Has your father, mother, or grandparent passed away recently? Have you been appointed as the Personal Representative, in charge of selling a house that is part of an estate in the Washington, D.C. area?

Selling an estate property can be very difficult, particularly if you don’t live near the District of Columbia. You now must take time from your own life to perform the duties of a Personal Representative:  to tie up loose ends, complete probate duties and deal with your own emotions as you go about selling a home that has been an integral part of your life.

We recommend four primary considerations when looking for a Realtor to assist you in the sale of inherited property.

  1.  Make sure the DC area real estate team you choose to help you has experiencewith inherited property sales.  

Taking on the role of  Personal Representative is often a thankless job that will require endless hours of time.  If you’ve never been a Personal Representative before, the learning curve is steep.  Ideally, you want to hire a Realtor that has done this many times before so they can point you in the right direction, refer you to trusted sources, and help you expedite many of the decision that need to be made.    

  1.  Will the home need to be cleared of personal possessions?

If so, this tends to be one of the most time-consuming tasks.  It’s not uncommon for tons (literally and figuratively) of possessions to be left behind for the Personal Representative to sort through.  We suggest dividing the contents in the following groups:

  • Paper records that you can take with you,
  • Personal items that you or other family members want to keep,
  • Personal items that can either be sold off or given away,
  • Items to send to the dump.

The time involved in sorting through and removing all the personal items tends to take much longer than most people think.  We’ve seen families get bogged down for months trying to do it themselves.  There are specialists who can help you get through this stage quickly. By hiring them, there is a good chance that you will actually save money for the estate, even after you pay their fees.  That is because even a vacant home has hidden costs like taxes, insurance, utilities, and upkeep. The longer the estate owns the house, the more these hidden costs add up.

Many sellers ask “should we leave the existing furniture for staging?”.  If the furniture is dated, it’s doing more harm than good. In the vast majority of estate homes, we find it’s best to remove everything prior to preparing the home for sale.

  1.  The home is likely dated.  Find an expert who specializes in updating a home quickly and profitably.

Cosmetic fix-ups to a dated home can vastly improve the offers you receive.

  • As you look at each room, think what can be done to make it light, bright, neutral and clutter-free.
  • A fresh coat of paint can do wonders to give a house a quick boost to its cosmetic appearance.  Don’t feel you must go with white.  Soft grays are very popular and help give the home a much warmer feel.
  • Old carpets need to go.  If they are covering wood floors, expose the wood.  Even if the floor needs some attention, a wood floor will show much better than an older carpet.
  • Finally, a deep cleaning can make a big difference in how the home smells and looks.  Nothing turns off a buyer faster than bad odors or lack of cleanliness.
  • Many estate homes have older kitchens and baths.  This is normal and will not stop the home from selling. We find it’s best just to clean them thoroughly and sell them “As Is”.   
  1.  You’ll want an expert in the DC Metro Area real estate market.

The agent you hire has a legal obligation to look out for your best interest. As the Personal Representative, you, similarly, have a legal obligation to look out for the heirs’ best interests.  

  • Hiring a top-flight agent, who provides you with solid documentation, demonstrates that you are doing your job properly.  This is even more important if you live out-of-state.  Ultimately, you should always feel that your agent is advocating for you and has your best interests at heart.
  • The listing process begins by having your Realtor provide you with market statistics and recent sales to help you pick the best listing price.  As you look at the recent sales, imagine you are the buyer.  Ask yourself “how much would I be willing to pay for this property?”.  The goal is to price the home to the market.  Doing so will help it sell faster and for the most money.
  • Next, you want to make sure the agent you hire offers a high quality, digital marketing plan.  Insist on high quality pictures and floor plans. These will make a huge difference.  Keep in mind that 93% of all consumers are shopping for their next house online.   
  • The combination of preparing the home for sale, proper pricing and professional marketing will get you an offer.  This is your Realtor’s chance to shine as your negotiator.  An experienced negotiator will help you keep thousands of dollars in your pocket.
  • A Realtor with probate experience can make your life infinitely easier.   Even though you are ultimately hiring them to sell your house, they can be an invaluable resource, long before the home goes on the market.  

The Ron Sitrin Team, because it is a team, offers many additional services to Personal Representatives.  Members of the team are available, every step of the way, to recommend reliable movers, junk removal services, estate sale specialists, painters, contractors and probate attorneys, to name just a few. Team members can even help coordinate the logistics of many of the tedious tasks so you don’t have to.

The Ron Sitrin Team specializes in inherited property sales.  We know how emotional and draining selling an estate property can be. As one of our recent clients expressed:

“Ron Sitrin offers heart and soul and expertise, and takes you in like family on this journey.  His team cares about you and the results, and about having the best experience that you can.  I can’t even do them justice. For me, they are so much bigger than that; I shared this journey with people of great integrity. I would highly recommend Ron Sitrin and his whole team.”  – Lisa Lewis, sold an inherited property in the DC area while living in California

Let our experience and professionalism help make your life easier  and get you top dollar.  Contact us to learn more about how about how we have helped others and what we can do for you.