Three personally delicate factors that are known to prompt a property sale are debt, divorce, and death. Each one needs to be handled with sensitivity, discretion and care, especially when the last one, death, is involved.
As estate agents, we have handled many probate sales. A probate sale is the sale of a property on behalf of the executors of a deceased estate as part of the realisation of the deceased’s assets for distribution to any heirs and beneficiaries.
Over the years, we have gained a deep appreciation of the needs surrounding a sale in these sometimes-difficult circumstances. The first thing we seek to understand is the inheritors’ needs. The deceased may have been close family and the property full of cherished memories going back to childhood, where “letting go” may be an issue.
Alternatively, it may have been a distant relative and the inheritors are looking forward to receiving an unexpected (or possibly expected) windfall. Different family members might have varying needs here; for example, the inheritance might be an answer to prayer for someone in financial difficulty and a quick sale is hugely welcome. But another family member might prefer to hold out over time for a higher price.
These conflicting preferences can cause friction between siblings – indeed our skill as sensitive negotiators has been required on more than one occasion - even before a buyer has been found.
We often find that inheritors care about who is moving into their loved-one’s home, so we go to great lengths to ensure that any offer is not only financially appealing, but also that the buyers themselves represent an attractive proposition.