One relative takes on the family

My client hired a realtor several years ago to sell the family’s estate property. The agent quit after just four days of placing it on the market. Why did they give up so quickly? Family disputes.

A family member who was not an executor strenuously objected to the sale and pressured other heirs to agree. Foreseeing a complex and difficult road, the realtor simply threw in the towel and the sale fizzled.

When I recently met with the executrix, she was more than ready to shed responsibility for the building. She’d been on the hook for maintenance, property tax and insurance, and she was drained. She and the family were ready to sell.

Still holding out

But the original objecting heir—interestingly, a realtor—was still not on board.

I encouraged my client to see her estate attorney for a document review to be 100% positive she had the right to sell the property. The attorney gave us the go-ahead.

Two more challenges stood in our way

With terms that favored our client, you might think we had to discount the price. But no, we sold at our listed value—$269,000. This was above the appraised price and $102,860 over the original investor offer, even including Alex’s $16,140 commission.

  • The tenants – relatives lived in the building, paying very low rent. Before I was involved, investors had submitted lowball offers to the seller. Buyers had second thoughts because the pandemic made removing tenants to begin renovations extra expensive and time-consuming. And the seller knew the offers were too low.
  • Property condition – years of deferred maintenance meant the property needed a total renovation, to the tune of more than $100,000

Tenant relocation is tricky, but luckily, an agent on my team is a specialist. Although the process took a while, thanks to her patience, kindness and encouragement, the tenants moved to new apartments.

Going on the market

Immediately, the obstructionist set about disrupting the sale. She showed up during an open house and tried to prevent buyers from entering.

She even threatened to sue me, but that didn’t slow me down. I tell my clients that when I commit to them, I won’t stop until the property sells or I die!

Despite the interference, we received multiple offers and ultimately went with one $25,000 over asking price, nearly doubling an investor’s earlier bid. The buyer accepted the property as-is, without inspections. And we gave no repair credits even with the building’s numerous deficiencies.

When parties disagree

It’s critical that the family consents to selling an estate property. If two executors are unable to agree, I wait until there is a consensus.

When a non-executor refuses to sell the property, we move on to creative options. One that’s proven productive is offering the property for sale to the uncooperative party.

“Alex was an outstanding realtor who was able to handle a very complex sale. His patience and attention to detail in assisting with the problem that arose was impeccable.”

~ Executor, this West Bergen probate home sale

At a glance

  • One dissenting family member was unable to obstruct the sale
  • Tenants were relocated to bring a faster sale, higher price
  • Sold for nearly twice the investor’s offer, and $25,000 over asking

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