3 Things You Should do Before Selling your Parents’ House

Selling the family home can be a traumatic event for some families. To the buyers, it’s an investment or a real estate transaction. To you, it’s a lifetime of memories. holiday dinners, prom pictures, markings in the doorframe showing how big you got year, over year, over year.

To make this challenging project less arduous and less emotionally draining, here are three things you should consider doing well in advance of the sale to try and make this a little easier on all involved.

A title search:

When someone buys a house, in many cases if there is a mortgage involved, the bank will request a title search. What is it? Just like it sounds, it’s an examination of the ownership history of your house. If there are old mortgages that did not get discharged (which happens more than you think) or something strange on the record of the property as recorded at the registry of deeds, getting a title search done before we list it for sale will give us time to fix anything that might come up prior to sale when the timing can get a little tight.

Septic system:

This is a big one, just due to the cost. Getting your septic system inspected to see if passes code (in Massachusetts what is known as Title V) can help you get in front of a big problem. If the septic system passes, that is good news. If you can get away with a repair, that’s ok too. But if it needs to be replaced, it’s a big and expensive project. It can cost upwards of 20-30k. The new buyers may also want a say in where the system goes, especially if relocating it lets them make better use of the yard, and coordinating the installer, and the town inspectors can wreak havoc with your timeline and closing schedule, so in many cases its best to find out ahead of time what’s in store for you.

Estate Issues:

We see this all the time, as soon as someone passes away, everyone wants to know what you are “doing with the house.” And if you accept and offer and schedule a closing date without the proper documentation in place, you are setting yourself up for a real headache, and possibly putting the whole deal at risk and setting you up for potential liability. If you need to get appointed as the Personal Representative of the estate, remember that can take some time. And until then, you don’t really have any authority to do anything. Without a will, you may need a license to sell from the probate court, that can also take additional time. Ideally, you don’t make any moves to sell a piece of property until you have your appointment letter in hand.

Bonus Tip: Building Permits

Make sure there are no outstanding open building permits with the town. Many buyers do not want to deal with the fact that your parents didn’t have the building inspector back to check on work that was done 20 years ago, and getting those permits cleared now can prove challenging.

If selling your parents’ house or moving them into a nursing home is on the horizon, please give our office a call to discuss. We can give you even more invaluable planning advice, as well as a geriatric care specialist on staff to help you manage this transition and make it an easy as possible. Please visit our website www.jmarsdenlaw.com or call our office at (508) 858-5324 for more information.

Marsden Law P.C.
Need help with estate planning or the probate process? Call Marsden Law P.C. to schedule a consultation with a skilled lawyer in Metro West Boston.

Jay Marsden

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