It is hard enough selling your own home and orchestrating a move. It can be even more difficult when it is your parent's home, whether it be an estate or a move to different housing...their home may be filled memories as well as loaded with years and years of 'stuff'!
Often the 'stuff' is what prevents seniors from moving. Even more difficult than parting with it, they don't know what they will do with it...and they can't imagine where to begin. Some people selling their parent's home have told me that a gift they plan to give their children is downsizing and dealing with their own 'stuff' while they still can..so their children don't have to deal with it later.
A good way to start is to decide what is going with your parents to their new home if they are moving. If at all possible, it is usually easiest on the seniors to move before selling their home. That way they can get settled into their new home first, then work can proceed on getting their old home ready to show and sell. Showing the home to prospective buyers can be very disruptive for anyone...even more so for seniors...and dealing with their stuff while they are still living there can sometimes be almost insurmountable.
Next distribute desired items to family members and friends...items may be of sentimental or monetary value. I remember when sorting through my husband's parent's estate one of the items the three brothers drew straws for was the family cookie jar! Also recognize that some items may have value beyond what you might think...and Researching Valuables Can Pay Off.
This can all be a huge task, and even bigger if family members are scattered in different parts of the country. Most people need help at some point in the process, whether it be from family and friends or professionals.
The National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) is a not-for-profit, professional association of organizations dedicated to assisting older adults and families with the physical and emotional demands of downsizing, relocating, or modifying their homes. They can help you find a professional move manager in your area to help with the whole process...such as Jeri Pischke of Tender Heart Transitions that I work with regularly and who is a guest author on this blog.
Once the home is cleaned out the next step is preparing it for sale. Consult with your Realtor about required inspections and disclosures in your area, and also about recommendations on what should be done to get it sold. It used to often make sense to just clean it up and sell it with no further work.
In today's market it is usually a good idea to do some fixups and staging...not necessarily to get a higher price, but just to get it sold! With over 80% of buyers wanting a home they can just move into and over 90% of buyers searching online, the staging can be worth it just for online photos. It can make the difference in whether buyers even come to see your property or pass it by for other better looking choices.
Selling from a distance has become easier in our electronic era...even some signatures can now be executed online. What still requires an original signature, however, is the deed transfer. If the seller is not available and it is signed by a personal representative an original Power of Attorney document with the raised seal must be provided to submit with the deed for recording in Minnesota...it will not be returned.