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Too much loss

Dealing with too much loss

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Ask Phyllis: a blog series of frequently asked real estate questions. Email us here


Dear Phyllis,

My sister died and I am the trustee. She was mentally ill and because of COVID restrictions I could not visit her in the hospital. Her passing is so hard for me because I feel she thinks I abandoned her. Her home is not far from mine, but I just cannot bear going there one more time. I have removed what I need and now just need to get it cleaned out and sold. I contacted the Realtor who sold me my home. But she tells me, I need to empty the home and clean it before she can get it on the market. There’s simply been too much loss and I just cannot deal with any more of this. It is too hurtful. I really am not sure of my question but am just hoping you can offer some guidance or a simpler solution.


Dear Jane,

I am so sorry for your loss and can’t begin to imagine the pain this is causing you. You need to hire a Realtor experienced in these situations. There are many to choose from. Your real estate agent works for you, not the other way around. They should be helping you get through this and not putting up obstacles.

Contact one of the larger local real estate offices and speak with the manager. Inform the manager that you want to hire a real estate agent experienced with trust sales. And that you want this Realtor to take care of everything for you. This will include:

1) Picking up the key from you
2) If applicable: coordinating an estate sale, donations and or hauling
3) Arranging to have the home cleaned
4) If desired, coordinating any desired repairs and/or staging

As a convenience, many Realtors, such as myself have concierge services where these costs can be covered by the Realtor or their brokerage and be paid through escrow proceeds. This certainly simplifies things.

Ask that the above duties be stated in the listing contract. This experienced real estate agent should then prepare a marketing plan for your approval. Once ready for professional photos your Realtor should get this home on the market and sold. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than this. I wish you the best.

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