Selling a House You Never Lived in - Awk-ward!

Selling a House You Never Lived in - Awk-ward!

April 28, 2017

A new real estate niche has found me--folks responsible for selling their parents' house, or a widowed-aunt-with-no-children's house, or "after the accident, he just never got to come home" house . . . what sad, unfortunate, and AWKWARD situations.

I can help. And boy, do you need it.

First, sit down and have your cry. It has happened . . . The horrible "what if." It is sad; it is unfortunate; and things will never be the same. After your last sniffle, pick up your pencil and pad . . . here we go!

Hopefully, you have power of atty and access to the bank account. There are upfront costs. If you do not, call an atty for advice. Sounds intimidating if you've never called one before. But pick up the phone . . . they handle this stuff every day. I'm happy to recommend a couple.

Call a REALTOR®. Before you spend a penny or spend an afternoon's time. This is not the same as selling your personal house.

Your real estate agent should understand pricing fixer-upers in the neighborhood. It's probably sentimental. It's probably well-built, well-maintained, and well-loved.

It's also probably outdated. And I mean more than shag carpet and wallpaper. In today's culture, anything more than five years old causes an unwarranted fear factor for buyers. Once the scent of an "estate sale" gets in the mind of a prospect, they either want a steal or want to run. That's just the way it is. Let's avoid.

My goal for a home seller is to save money on the front end, because buyers will ask you for it on the back end. One way to start resenting this process is to spend time, money, and effort on things YOU think are important but will not mean anything to a potential house buyer. Call in the experts before wasting a minute of your life.

Do some pre-inspecting to get an objective point of view of the house:

  • HVAC - Have it serviced. It will be one of the first questions asked by prospects, and you've set the tone for "we're on top of this."
  • Electrical - Ask your electrician to look at the wiring thru the eyes of a home inspector . . . what's an inspector going to advise a prospect to do? Cut and run? Have property rewired? Goal: make repairs now, before an inspector can infuse doubt into the mind of the buyer.
  • Estate sales person - How do estate sales work? When is the appropriate time to have one? What is of value that I don't realize is a gem? Trash to you is another man's treasure . . . while you're thinking "I can have a yard sale as easily as someone else," you may be giving things of value away--losing money, rather than making money for your loved one.
  • Storage or moving co - What's the plan for things left over after family members have taken what they want and the estate sale is over? Storage may or may not be the answer . . . options are good.
  • Lawn care - Get someone else, even a teenager in the neighborhood, to maintain the yard work. Responsibilities don't go away at your house just because you added the extra duties of this house.

Don't let it take over. Spend a week getting quotes/advice from the above resources. Process and prioritize what funds will allow. Now is the time to include your (living) seller of the plan, letting him chime in after you have data to work with. If they are struggling with decisions or memory loss or ill health, remember they trusted you with this . . . you got this . . . you can do this for them--with a lot of help from just a few experts.

Find out in Part II about the dynamite organizer who can help you with a plan and what to do with the stuff.