By Cory Nickerson, LRA Associate Broker

The day has come. It is time to move your elderly parents out of their house and sell your childhood home. Perhaps they have been there 20, 30 or even 40+ years. Amidst the possible heavy emotions that go along with this, is the practical question of "Where do I even begin?".  It can certainly feel like an overwhelming task, and it is no small task, but you know it needs to be done. Perhaps your elderly parents need the proceeds from the sale of the their home to pay for and live in an assisted living arrangement or to manage hospital expenses, for example.  Perhaps the home is just too much for them to maintain personally. These are some of the typical reasons we hear about why our clients need to sell an elderly parents home.

To help any one who is facing this task, we created some steps to get you started. Naturally, each family's situation is a bit different, however, most of the steps we recommend below will be important to getting your parents comfortably transitioned from their existing home to their new home with as few hassles and surprises as soon as possible.  

  1. Know the Status of the Mortgage: The first thing to do is to confirm that the expenses are paid in full. If the mortgage is full paid, then that is good news for your family since you will not have to pay of the balance of a mortgage at closing. However, whether or not your folks live in the home, you (or your parents) will have to pay the taxes. If the home is in Boulder County, you can look up a property's tax records here
  2. Don't Forget to Keep the Lights On:  Soon after you determine the status of the mortgage, be sure to get a handle on what your parents owe on the utilities including electricity, gas, water/sewer, lawn care and property insurance. If property insurance is paid directly by the mortgage lender, confirm that amount held in escrow. If there is no mortgage lender, contact the property insurance company directly. Once the home is ready for showings, you don't want an eager agent to come by with a prospective buyer, and not show the home due to lack of electricity or be put off by an overgrown lawn.  Don't forget to stop the newspaper and check on the mail as well!
  3. Determine Your Timeline:  If you  or your parents need cash quickly, talk to your agent about a price that would attract offers quickly. While your agent will recommend a price range, ultimately it is your decision on the final listing price.  You can also decide what types of offers to accept. For example, if you only accept cash offers, you won't have to wait for a Buyer's loan application process, and perhaps you could even close in 14 days. 
  4. Study the Net Sheet - Your real estate agent will provide you with a "Net Sheet", which will give you an estimate of the proceeds of the sale. The Net Sheet will subtract out any outstanding mortgage, title company closing fees, applicable commissions, as well as the balance of taxes and insurance.  The Net Sheet will capture any other outstanding fees (provided you have communicated these to your agent)  and subtract them on a prorated basis from the sales price and provide you with an estimate of sales proceeds you will receive at closing. 
  5. De-cluttering is Probably Highest Priority - If your parents have been in their home for more than 20 years, chances are there's a fair amount of furniture, a fully stocked kitchen and household items and garage and garden tools that they may not be taking with them when they move out. Before you start holding showings, it will be necessary to  de-clutter the home for showings.  If you need an extra hand, find your nearest Goodwill or ARC to schedule pick ups. You may also want to consider hiring a moving  company that specializes in packing and moving senior citizens. You can find resources at The Retirement Living Information Center. 
  6. Power of Attorneys are Not All Equal - While you may have already taken care of the paperwork for Power of Attorney (POA) for your parents, your chosen title company will require a special POA before you are able to close, which will need to be less than 12 months old.  Be sure to check with your attorney or title company to determine if the POA you have in place is valid for a real estate transaction. 

If you have been following Louisville Realty Associates on social media you will know that we provide regular updates on real estate in East Boulder County. While it is easy to get lost in the multitude of trends you might hear about online, we always keep our data sweet and simple.  For example, check out East Boulder Towns market statistics here.  At Louisville Realty Associates, we have the experience, energy and depth of knowledge to help you list your home for the best price. You can reach me anytime at