Estate Sale: How to Help a Client Sell Their Aging Parent’s Home

An Estate Sale becomes complicated when it involves selling someone's aging parent's home

Your parents are there for you from the moment you are born and all throughout your life. From staying up late to get you to sleep, through soccer practice and all the way through college. Although, there may come a time when they need your help more than you need theirs. It’s an emotional time to sell the family home where your family may have lived for several years or even decades. This gets all the more difficult when you factor in limitations that may be caused by illness or injury and hinder their viable housing options.

As a real estate agent, you should understand that when a client comes to you and asks for help selling an aging parent’s home, that they are carrying a heavy emotional burden. They are likely going to have to take on their parent’s care or put them in an assisted living facility. Taking this into consideration, there are a couple things that you can suggest that will help smooth the process out for them.

Contact the Parent’s Estate Attorney

The estate attorney should review any and all documents pertaining to the aging parent and determine if the client has the right to act on the parent’s behalf. If they do not have a trust or will, the client will have to obtain an attorney of their own to gain legal entitlement to act. If your client has been specifically named in the will or trust, then you can get to work helping them explore further options.

Determine Where the Parent Will Live

Many elderly individuals have lived in the same place for many years, the idea of selling the home and moving somewhere unknown can be an intimidating transition. Suggest to your client that much of this fear of the unknown can be alleviated by determining where the parents will be moving to and take the appropriate steps to get them acclimated to the new environment.

Taking this step to visit and view future accommodations will not only help reduce anxiety about the future for the parents but for your clients as well.

Contact Bank or Mortgage Holder

Once they’ve gained legal entitlement to act on their parent’s behalf, advise them to get in contact with the bank (or other institution that holds their mortgage). The estate attorney will be able to help you with any of the legal legwork and obtain the necessary documentation (title report, loan documents, deed, etc.) to find out if there are any holds, liens or other roadblocks that may gum up the selling process. During this process, the client should also seek out becoming an authorized signatory on their account. Until the house is sold, there are still household bills that will need to be paid and managed.

Repair and Renovate After Home is Vacant

One of the main problems facing old homes with elderly inhabitants is maintenance—or lack of it. You can severely improve the marketability of a home by making the necessary repairs and even renovating it. However, such huge changes can be noisy and distressing to the parents if they are still living there, especially if they are particularly sentimental with the property.

Simply carrying out any repairs and renovations after the parent has vacated the premises can prevent unnecessary stress and also reduce the time it takes to complete the work.

Using an IDX website attached to your CRM will help you help sell their parents home by streamlining communication as well as providing consistent reminders. Providing care for an elderly parent is a hard time for anyone, by establishing yourself as an agent who cares, you’ll set yourself up for future success.

Photo courtesy CC user danmoyle on Flickr