If you are the executor of a deceased parent's estate, you'll often feel as though you are walking a tightrope while respecting the rights of other relatives. Being fair and sensitive to everyone's feelings can put you in the cross-hairs, so seek counsel from other family members whenever you can. Make it clear that you are following the instructions left in the will, or if there is no will, abiding with the wishes of other relatives who are on an equal footing with you.
Understanding the Last Wishes
Read the will of the deceased thoroughly even though the attorney handling the estate might have read and explained the document to you. With the attorney's guidance, expenses for the property should continue to be paid by the estate until the final disbursement of the estate. Consider all offers on the property, but try to represent the best interests of every legal heir. It can be awkward if family members, or their spouses, try to take advantage of an estate. Do your best to keep emotions in check. Get a real estate broker involved as soon as your can. If need be, they can run interference for you with others involved in the estate.
Put the Home on the Market
Find a real estate broker who knows the neighborhood and can help you market and quickly sell the property. They should provide you with a market analysis of recently sold comparable properties in the neighborhood, noting the number of days they were on the market, properties on the market, and those which have recently been withdrawn. Determine a sales price that is competitive. The broker should offer you an overview of their marketing campaign, including a preview of the copy they will use for the presentation on the local multiple-listing service.
Create Your Best Presentation
Nearly any home for sale can benefit from fresh paint, steamed carpets and some staging. This does not mean a complete makeover, but remove the clutter, personal photos, and excess furniture. Improve the curb appeal of the front yard and enhance your entryway so potential buyers get a good first impression. Leave a property information sheet and information about financing in an acrylic stand next to fresh flowers on the kitchen or dining room table. Fragrant candles around the house can freshen the air, and clean white towels and decorative soap add a nice touch to the bathroom.
Closing on the Property
Establish a bottom line and a projected sales date for the property based on comparable sales information in the neighborhood. Make your property stand out from the competition by offering a one-year home warranty or other perks. If offers fail to materialize, rethink your price. Once an acceptable offer comes in, pay close attention to the details until the closing. As a gesture, consider making a donation to a lasting memorial for your loved one. Even a plaque on a donated park bench can serve as a memorial to your loved one.