Selling a house on behalf of your parents can be challenging, both legally and emotionally. Involving them as much as possible will help them feel engaged and respected throughout the process. With or without legal authority, there are countless small ways that you can help your parents enjoy a smooth transition into the next phase of all of your lives.
Organize All Documentation
Selling a house involves a lot of paperwork. First and foremost, you’ll have to prove that your parents own the home before you can list it on the market. Documents you will need include:
- Government-issued identification
- Mortgage information, if applicable
- Property Tax Receipts
- Land Surveys
- Transferable Warranty Documents
Once you have gathered all of the necessary documents, you’re ready to help your parents with the next steps.
Before you sell a home, it’s essential to find out what it is worth in the current market. You can schedule a free home evaluation here.
Consult With a Lawyer
If your parents don’t want to or are unable to handle the legal aspects of the sale, it’s time to consult with a lawyer. You cannot sell a house on your parents’ behalf until they assign you Power of Attorney status (POA). What does this mean? Power of attorney is a legal document giving someone else authority to manage your personal affairs.
Selling a house for someone with diminished capacity can get complicated if they did not assign a POA ahead of time. A person must be mentally capable at the time of signing. It can be a difficult conversation, but it’s vital to have a plan in place if your parents can no longer act in their own interests. The time to take care of this matter is while they are still young and healthy enough to make these decisions.
There are Different Types of Power of Attorney
- Power of attorney in matters of health gives you the authority to make decisions on medical and personal care. This clause comes into effect if your parents ever lose the cognitive ability to care for themselves.
- Power of attorney for financial matters and property grants authority to manage money and property on behalf of another person. If your parents ever become unable to handle their affairs, you will need continuing power of attorney status that does not expire.
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Helping With The Practical Details
If your parents still have the cognitive ability to understand the legalities of selling a home, helping them will be much easier. Only the legal owner can authorize the sale of the property, so ultimately, every decision will rest with your parents. However, you can support them emotionally and assist with all of the practical matters.
Cleaning and decluttering
Getting a house ready to sell can take a long time, especially if they have lived there for several years. You can help them sort through their belongings and decide what they no longer need.
Performing minor repairs
A few small updates and repairs can go a long way to adding value to the sale of the house. If you’re handy, you can help by making these upgrades yourself or interviewing and vetting potential contractors.
Handling online research
Some older people are as tech-savvy as their grandchildren and can easily handle any online research or forms. Others are intimidated by computers, tablets and smartphones and will appreciate any help you can provide. You can guide your parents through virtual tours and by researching the steps involved in listing their house for sale.
Deciding on a real estate agent
A professional real estate agent is your ultimate resource when selling real estate. They will guide you step by step throughout the process and ensure your parents get the maximum value for their home. Helping your parents decide on a real estate agent is one of the best ways you can ease the workload of selling the house.
Finding their new home
Once your parents sell their house, you can sit down with them and review the pros and cons of buying a smaller house or renting an apartment.
Packing their belongings
Packing for a move is time-consuming. Breakable dishes have to be wrapped one by one. Everything needs to fit into moving containers without making them too heavy to lift. Most importantly, it can be emotional for your parents to see their precious memories shoved into boxes. You can be there to support them and keep them excited about their new home.
Moving into a new house is exciting, but it involves a lot of work and heavy lifting. The best thing you can do to help elderly parents is to find a professional moving service they can trust.
Getting to know the neighbourhood
The first few days in a new place can bring mixed emotions. Overall, your parents may feel happy about the move but will still miss their old home. You can help them adjust by taking them to brunch in a nearby restaurant or on a sightseeing tour of their new neighbourhood.
Selling your parents’ house on their behalf can be one of the most challenging tasks you’ll ever undertake. One of the best things you can do is help them celebrate and make new memories in their new home.
Are you ready to sell? We have a Comprehensive Seller’s Guide you can download for free here.