Over the past few weeks I helped five different parties sell a home that they inherited from their parents. This was an emotional time for them as they had lost their parent, some of them were raised in the home, and they were given the responsibility to liquidate their parent’s assets.

Two of the five parties had to go through probate court before they could sell, as their parents didn’t leave a will. They were responsible for taxes, utilities, yard or snow maintenance for several months.

There were between two to seven heirs in each of these transactions, and although there was an executor assigned, the siblings had competing interests, which caused friction. Some wanted to make repairs, some wanted to do nothing, and several didn’t agree with the value.

In one case, the executor and I established a value, and she made the decision to sell the home for less to one of her siblings. Right before closing the buyer changed his mind. I found another buyer that offered the original asking price, but ultimately another family member came forward and matched that offer and purchased the home. This process took several months longer than it should have, but the executor’s primary concern was family peace, which they had.

Three of the five homes were at different levels of disrepair as their parents had stopped making repairs several years prior to their deaths. In addition to needing work, the homes, garages, and out buildings were full of personal property that the heirs didn’t want. 

Three clients didn’t have the financial resources to pay for repairs, but they were able to sell or donate the contents and we sold their homes “as is”. We priced the homes competitively, so they were sold quickly in multiple offers, for more than the asking price, and the clients were pleased with the quick sales.

The other two homes were sold with the contents and the buyers were responsible for disposing of what they didn’t want. 

Not all inherited homes are in disrepair, but most heirs know very little about the property or community rules. An experienced real estate agent can help you determine the best way to sell a loved one’s home.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.