Some Tips for an Attorney Helping Heirs Settle an Estate

Have a 1950's Galley Kitchen, Find out what it costs to sell compare that to the cost to fix.

Are you an attorney working on behalf of the heirs in an estate?

We have worked with quite a few attorneys and heirs over the years and we would like to dispel a few myths.

Myth #1:  Appraisal Value is the Value of the Home

We understand that as an attorney representing an estate that you have to find some basis in value and an appraisal is a good place to start.  However, when you start marketing the home for sale, if you are not getting any offers, your price is too high.

Case in Point:  We were working with an attorney representing over 25 rental homes in Kansas City Missouri.  All were occupied and paying rental units and they were appraised at a specific value.  The attorney representing the estate was marketing these homes at appraisal value for over a year with no movement to lower or negotiate on price.  Ultimately because of this and a few other factors, these homes sold at a fraction of the original sales price over a year later.

Another, Bonus Myth, is that if the estate owns a bunch of houses, it’s better to sell them all together.  Sure, give selling the entire package a shot, but if it’s not working, break it up into smaller packages or even sell individually.  Sure you might take a loss on some of the less desirable houses, but that might be made up in a higher price on the nicer units.

Myth #2:  The Estate Can’t Afford a Property Manager or a Realtor

Yes, many estates have limited budgets.  However, if the estate decides to work without the benefit of a professional, it could cost the estate substantially in time and money.

Case in Point:  Same estate as above that could not afford property management.  The estate attorney instead worked very hard to manage the rentals and determined a vacant house is much easier to manage than a paying tenant, less time for the attorney and less billable hours to the estate.  However, in rental property, much of the value is in the rents coming in.  So removing the tenants from the houses overall lowered the value of the homes.  And vacant homes over time get vandalized, further lowering value.

Myth #3:  I Don’t Have Time to List It

We see other estates where the attorney tells us that they don’t have the time to work with a real estate agent.  That’s great for us, we would love to make a cash offer closing next week.  But, consider, even that trashed house that needs cleaned out, cleaned up, and remodeled can be listed and sold at a premium if you work with the right agents.  Because we sell fixer-uppers to real estate investors, we have a huge buyers list of investors looking for fixer-uppers.  We also know how, as Realtors ourselves to list and market a fixer-upper in MLS to get the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time.  We have bought estate houses to sell them cash in less than a week multiple times over the years.  And we would love to do that with your house.  But in some cases, we can sell it even faster and at a higher price that would net the estate more than our cash offer even after paying us a real estate commission.  We would net about the same in profit versus commission and it’s a cleaner more transparent transaction for everyone.

Myth #4:  The Estate Needs to Fix It Up First

We are not sure who tells the heirs this myth.  Maybe it’s their attorney, maybe a Realtor, or maybe a friend.  Here in our office, we sell completely trashed houses as-is all the time, the key is in pricing it right and marketing it to the right buyers.  Sometimes we might get it cleaned out sometimes we sell it with all the stuff, it all depends on the house.  Other times we feel the most likely buyer might want one or two items repaired, like the roof or the furnace and we leave all the cosmetic items for the end buyer so they can build sweat equity.

If you are an Attorney representing an estate, we invite you to reach out to us and have a discussion.  We can do several things for you.  First, we could come to view the property and make you an all-cash, fast-close offer.  You can rest assured that with that offer we will be closing on the day specified.  We can also consult with you on listing the home, especially the higher-priced estates with values over $400,000.  We have several cash investors whom we market our houses to who would love to buy your house either from us if we were to buy it and resell it or from us as your listing agent.

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