Making important financial decisions while grieving the loss of loved ones can be emotionally and physically exhausting. The whole undertaking gets even more draining when you live in another province, and it gets more delicate when your siblings are involved.
If you decide to sell your parents' home and belongings, you need to make the home ready for a sale, empty it of its contents, make the necessary repairs, choose a realtor, stage the home, et cetera. This is overwhelming — even without the grief you're feeling in this kind of a situation. Moreover, long distance, time pressure, and disagreeing with your siblings justify hiring professionals even more.
We have prepared a short guide including our experience selling the homes of our clients' parents and some suggestions that could make the whole process easier for you and your loved ones.
Do it Now!
The longer you wait on selling the home, the more you'll have to pay on the mortgage, carrying costs and all other bills. It is natural to reminisce about the life of your loved ones, and if you freeze up, the home can start financially bleeding. If the property is vacant insurance companies have a number of requirements to maintain it.
The amount of "stuff" that has accumulated in the home over the years might be a problem. It could drag the home's price down. It is worth considering a Garage, Moving or Content Sale to clear out the belongings without any unnecessary delays.
When hiring different professionals for different tasks, it is important that they can coordinate their activities. The Julie Kinnear Team can connect you with professionals who specialize in Content sales for Estates and home stagers who are able to smooth out the decluttering activity.
Try to Divide the Tasks and Assets
You might want to consider creating a plan with achievable goals and a schedule as well as dividing the tasks among family members. Try going through the items that don't have any emotional bonds, it could be personal paperwork, plants, the pantry, et cetera.
If you come across any antiques or collectibles, we recommend that you have more than one appraisal done. However, be prepared that the prices of antiques might be lower than you expected, as the market has undergone notable reduction in recent years. The different interior decor tastes of young home owners has led to lower sales of traditional furniture, silver tea sets, Georgian-period English antiques, or formal china. On the other hand, some items that you consider worthless might have high hidden values.
Making lists is always helpful — especially when it comes to dividing your parents' belonging between the beneficiaries. It might be a good idea to agree on who is in charge and then create a wish list. Next, after the items were appraised, you might want to try to divide the items equally by their monetary value. It might sound trivial, but putting colour-coded stickers on things each person wants works.
Sometimes, it is more expensive to sell certain items than to give them away for free. Donating part of your parents' belongings to charity offers more advantages. It feels good, eases the emotional sting, and reduces taxes.
There are no inheritance taxes in Canada, but that does not mean that selling an estate has no tax implications. You do not need to report the value of the estate at the time you receive it. However, if it takes some time to resolve the estate, and if there is an increase in value before you sell it, you need to record the fair market value as it passes into your possession. Once you sell it, you will have to pay capital gains tax, which will be calculated from the remainder of the difference between the fair market value when you first obtained it and its value at the time of sale.
As long as you know that you won't need certain items and that they are not worth selling, consider donating them. You will be able to claim tax deductions for the fair market value of the stuff you donate to charity. However, the donation has to be accepted.
Verify Your Ownership
Before you sell the home, you might want to consider verifying whether there aren't any liens on the property. The estate always has to go through the 8-10 week process of probate after applied for by the executor. You might require a grant from the probate court to sell the property. There will most likely be a creditor claims period as well, which must pass before assets can be distributed to the heirs.
Understand the Market
Hiring a real estate consultant whom you can trust is crucial — whether you live in a different part of the country or not. In order to make sure you sell it for fair market value, the first step is to find out what the other comparable properties are selling for and which improvements would be worthwhile. We can help you navigate this and make sure you can take advantage of strong market conditions etc, despite the amount of work to be done or probate completed.
The Julie Kinnear Team has years of experience to help determine your best next steps as well as the ability to understand your needs and help you with trusted advice. There are alot of ins and outs of the selling process specifically for an estate, and some special clauses needed in the offers to ensure a successful close as well many ways that the estate needs to be protected throughout. We have helped many people sell the homes of their lost loved ones with dignity and support and we are here to guide you through as well.