A Realtor Working With Trust Sales, Probates, or Estate Sales

by vbrasil on February 10, 2012

More often these days I am being contacted by Trustee’s to sell a home that belonged to their parent or family member. Working with trustee’s or administrators of an estate is quite different than working on other sales. As an agent, one has to be cognizant of the correct documents and contracts to use, as well as additional disclosures. In these type of sales there may be some form of court confirmation necessary or direct communication with the attorney handling the estate. In addition to the legal details I am often confronted with a home that is showing signs of neglect and is in need of updating.

In this current market sellers should be aware that they are competing with bank owned and short sale properties. Whether its a probate or an estate sale, if the sellers expect to get a good price they need to differentiate their property from the competition. The way to do that is update.

When I meet with these clients I go over the estimated cost of the updates and the price they could realize before and after the updates. If they see the value we go on and discuss timelines. As a service to them I interface with the contractors to make sure the work is being completed, procure all the materials, and manage the project from start to finish. The seller’s responsibility is solely to pay the workers and reimburse me for the materials. In many cases the trustee’s are out of the area and I send them photos of the progress of the work and how its coming along.

In the end we go from a fixer upper to updated and stylish in about 3 weeks. The market responds favorably and the home generally receives multiple offers and sells quickly, higher than list. There was one instance where a home was on the market for 5 months and the sellers had dropped the list price from $599K to $520K and still received no offers. My client needed to put his late father’s home on the market which was two doors down, and in similar if not worse condition. He was convinced that he should improve the home’s condition before listing. Once the home had been updated and we put it on the market for $535K. Ten days later after listing the home we had 3 offers and sold it for $550K. Thirty days later we closed escrow and the other listing was still lingering on the market just 2 doors down.

Here’s a video clip of a home.


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