Tuesday, October 7, 2008

When Does it Make Sense to Fix a Home in an Estate Sale?

RVIN0267 Selling a beloved family home after the death of a parent may be one of the most emotional real estate transactions you will go through. On top of the obvious difficulty in dealing with the death of a parent, the family home is often in some disrepair and dated.

When working with estates, I counsel the family to take an honest look at the home. If the home has generally been maintained, and has been updated throughout the years with new mechanicals (heater, roof, etc) as needed, then it may make sense to do a light rehab. What's a light rehab? Paint and carpet. Perhaps a kitchen. Now you have an updated, well maintained home that should be a very sellable product (as long as you price it right).

If however, the home has been neglected, and many of the major components need repair or replacement, then it doesn't make sense to rehab the home. You would have to do a full-scale rehab at that point. It rarely makes sense for an estate to invest that significant amount of time, energy, and money. At that point, I suggest that it's better to sell the house "as-is" and let someone else invest the money, time, and energy to bring the home up to speed. It doesn't make sense to paint and carpet a home that is only going to undergo a major rehab, and you'll be throwing good money away.

How about if the home is marginal? Paint and carpet, neaten up the kitchen if possible, maybe with new flooring and countertop, and price it to sell.

Although difficult to do, you need to take an emotional step back from the home in order to see its true condition, then move forward from there in a way that makes sense: financially and emotionally.

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