The decision to sell
The decision to sell a conservatee’s house or property can be difficult. This may be the best course if funds from the sale are needed to take care of the conservatee’s health or medical bills or if the conservatee needs to be in an assisted living residence.
The decision to sell must be approved by the court, which can take some time. Once the court has approved the sale of the conservatee’s property, the next step is to find a real estate agent that can assist you in listing, marketing and selling the property.
All real estate that is under a conservatorship must be sold through the probate process and requires court confirmation, so you should look for an agent who is experienced in probate proceedings, can explain the process clearly and can help you meet your goals.
Your goals when selling the property are
- To get the most money possible for the real property
- To protect the conservatee from potential liabilities
After you and your agent determine the list price, your agent begins marketing the property to attract potential buyers. A “For Sale” sign should be placed on the property and advertising submitted to newspapers and internet sites. Your agent should also prepare targeted direct mail campaigns, schedule an open house for other agents, hold a public open house and conduct private showings for interested parties.
Your agent’s reputation and experience play an important role in the exposure of the property. Networking – word of mouth – is one of the vital parts of real estate marketing. The longer your agent has been in the business, the better their reputation and the wider their network of respect among other agents, the more exposure your property will get.
Your real estate agent will counsel all prospective buyers and agents about the specific terms that are required for this sale, so the agent’s ability to explain clearly and completely is critical. The agent will negotiate offers on your behalf and bring you an offer that has no contingencies as well as the specified deposit. (Contingencies are “this will happen if that happens” provisions within a real estate offer to purchase. The most common one is that the buyer agrees to purchase the property IF they sell their current property. In an active and competitive marketplace, contingencies are discouraged.)
Once you have accepted an offer, the attorney for the conservatorship will apply for a court date to confirm the sale. In conservatorship sales, as in probate and trust sale transactions, other potential buyers have an opportunity to appear at the court confirmation hearing to overbid the accepted offer. Overbidding assures that the conservator has attained the highest amount possible for the conservatee’s property.