We all know logically that we are all born to die and even if we believe our loved one has gone to a better place, it is still so hard to say goodbye.
When real estate is involved, it requires a business transaction during a time of grief, which makes it even harder. You will need the help of an experienced Realtor in Estate Sales and an experienced attorney as well. We are happy to refer you to a good attorney.
Steps To Take When Listing Your Home After a Loved One’s Passing
Step one in an estate sale is to determine if there is a Will to guide the selling process. Hopefully the answer is yes. Everyone needs a Will to avoid long probate and reduce risk of loss to your surviving loved ones.
Step two is to find the Will. It may be in a safety deposit box at the bank or it may be stored at the Wake County Estate Division. Wills are not recorded documents and they are not on public record so many families struggle to find the Will as they search file cabinets and boxes.
- Quick tip on Will storage: Residents of Wake County may take advantage of free storage offered in the Estate Division at the new court house. Yes, free and confidential filing of Wills.
Step three has several parts. That’s why a real estate agent usually becomes involved at this stage to help find the best solutions.
First, here are a few of the common questions that need answers. We understand that it can be difficult to act as the Executor and Heir during your time of deep grief but it’s important that these questions are answered:
- Is there a surviving spouse and can they afford the house alone? If so, for how long?
- Was there no surviving spouse and the house is now vacant? If so, is it still costing money to maintain? You should know: The cost is maintained by the Heirs, not the Estate.
- The expenses and maintenance will continue for the Heirs therefore. Thus, how long before the property realistically will sell?
- Can the Heirs afford to maintain the cost of the house until it sells?
- In order to net the highest return from the sale, will the Heirs need to invest more of their money into the preparation of the house for sale or sell “as is”?
- Is there equity remaining in the home or has the equity already been used from refinance, reverse mortgage or lack of time in ownership to build equity?
Let’s dig deeper into these common situations and questions
If you are a surviving spouse, be thankful for owning your home in North Carolina. It is a little easier here because even if there is no will, we are a marital interest state. This means the surviving spouse will automatically (and tax free) inherit all NC real estate unless there was a prenuptial agreement in place. It is wonderful to be free of worry about having a roof over your head but, it may not be a roof you can afford for long on one income. Thus, hard decisions may still be on your shoulders.
Surviving Spouse needing to sell
Moving away from memories or the burden of caring for the house on one income can cause many people after a death to sell and buy a different home. Once the decision to sell is made, it can be a very exciting time in your life. Having friends and family members help you in preparation for your move can actually be healing. It’s another grieving step so that when you get to the new home, you often feel a sense of closure and acceptance with your new norm. However, if the need to move does not have you excite or if you’re feeling so overwhelmed that putting one foot in front of another is a challenge, then don’t stress or beat yourself up. It’s ok. Everyone goes through grief in their own way and in their own time. It’s ok to go slow as long as you’re moving forward and have the financial resources to carry the cost of the home while you mentally and emotionally prepare for another change.
When you can’t afford the home alone
Unfortunately, many surviving spouses can’t afford to keep their home on one income and therefore have a need to move faster than they may emotionally be prepared for. I have seen this situation many times and have watched people frozen in grief, hanging on to the memories too long and using savings they need for their future to carry the expenses of a house. As hard as it is for you, if taking care of the house is an emotional or financial burden, it will only get worse if you don’t take steps to move forward now. We are very experienced in holding hands and walking people through each step. Steps such as preparing the home for sale (including help with de-cluttering or necessary repairs) and steps to find a new affordable and burden free home. Please don’t wait too long. Contact us today for a consultation. I have watched many surviving spouses make the mistake of waiting too long to move. Let’s weigh the cost together.
Learn more about how to navigate answering these Estate questions by clicking on the button below:
6 Interesting Facts for North Carolina Estates Sales
Here is some additional information about North Carolina Estate Sales that may help you with the estate sale process in the future:
- The executor or executrix is not the seller. They do not own the property. Instead, they are simply facilitating the sale. Seller name on the listing contract and purchase contract should not be the executor name. This is a common mistake. In 2014, the state of North Carolina adopted new real estate listing and sales contracts allowing entity signatures for estates and corporations. The executor would sign as executor for the estate of the deceased name on record.
- Where there are multiple heirs, many will choose to have a licensed appraiser value the property in addition to a Realtor. We are happy to provide you a list of experienced local appraisers if this is something you wish to do.
- Listing a property for sale will require a copy of the death certificate and estate paperwork. In North Carolina, it may take 2 weeks to a month to receive the death certificate from the county. So plan for this carrying expense in your budget as well.
Learn more facts about the estate sale process by clicking on the button below.
Please note: Linda Craft & Team, Realtors is not an attorney or CPA and can’t practice law or accounting. This information is general in nature and the author, Linda Craft, highly recommends that a professional in the area of law and accounting be consulted.
How Can We Guide You Through This Difficult Time?
We’re here to support you as you balance grief with the need to sell your Wake County home. Contact us today for expert assistance that will help make the estate sale process as easy as possible for you and your family.
Until next time,