practice areas

Some California residents decide that their homes should be sold after they pass away. The task of selling the home falls upon the executor of the estate. Family members who are concerned about the home of their loved one being sold as quickly as possible should have an understanding of how an executor should proceed. A failure to properly sell a home can cause loss to beneficiaries who stand to benefit from the sale.

Homelight explains that one of the first tasks an executor should do is clean the house. A home needs to be put in proper order before it can be sold, which involves removing all the personal items of the deceased owner. If the executor was a relative, cleaning the home can be an emotional ordeal that the executor may not want to undertake right away. In some cases, it helps to hire a cleaning expert to handle some of the work.

With the house cleaned, it might seem natural to immediately put the home up for sale. However, rushing the home to market can cause the house to linger without being sold. Some houses may appear worn down or require some improvements. Prospective homebuyers may not want to invest their own money into fixing up the house and prefer a home that is ready to move into. Also, some mortgage lenders may require repairs on the home before approving a loan.

To handle this issue, executors use assets, if any are left in the estate, to conduct repairs or improvements. While this will delay placing the house on the market, it can increase the chance that the house will be sold. However, a home improvement project should not take too long, as it can delay putting the house on the market and consume more assets from the estate to keep the house maintained.

Good faith actions on the part of an executor can help ensure a home is sold in a reasonable amount of time. However, executors can also abuse their authority by neglecting a home, which can cause its value to depreciate and make it harder to sell, or by spending unreasonable amounts of money from an estate and depleting the inheritance of beneficiaries. Under such circumstances, beneficiaries may seek to remove the executor through litigation.

This article is intended for the educational benefit of the reader. Do not interpret it as actionable legal advice.