Losing a family member is a difficult time for everyone. If you are the Executor of that person's estate you may find yourself dealing with many things you have not been prepared for. After the loss of my mom in her late fifties, I found myself in this place. If you are in this situation, I sympathize with you and I hope these tips will help make the process as seamless as possible.
In the last twelve years, I have helped many people in this same situation and here is what I have learned.
Have a family meeting
Begin by having a family meeting with all those who may have a stake in the sale. During that meeting come to an agreement on what is an acceptable price range to accept for the sale of the home based upon the market analysis provided by a local real estate agent. Throughout the home selling process, keep in communication with all involved to prevent any potential conflicts.
There are times when a quick sale is needed because of the current financial situation and you may be ready to jump on the first offer you receive. Others may feel it's best to wait for an offer with a better price. Working with an experienced real estate agent will help you know what fair price you can expect to receive on the property. However, all involved parties should consider the upkeep and cost of insurance if the home should stay on the market longer than anticipated, as many times these costs are shared.
Pay mortgage, utilities, and maintenance
While a death is an unfortunate event, mortgage lenders still expect to be paid. Throughout the process continue to make mortgage payments and keep the utilities on after meeting with a trust and estate attorney to determine the priority of payments.
Prepare the home
Before putting the home on the market take some time to prepare the home by decluttering it. Clean out any personal items. Check with an estate attorney first regarding how the assets should be divided. Many time assets from items sold are divided evenly. If funds allow, consider having the property professionally staged to show its best.
If you find yourself in this situation you have my deepest sympathy. My team and I are here to help you navigate these uncharted waters.