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Seven tips for selling your parents’ home

When seniors downsize or move to a senior community, often their adult children find themselves doing the daunting legwork involved with selling their parents’ home. If you’re in this position, you may already be stretched to the max with work, kids, and a home of your own. For this reason, many families find that the best strategy is to relentlessly prioritize ease and simplicity.


Here are seven tips to help you simply and effectively sell your parents home while maintaining your sanity.


1. Get your papers in order

If you will need power of attorney to represent a parent during any part of the sale, make sure to arrange that before undertaking the sale process. Documents you’ll want to have at your fingertips also include titles, surveys, certificates of compliance, and inspection reports. Additionally, make sure to have mortgage and financing documents for the home when applicable.


2. Make sure everyone is on board

In order to avoid family conflict and last-minute drama, work to build consensus around the plan before getting started. As much as possible, make sure that you, your parents, and other family members such as siblings are on the same page. To facilitate this, consider planning an in-person family meeting where everyone who may have a say is present.


3. Let reason override emotion

It’s quite likely that selling a family home will involve some difficult emotions for you and other family members, especially if the home has been a place of fond memories. Honor your emotions, but don’t let them cloud your judgment at any time during the process. If you feel that the emotional aspect is getting the best to you, you may want to consider making another family member point person for this process.


4. Hire professionals to clean and declutter

It is easy to get bogged down as you clean and declutter a parent’s home before downsizing. The emotional connections to the home and the objects inside make it all the more challenging. Remove any must-have keepsakes, and then hire a professional to declutter and clean.


5. Repair, but don’t renovate
As you look to get the home up to snuff before putting it on the market, you should have any obvious defects repaired. But, for expediency, avoid significant renovations. At most, you should make modest cosmetic improvements to spruce up parts of the home that are dated or worn out.


6. Don’t try to be a realtor

Some people are tempted to save on a commission by acting as their own realtor, but this is rarely a good choice. It can be extremely stressful, and often leads to poor financial outcomes despite the money “saved” on a commission. Make ease and simplicity your North Star, and find a well-reviewed local agent who you feel you can work well with.


7. Be patient and have realistic timeframes

Your agent can help you align your pricing with the urgency under which you are selling the home. Even if you price your home to sell quickly, it’s important to allow the process to unfold. Have patience, and, during the time the home is on the market, make sure to keep the house and yard maintained.