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More Things to Consider When Closing the Family Estate

 Posted by Phillip Sweat on April 22, 2014 at 4:47 PM

In the event a homeowner has died, the family often has many more things to consider beyond preparation and sale of the home.

Typically, a family member or family friend has been named Personal Representative of the decedent.  This role is may be referred to as Executor or Administrator and is the fiduciary put in charge of settling the estate. If there is a Last Will and Testament, a probate judge will typically appoint the Personal Representative named in the will as the Executor.

In general, the decedent’s estate planning documents such as the Last Will, funeral plans and living trust, should be organized for the estate attorney. In most cases, set aside three years of tax returns and locate a 3 month inventory of all account statements, such as checking, savings, cd’s, retirement accounts and brokerage accounts. Stock and bond certificates are required, as well as life insurance policies  and the beneficiary designations for payable on death accounts such as insurance and IRAs, real estate deeds,  titles for automobiles and other recreational vehicles, corporate records, household and utility bills, medical bill and funeral bills.  The Executor must also try and identify all creditors and outstanding debts.

The next step is determining the value of the estate at the time of death.  For all items listed on the inventory, this is typically the fair market value of the asset at the time of death. Bank and retirement accounts are listed per the most recent statements.  Real estate may be listed at its value as assessed for real estate taxes. For other property, fair market value is normally “the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller in the retail market.” Appraisals are often required and the cost of appraisal or advice of accountant in these matters is usually allowable as an administrative cost of the estate.

An account is typically set up for the estate and used to pay estate management expenses and pay the decedent’s outstanding debts. Careful records of all transactions must be kept.

Typically, estate taxes must be filed within a specific time frame. Estate taxes can be very complicated and can have a significant impact on the value of the estate, as well as heirs and beneficiaries.   It is advisable to seek the experience of an estate tax attorney or CPA, who can help determine state and federal liability.

After all else is done,  the executor will distribute the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries named in the  Last Will, or if there was no will, according to decedent’s heirs at law. The estate is closed by filing a “final accounting” with the court. The Executor also files a “closing statement,” that indicates all taxes and debts have also been paid and all property distributed.

©Caring Transitions

You may also be interested in

  • Home Downsizing to Sell
  • Five Reason to Stage Your Home
  • Ten Steps to Home Staging
  • Caring Transitions Blog Series

Ten Steps to Home Staging

 Posted by Phillip Sweat on April 1, 2014 at 4:28 PM

According to Real Estate Staging Association statistics, staged homes are on the market 67% less time than non-staged homes.

If you are a skilled or impartial seller, the basic steps to home staging may be familiar to you and easy to apply.  Many homeowners, however, find it easier and more effective to hire a professional s or work with an experienced Realtor to prepare a property for listing. The following steps may help you get started.

  1. Focus on the task at hand. Keep in mind your objective is to sell as quickly as possible and at a good price. Understand that living in a staged home is different than living in your home. Once you list your home, your concern should no longer be about your own comfort or decorating preferences, but all about the home buyer’s perception.
  2. Evaluate the home. View every room from the doorway to determine how it looks. Make sure each room has a clear entryway and a spacious feel. Move or eliminate furnishings that may be blocking entry ways, light or seem too bulky or heavy for the space.
  3. View every room for the amount of natural and artificial light. Take steps to add light, clean windows and open or replace window treatments. If the views of the outdoors are pleasing, window treatments may be minimized.
  4. Evaluate your paint colors, busy wallpaper patterns and any structural damage. Neutral colors are best. Hire remodeling professionals and contractors to make improvements in these areas.
  5. Thoroughly clean everything. Cobwebs, skylights, windows, brick work, baseboards, flooring, carpets, corners of appliances and on and on.
  6. Declutter rooms by removing extra pieces of furniture, item in storage spaces, excess or broken electronics, collectibles and other items that create a “cluttered” feel.  Hold a professional Estate Sale to optimize the value of your possessions and offset some of your household move or staging costs.
  7. Don’t fill your storage spaces to help clear out other rooms. Storage space is often an important selling feature and buyers want to know how much space is available. Portable storage units may help you organize excess, but for a permanent and cost-free solution, we recommend “Downsizing to Sell.”
  8. Depersonalize your home. Removing refrigerator magnets, family pictures and religious items make some homeowners feel sad, but in reality it is best if the home buyer can imagine how their belongings will look in the home, rather than yours.
  9. Address any odors. Whether smells are due to age, people or pets, most houses have their own particular odor. Use air cleaners, unscented aerosols and open windows to reduce unpleasant odors.
  10. Don’t forget the outdoors.  Creating “curb appeal” has been a selling practice for many years. Be sure to trim bushes and plant attractive flowers in warm weather; shovel driveways and remove dead foliage when it is cold.  Discuss the need for other repairs and issues with your realtor or home staging professional.

Preparing a house for market may seem daunting,   yet as long as you focus on your overall objective, which is selling quickly for the best possible price, you may learn to apply these home staging basics and achieve excellent results.  Find more “Reasons to Stage Your Home” in this blog series.

©Caring Transitions

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Five Reasons to Stage Your Home

 Posted by Phillip Sweat on February 7, 2014 at 4:25 PM

The concept of “home staging” has been around for a number of years now, but some sellers may not yet realize that preparing their home for sale isn’t just an option, it is a necessity. Similar to sprucing up a used car before listing it for sale, most homes require a good clean and polish before they are placed on the market. Home staging experts agree on several more reasons to stage before you sell:

1. Staging helps sell homes faster. A National Association of Realtors survey found that the longer a home stays on the market, the further below list price it drops. Homes that sold in the first 4 weeks averaged 1% more than the list price; 4 to 12 weeks averaged 5% less; 13 to 24 weeks averaged 6.4% less; than list price; and 24 weeks averaged more than 10% less than list price.

2. Staging investments won’t break the bank. According to other home staging statistics, an average expenditure of $575 for simple cleaning, decluttering, lightening and brightening provides a return of over $2,400 on the sale price of an average home, which is more than a 400% return on investment.

3. Staging provides a market advantage. According to the National Association of Realtors, over 90% of buyers search for homes online before they decide which to visit.  Online real estate videos and photos that reflect nicely staged rooms provide a true advantage over competitors.

4. Staging creates appeal. Residential buyers tend to make emotional decisions when they decide to purchase a home. The potential residence should feel like home as they walk through. Many buyers are simply unable to envision relaxing or raising a family in a home that is dirty, cluttered or in disrepair.

5. Staged homes generate better selling price. According to a National Association of Realtors survey, homes that sold after 4 weeks on the market sold for 6% less than those which sold in the first four weeks. Improving the appearance of your home can help speed up the sale, especially when the home is priced right.

©Caring Transitions 

Home Downsizing to Sell

 Posted by Phillip Sweat on January 15, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Most of us recognize that homes that are correctly priced tend to sell quickly, while those that aren’t often languish on the market. Of course, there is more to consider than price when placing a home on the market. Among those factors, it is important to evaluate the overall appearance and condition of a home.

If you are one of many home sellers who wonder why the house down the street just sold at an asking price similar to yours, while yours remains on the market, it may be time to assess the home environment. When a home is in disrepair, too dirty or too cluttered, buyers may not be able to see beyond the mess to effectively compare the home value to other properties.  Is your home appealing to buyers? Can you do more to add “curb appeal” and ‘house appeal?”  Chances are downsizing can help improve the appearance of your home, as well as reduce your moving expenses by eliminating the cost of packing and moving unnecessary items.

Downsizing is often part of the home staging process. The National Association of Realtors states the average home staging investment is between 1 and 3 percent of the home’s asking price, and generates a return of 8 to 10 percent.  For those considering home staging, we have listed “Five Reasons to Stage Your Home” in our next blog.

In those cases where a home is densely cluttered, getting ready to go to market may require more thorough cleaning and aggressive downsizing. Professional estate sale and online auction services can help in these instances. Costs of these services are similar or even less than basic home staging services and produce similar results. Typically, professional estate sale management fees are paid as a percent of sale proceeds. Once those fees, plus any administration fees, have been paid, the net gain on the estate sale belongs to the home owner. As a result, the owner may profit not only from the net revenues of the estate sale, but also the increased value of a decluttered home. Even in situations where the outcome of an estate sale is just “break even”, the seller still benefits from the improved value of the home.

©Caring Transitions 

How Cluttered Are You?

 Posted by FMS SuperAdministrator on October 12, 2013 at 7:20 PM
If you think you’ve got it together, you may be right.  But you may also be looking at your home through rose colored glasses.How many of these items do you have in your home?2 or more piles of clean clothes waiting to be put away2 or more piles of paperwork or other items waiting to be put awayA filing/storage system you’ve never usedOut of date prescription medicineMore than 3 half-used bottles of shampoo or lotionA single earring (the oth...

What is Resellable?

 Posted by FMS SuperAdministrator on June 11, 2013 at 7:19 PM
Click the linkWhat’s Hot on the Reselling Marketto see where your stuff falls on our list.Your possessions could make you a pretty penny!  Why not take the time to find out?

Real Estate Resources For Mom & Dad

 Posted by Phillip Sweat on June 5, 2013 at 3:14 PM

by Nan Hayes for Caring Transitions

When it comes to choosing housing or buying and selling real estate, the needs of older adults and their families can be quite complex. Selling situations may be complicated by issues such as family dynamics, deteriorating health, personal loss and financial constraints. To provide consumers with dedicated support options, two of the nation’s most professional resources work in partnership.

Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) estatblished their Senior Real Estate Specialist© (SRES©) program in 2007. Realtors who invest the time to earn their SRES credential cultivate a unique view of today’s market, including the sale of older homes, senior housing options and the logistics of relocation. They also understand the implications of common financial concerns, including financing options, reverse mortgage, tax laws, probate and estate planning. Today there are approximately 15,000 SRES Realtors nationwide. All SRES Realtors meet NAR industry requirements and are supported by the SRES Council.

Caring Transitions®:

As the nation’s largest professional resource for household relocation and liquidation, Caring Transitions, is uniquely qualified to serve in partnership with the SRES Realtor network.

With independently owned offices in every major market, Caring Transitions® supports families and business professionals as they downsize, sell, move, pack and unpack. With professional Estate Sale and state-of-the-art CT Online Auction capabilities, Caring Transitions® helps consumers with decluttering. They often assist clients by preparing homes for sale. Moving and storage costs may be offset by professional space planning and downsizing services which are typically delivered in advance of a major move.

Not sure where to start?

It is important for families to understand their options when it comes to secure, knowledgeable and qualified resources. Both SRES® and Caring Transitions® work with teams of professionals who assist with all facets of the home sale and relocation process. Both serve as advocates for their older adult clients.

If listing your home for sale is your immediate concern, contact an SRES® Realtor® today.  However, if you think it is best to begin the downsizing process before you list or if you are ready to move to your new home or clear an estate, contact this local Caring Transitions® office. Both groups of professionals will work in concert to support your needs and help you avoid costly and time consuming mistakes.

 

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

 Posted by FMS SuperAdministrator on June 1, 2013 at 7:18 PM
(from http://worldobserveronline.com/2013/05/16/10-things-happy-people-do-differently/)“Happiness is having a large, caring, close-knit family in another city.” — George BurnsHow happy are you and why? This is a question I spend a fair amount of time thinking about, not only as it applies to my own levels of happiness, but also as it applies to my family, friends, and the people who I work with. Since graduating with my master’s degree in po...

La Jolla Based Franchisee Highlighted In Press Release

 Posted by Phillip Sweat on May 17, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Caring Transitions La Jolla

Will and Suzy Fuller, owners of Caring Transitions La Jolla, were recently highlighted by a local news story in the Rancho Santa Fe Review. The couple, who graduated from their training class this winter, have hit the ground running and taken the local market by storm. With a background in customer service and marketing, connecting with clients and understanding their complicated issues came naturally to Will Fuller.

“Our focus is to minimize the stress and maximize the returns while helping clients through a difficult time,” commented Fuller.

One reason why the Fullers were interested in owning a Caring Transitions franchise are the demographic trends. According to statistics, 79 million baby boomers turned 65 in 2011 which translates to about 10,000 Americans gaining senior status each day.

“It’s a daunting thought that each of those families must face a major change at some point,” said Fuller. “But we have proven systems in place whereby we can remove a lot of the stress – and a lot of times the arguments – out of coping with these often overwhelming major life-changing transitions.”

To read more from this article, head to the Caring Transitions La Jolla website.

Monetary vs. Sentimental Value

 Posted by FMS SuperAdministrator on May 6, 2013 at 7:17 PM
There are two main types of value associated with antiques and heirlooms:monetary and sentimental.  The one thing that can add to both types of value is information.As we work with clients they often times share with us the stories behind the things they or their parents owned.  They like sharing the stories and we like having that information.  So how does information add value to antiques and heirlooms?SENTIMENTAL ...
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