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Protecting Your Family During Sale of Parents’ Home

At some point, many of us become responsible for sorting through our parent’s affairs. Sale of parents’ home may become necessary for any number of reasons, including:

  • Your parents can no longer safely live in the home alone
  • The home has become too expensive to maintain and your parents have questions about the sale process
  • Your parents have passed away and it is time to sell

Regardless of the rationale behind the sale, having a careful lawyer by your side can reduce your stress and ensure a smooth process. You will need someone who understands not only the real estate issues but estate planning and administration, as well as taxation. At Posternock Apell, PC, our lawyers will work as a team to help with all aspects of selling your parents’ home. Collectively, we have over 200 years’ worth of experience helping clients both in real estate transactions and in comprehensive estate planning.

From proactively establishing documentation prior to the sale to handling disputes that can arise during the sale process itself, we are committed to providing the high-quality legal guidance you need. We also offer fee structures that make obtaining experienced legal guidance affordable for your situation. To schedule your free initial phone consultation, call our office today or fill out our online contact form and we will reach out to you.

Our New Jersey Estate Planning lawyers provide guidance you can trust during the sale of a family home.

Many of us form attachments to our parents’ homes that are much different from the ones we feel for even our own homes as adults. At Posternock Apell, PC, our top-rated real estate lawyers can help you through the complexities involved with the sale of your parents’ home.

Examples of situations we can help you navigate include:

  • Working with siblings or other family members who may have unrealistic expectations about the value of the home,
  • Sorting through sentimental attachments that may make it difficult to let go of the home at a reasonable price or make changes needed to increase home value,
  • Working with real estate experts or appraisals to arrive at a reasonable sale price for the home,
  • Understanding the various disclosures and representations that you are making within the contract for the home sale itself to avoid surprise liability in the future,
  • Learning about how the home sale will be impacted by the presence of a trust that has formally owns the home,
  • Helping you determine a plan for covering the costs of maintaining the property,
  • Understanding the income, estate and inheritance tax issues that may be associated with the home sale,
  • Working with your parents well before the sale of your parents’ home becomes necessary to determine their wishes and make sure they are documented in a well-crafted estate plan.

Going it alone when selling your parents’ home can be disadvantageous for anyone without significant real estate experience. In a standard sale contract itself, you will make certain representations about:

  • The condition of the property and systems (such as the electrical and plumbing systems),
  • Zoning uses of the property,
  • Whether your parents have made any improvements to the property and obtained the proper permits,
  • Whether additional property tax assessments will be required or have already been made,
  • Whether the property is up to current building codes.

Because you may not know everything about your parents’ home or history, consulting with an experienced lawyer can help you avoid surprise future liability.

Frequently Asked Questions about selling your parent’s home in New Jersey.

  • Q: Can’t I just sell my parents’ home “as is” and not worry about making any improvements or doing maintenance?

    In many cases, you might not know everything about your parents’ home. It is possible to include an “as is” sale clause in a New Jersey real estate contract. However, what many people overlook is the fact that this clause usually permits the buyer to inspect the home and cancel the sale based upon their findings. In many cases, the “as is” clause prolongs the time it would take to sell the home. Further, the “as is” clause does not shield you from all future liability, especially if you conceal something about the home or misrepresent the condition (even if that misrepresentation is only negligent, rather than intentional).

  • Q: Who has the actual authority to sell my parents’ home after their death?

    The executor of the estate will usually have formal authority to either transfer the home according to the will or sell estate assets (once the executor gains authority from the courts via the probate process). If the home was owned jointly, the joint owner will take title and have authority to sell.

  • Q: Will my parents’ home be included in their probate estate in New Jersey?

    It depends upon how the home was titled. If your parent owned the home jointly with someone else who is still alive, the estate can pass free of probate (and the co-owner will simply take title and have the authority to sell). If your parent passed away and the home was held in their name alone, the home will likely be included in the estate for probate purposes.


Action Steps To Ease The Burden Of Selling A Parent’s Home:

Whether you must sell your parents’ home because they can no longer live safely on their own or because your parents have passed away, proper planning can help ease the stress associated with sale of your parents’ home. You can:

  • Make sure that your parents have a will in place that directs how the home should be handled after death. The will can direct that the proceeds will be divided among siblings or even leave the home outright to a single family member with decision-making authority (forms of co-ownership can be useful here to keep the home out of probate).
  • Plan for expenditures that will arise in order to properly maintain the home before sale. Property insurance and taxes will have to be paid until the house is sold, and you may wish to make updates and keep the property well-maintained to maximize the sale price.
  • Consult with a real estate expert, do some simple research or hire an appraiser to ensure the home price is reasonable based upon the neighborhood and condition.
  • Consider changing the locks if there is a risk that heirs with access may enter and cause damage.
  • Keep the lines of communication between siblings and other heirs open. Discussing who will take responsibility for what can be key to managing expectations and ensuring that the home sale goes smoothly.

Contact our Real Estate Lawyers Today To Discuss Sale Of Your Parents’ Home.

At Posternock Apell, PC, our goal is to make the sale of your parents’ home as simple as possible. We know that you may be grieving the loss of your parents or helping them transition into a new living environment. We are here to ease the burden of the home sale by providing dependable, experienced legal advice you can trust. To learn more about how we can help, call or contact our office to schedule a free case review today.