Selling a loved one’s home is a task many of us will face in our lifetime. Whatever the circumstances — you may be helping your parents transition to senior living, or handling their estate after death — the responsibility may be challenging.
To start, the sale of a childhood home triggers emotions and memories that would not be true of another home. Those pencil marks on the wall show how much you grew year to year; the scratch in the hardwood floor reminds you of the time you played hockey in the dining room. Plus, you may be emotionally drained because of the circumstances, and the real estate process can add to that stress.
But help is on the way! Working with an experienced real estate professional can help bring peace of mind and ease the stress of selling your parent’s home.
Four Tips for Selling Your Parent's Home
- Gather important documents. You may have already had the conversation with your parents about important papers related to their home, including insurance documents, homeowner’s policy, and bank accounts. If not, be prepared to gather everything you need and put it in one place. You may want to change mail delivery to your home to ensure you receive any important updates.
- Take an inventory of the home. Categorizing helps: sort things according to what you, a sibling, or a neighbor may want to keep, what you will donate, and what can be trashed. Of course, that is easier said than done when it comes to your parent’s belongings. If that is the case, consider hiring professional appraisers to help establish the value of items.
- Pare down or purge! You may view the home and reflect on the lovely life lived there, but buyers will just see someone else’s belongings. Buyers won’t be interested in the majority of the items in the home, so ideally, you should purge most of them. After determining the value of furniture, clothing, and jewelry, arrange for the delivery of or disposal of the home’s possessions. For hazardous materials (fertilizer, chemicals, leftover paint) check with your town or local carting facility. A real estate professional can help decide what to keep for staging the home for sale.
- Get the home ready for market. Now that you’ve pared down the home’s interior it’s time to get the house ready for buyers to view. If the home was purchased 30 or 40 years ago, chances are the décor (paint, wallpaper, carpet) is outdated. If your parents were infirm prior to their move or death, there may be underlying structural issues that need to be addressed. A real estate professional can assess what needs to be updated or fixed prior to putting the house up for sale.
Saying goodbye to a home you and your parents have lived in for decades is hard. But selling it doesn’t have to be. Real estate agents can help you every step of the way, from providing referrals for services and staging the home for sale, to establishing the right price and negotiating the best deal.