How do I sell my dead father's house?
November 4, 2016 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Precisely: how do I find a real-estate agent who can handle any complexities that arise in selling a house as part of an estate liquidation?

We DO have an estate lawyer on retainer.
We DO all want to sell the house, there's no contention.
The house DOES have some equity but does still have mortgage payments. (The lawyer already told us we should keep making mortgage payments.)

How do I go about finding a seller's agent that can handle most of this for me? I am the executor of the will, and I live out of state, but my sisters do live near by. Basically I don't know how to really do any house selling myself, and I want to find someone who can manage the fact that we're selling off a deceased person's property, that the probate court process will take six months from the time we get the will probated, etc. How would YOU do this?
posted by Made of Star Stuff to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Have you asked that estate lawyer ?

How big is the estate ? (ie can it continue to pay the mortgage etc until it is sold ? ) And house is in the deceased name, not a trust (Thus probate ?)
posted by k5.user at 9:01 AM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

The real estate agent who helped us with the purchase of our home was very helpful when it came time to downsize my mom and sell her home.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 9:09 AM on November 4, 2016

Your estate lawyer will help you. No special type of real estate agent is required.
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:40 AM on November 4, 2016 [6 favorites]

I've done this twice, I held a bidding round with three local agents, where they described their price/cut, their roadmap and their services. It's not necessary, but it's good for the result. It was simple after that, both houses were sold really fast and there were no issues.
posted by mumimor at 10:01 AM on November 4, 2016

I live in State 1, was executor of an estate in State 2, and the deceased relative had property in State 3.

I hired an estate lawyer in State 2, who hired local counsel in State 3, who managed the sale of the property (with a real estate agent), the proceeds of which went back into the estate, which was probated in State 2.

The estate paid all the bills; the only decision I had to make was approving the lawyer in State 3.
posted by trixie119 at 12:15 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

In some states (including CA), selling real estate from a probate estate requires special procedures, as the OP suggests. And not all agents know how to do it. The estate lawyer will have referrals for agents with the right skills; I'd start there. If you get an agent that doesn't know how to do it, it will take extra attorney time to explain the special procedures (which might cost you extra attorney's fees).

I assume this isn't CA though, since you said only 6 months for the probate. ;-)
posted by bluesky78987 at 7:59 AM on November 5, 2016

We did this in Washington a few years ago. My wife, the executor, handled the estate on her own, with only a little legal assistance. We learned early on that the point of managing an estate like this was to preserve value, not try to increase it. We liquidated as much as we could on our own, then sold the house to a partnership of people who specialize in disposing of the remainder (they had an estate sale, the proceeds of which went to the estate, not the partnership). These people then disposed of the remaining property, remodeled the house and flipped it.

Of course, the amount we received from the partners was less than we would have received from selling the house. This was agreeable to all the heirs, though, as we didn't have the time or expertise to dispose of the jillions of little things that remain after everyone gets the stuff they want from the house and after the estate sale (there was a substantial amount of tools, for instance).

The most important thing to us, when all was said and done, is that we got reasonable money out of the transaction, and we dealt with someone who was up-front about what he and his partners intended to do for us and themselves, and who bent over backwards to be helpful, fair and sensitive in his dealings with us.
posted by lhauser at 8:54 AM on November 6, 2016

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