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What to Do When You’re Facing an Estate Sale

It’s hard to deal with the loss of a loved one. It’s even more complicated if you inherit a home and need to sell it. Estate sales can be one of the most emotional transactions for this reason.  There are a few ways to make the process a little easier and less time consuming.

Preparing to Sell the Home

While there are similarities between selling your own home and selling an inherited home, there are a few nuances that make an estate sale tricky.  Clearing out the home, assessing its condition (especially if you haven’t lived in the home recently), determining its value and getting it ready to show can be an overwhelming task.

Sort Through a Lifetime of Memories

jewelry at an estate saleIt’s up to you to decide what to liquidate and what to keep.   Any possessions that have been willed to family members, friends, and other individuals should be given away first. The rest: furniture, kitchenware, appliances, clothing, knickknacks, etc. — is up to you.

Start small.  Don’t be overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done.  Break down the tasks by room. Ask for help from a friend, neighbor, or family member.   Feel free to contact us for a list of local estate sale companies who specialize in selling the contents of a home.  Many of these companies have buyers who are looking for specific items like tools, albums, collectibles, and more.

Consider following these tips when decluttering the home:

  • have furniture, jewelry, and vintage items appraised
  • host a yard sale or series of yard sales
  • take items to an auction or consignment store
  • donate possessions to charity

Understanding Legal and Financial Implications

There are far more legal aspects to an estate sale than with a typical home sale. When you’re selling property you’ve inherited, you need to know who is responsible for handling the sale.  Is the home in a will?   A trust?    What about any issues with the title?  Do you need to report the proceeds from the sale to the IRS?

Contact the Right Professionals

Working with the right people, including an attorney and home inspector, during your estate sale will save you time and headaches down the road. Since an estate sale often adds more steps to the home selling process, it’s also crucial to hire a real estate agent who specializes in the downsizing market and is familiar with estate sales.

Your realtor will provide an objective perspective of what needs to be done before you list the home, what price is best based on the home’s condition and current market values, who to contact about making necessary repairs, and how to navigate the intricate steps in the home selling process.

It’s imperative that you don’t work solely with the condo/HOA of the community to sell your home. This can result in significantly reduced profit, as the best way to maximize your investment is to expose the property to as many buyers as possible through the realtor multi-list. It may seem smart to avoid realtor fees, but marketing the property online to hundreds of realtors and their buyers is likely to increase the number of offers and, ultimately, the profit you make from the home.

modern exterior of a nice-looking patio home in pittsburghWe’ll Handle the Details

We understand that an estate sale is an emotional — and sometimes frustrating — experience. If you’re faced with selling a Pittsburgh patio home or condo, we can take care of everything.

We specialize in the Baby Boomer market and deal with downsizing all the time. From a list of estate sale companies to cleaning services – staging companies, plumbers, electricians, and more – we’ve got you covered. We even have access to clean out crews, should there be a lot of “stuff” that has no value and just needs to be removed. In addition, Michael Blonar is a licensed general contractor with over 35 years experience in construction – his construction knowledge can be very valuable when a home needs repairs, updating, maintenance, etc. Let’s talk: contact us at 724-344-4795.


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