As we age, one of the unfortunate scenarios we may eventually face is trying to sell our parents’ home. Sometimes there is a health issue that requires the relocation of a parent and there is a power of attorney in place, sometimes the parent has passed.

Often whole families may be connected to the transaction, and sometimes this stressful time can create opportunities for conflict. My experience with a number of my client’s in this position, highlights the importance of hiring the right people to help you in such an emotional time.

Are your children selling on your behalf? Here’s how to Prevent Family Conflict When Your Kids Sell Your Home.

Opportunity 1 for conflict: Choosing a realtor

Large families come with lots of opinions. One of the first may be: Do we need a realtor? If so, who? Everyone knows a realtor, and everyone wants “their” realtor. it might be their friend, their boss’ nephew, their neighbor.

One thing I will recommend is not to try for-sale-by-owner in this circumstance. If you are an executor, you have a fiduciary duty to the estate and beneficiaries and need to maximize the money out of the sale of the home. To get the best price, you need to hire someone who understands the intricacies of the specific market of the home and the strategy that will get top dollar.

If you sell it off market, or to a friend or an acquaintance, you put yourself in a risky position to potentially have a beneficiary challenge your decision and due diligence later on, or even worse, accuse you of unfairly enriching yourself.

The best practice is to interview at least 2-3 agents for the job.

Last year, I was contacted by my long-time client Duncan, following his father’s passing. His sister Susan had been appointed executor and needed to get a market evaluation of their father’s home for probate purposes. Susan would also be the decision maker on the selection of the realtor to sell the property.

She invited me to the home where I presented a market evaluation and also a comprehensive and strategic marketing plan on how to effectively sell her parent’s home, factoring in the condition, recent sales, my knowledge of the community and who the likely home buyers would be. I outlined the small fixes that needed to be done and reviewed my free staging services. Susan indicated in advance that she was also interviewing a close family friend she had a relationship with.

Following the presentations, Susan called to tell me she decided to hire me to sell her parent’s home. The main reason for her decision was that I demonstrated an extensive knowledge of the neighborhood and buyers and had demonstrated the extensive research I had done to complete the market evaluation.

Additionally, she was impressed with the marketing strategy, the free staging and felt she was getting more bang for her buck with me. Susan lived in another city and felt that the extensive services and network I connected her to would mean she didn’t have to worry about the details because she could rely on me to help her navigate such an emotional and stressful time for her. The estate still needed to go through probate, so the timing was uncertain, but could be as far out as 6 months away.

Opportunity 2 for conflict: Selling strategy

Just as opinions will vary in families around who to hire for a real estate transaction. They also may vary when it comes to the selling strategy for the home. Even in families that get along, each individual may be in a different position in life and have differing wants and needs. Some will be of the mindset of “get the show on the road” and have a desire to move through this difficult decision and period, quickly.

Sell the house “as is”, right away. Others will want time to process. The important thing to know is that in these situations, the executor has the final say on the timelines and the decisions around the sale of the home. Savvy executors will rely on the experts around them, the accountants, the lawyers around the execution of the will and dispersal of assets, and the realtor on the sales strategy.

As the realtor, I follow the instructions of the executor. The executor will determine how transparent they want to be with the decisions they are making and they will sometimes use me to communicate decisions and strategy to the beneficiaries as it relates to the sale of the family home.

In Susan’s case, there wasn’t perfect agreement in strategy

One sibling wanted to just put the house on the market “as is”. They were surprised by the speedy resolution of probate and wanted to get the property on the market ASAP. My professional opinion was, with the slower summer market of 2023, we would have to present this home in its best light to attract the right buyer and outshine the competition.

Susan decided to follow my advice and do some minimal clean up fixes like interior painting to brighten and freshen up this 1950’s Scarborough bungalow. I connected her with one of my trusted contractors to complete the painting on short notice.

We added some updated lighting along with staging the property from top to bottom and brought the home into the 21st century without doing renovations. I project managed the transformation whih was completed in around a week, while Susan was traveling out of the country on a previously planned trip. We knew we hit the mark out of the gate by the family’s response to the presentation of the home. We even gave a tour to a childhood friend who couldn’t believe the transformation.

The buyers agreed, and the home ended up in a bidding war, selling for $70,000 over market value to a lovely young family who would enjoy seeing their kids grow up here, like Susan and her siblings had. Comparable properties languished on the market, selling for tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars less.

Susan’s family and beneficiaries, including the non-believers, were ecstatic with the results and later thanked Susan for making the right decision. Hiring the right professional for the job can take some of the stress, uncertainty and burden off of you when you are having to deal with difficult life challenges.

If you think you may be in a situation where you need to sell the home of your parents, please give me a call. With my specialized training as an SRES, and my access to the right resources and networks I have the experience to help support you in this difficult time.

You can call me at 647.283.2127, send me an email at, or complete the form on this page.

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