Helpful Hints on Closing Up “Mom’s Home”
By M. Keywood Deese, Vision Bank, Texoma LIVING WELL Magazine
If you are the designated person given the responsibility to close a relative’s home, this article will give you insight as to the pitfalls and problems. You may be the executor of your mother’s estate or the trustee of her trust that owns the home. At her death or disability requiring she move, you may have to handle the following:
Employing an appraiser to inventory and appraise the contents of the home.
Delivering personal property to the heirs––the china, the gun collections, the antiques, jewelry, dining room table and chairs, etc.
Employing an estate auction company to auction the items that are to be sold (if items are valuable enough). Research the business reputation of whoever you hire. Commissions of 20% to 25% are the normal payments for such service.
Arranging for furniture to be packed and sent to a storage facility.
Maintaining insurance on the home until it is sold. Many homeowners’ policies have theft and burglary provisions that lapse after the homeowner has not occupied the home for 30 days. An extra insurance rider should be purchased when the house is to be left vacant for months while on the market for sale. Burglary/theft coverage must be certain. Sometimes a “house-sitter” can be employed for a set rate per night, to keep the home “occupied and insured,” until sold.
Maintaining the utility payments––most homeowners pay for these by automatic drafts on a checking account. The executor of the estate or trustee should verify which account has the water, electric and gas bills being deducted each month and continue to keep funds in the account until the property is sold.
Maintaining the burglar alarm and monthly maintenance payments. Check to see who the servicing company is and how payments are made.
Hiring a reputable repairman, painter, etc.––if you need to freshen-up the look of the house before it is shown. Having the heat/air units checked and gutters emptied will help. You don’t want the chipped paint and a sagging gutter to kill a sale!
M. Keywood Deese is Senior Vice President & Trust Officer at Vision Bank, N.A. of Ada, Oklahoma.