate acumen, you may want to reach out to a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) or at least a real estate agent who has experience selling homes after the owner has passed away. They can help regardless of whether you’re dealing with probate or not.

A CPRES or other experienced agent can help you determine whether to invest in renovation and how much repair is worthwhile before selling the home. They can also help with things like choosing an estate sale company for the items in the home.

Estate administration can be an arduous job. Whether you’ve been entrusted with that job by the person who died or by the probate court, it’s wise to seek as much professional guidance – including legal guidance – as you need to help ensure that the estate is passed on in the way that was intended.