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Selling a home when the owner has a serious or terminal illness

Tough PathSelling a home is always stressful, no matter the reason.  But some circumstances are tougher than others, and perhaps the worst is selling a house or home after the death of a loved one or in the face of declining health, particularly with serious or terminal illness, specifically if the sick individual is living at the home which must be sold.  Today we’ll discuss that situation.

How can you sell a property if the owner usually cannot leave for buyer showings and cannot really keep the home in top condition?

It is of course not ideal to have the property being listed, marketed and sold not show well and if the seller cannot step out when home buyers visit.  But there are strategies which may help.  The goal is to sell the home quickly, which normally will also cause the price to be as high as possible (given everything).

First, before the home is ever actively marketed: (more…)

When a parent, spouse or loved one dies – what do you need to know or do about the house?

Death and Real EstateWhen a parent, spouse or loved one dies and he or she owned a home, there’s a lot for the survivors to do in addition to the very real and painful process of mourning.  I have been through this with my own parents (and their house in Saratoga), a great aunt in Willow Glen and many clients in San Jose, Los Gatos and elsewhere in Silicon Valley.

Where to begin?  in terms of settling the estate, it is wise to first speak with an attorney and tax professional about the property (will, trust etc. if applicable) and what they advise and require to help in doing what is required and adviseable. (I have some wonderful people I can suggest if you would like a referral.)  They will try to help you to legally minimize capital gains and estate taxes and can advise you on topics such as when might be the best time to sell vis a vis the tax liability.  This is extremely important and it can be very expensive to not take into account their guidance on this point, so I strongly recommend that you or other beneficiaries discuss everything with the attorney or accountant prior to electing whether the home will be sold, rented etc. in the short term.

How can a real estate professional help?

Most often, something you’ll need for the lawyer and CPA or other tax professional is a valuation of the home as of the date of death (whether or not there is a surviving spouse or co-owner).  You can obtain this by hiring a licensed residential real estate appraiser who will do an appraisal for you.  Alternatively, you may be able to engage a real estate licensee (salesperson) to do a competitive market analysis or comparative market analysis (CMA), which would provide the probable buyer’s value for the property.      (more…)