Real Estate Blog

Estate Home Sales

An estate sale is something that demands a lot of skill and attention to start with. It's also a much more complex transaction than a normal home sale, requiring more documentation and specific knowledge of estate law.

It's important to work with professionals who are well acquainted with this type of transaction. I'm one of them. And since I work with notaries, you'll have one-stop access to all the services you need to deal with this challenging situation.

I am here to support and guide you through this process with courtesy and compassion. Please don't think that you should list a property immediately after the owner's death. No. The key is patience—and compliance with all necessary steps to ensure everything is done according to the law.

In the wake of a homeowner's passing, a death certificate must be obtained from the Registrar of Civil Status and a will search must be requested. If the property is part of the deceased's estate, the deed of sale proving their right of ownership must also be located, along with a number of other documents that may pertain to the property (your notary can provide a list of them).

It is the task of the liquidator—formerly known as the testamentary executor and often still called the executor in English—to put the property up for sale. If no liquidator has been named, all decisions must be made unanimously by the heirs, and each must sign all of the required documents.

Warranty exclusion

A word about the conditions of sale. It's common when selling an inherited home to exclude the legal warranty of quality. This is understandable: with the owner deceased, it is difficult if not impossible to obtain complete information about the condition of the building.

The exclusion therefore releases the heirs from a liability that they wouldn't be able to cover, protecting them from legal action for hidden defects.

The need for a quick sale

A house that sits empty costs a lot of money! This is why the estate will typically try to close the sale quickly. Understandably, the heirs will want to minimize the building ownership costs. These can include mortgage payments, if any, but also property taxes, insurance (which often costs more if the home is vacant), upkeep of the building and land, energy costs, etc. And the more time passes, the bigger the bill.

A neutral intermediary

Who will handle the visits? Who will negotiate the sale price? Will the other heirs be satisfied?

Of course, everything is much simpler if there is only one designated heir. But if several people are named in the succession, you'll be glad to have a neutral third party to see the transaction through. There are plenty of potential areas of conflict in estate matters, so if disputes over the sale of the property can be avoided, this will be a win-win for everybody.

Sell the house at a discount? Of course not!

I've mentioned warranty exclusions and quick sales. Does that mean you should sell the house below value? Not at all!

A property that has been well maintained, skilfully home-staged and listed at the right price will always find a buyer—regardless of whether it is from an estate. I'm speaking from experience!

Summing up

Fortunately, you won't often be involved in an estate sale. If you are, though, it's best to be prepared and to know where to turn promptly.

If you have any questions on the subject, or would like advice or support from an experienced broker who has the necessary skills for these sensitive situations, please get in touch with me.

It will be my pleasure to accompany you and ensure a satisfactory sale that respects the law and your family's needs, and that protects each of the heirs.
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