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Trustee’s Disclosure Requirements

Winning the bidding wars

Dear Phyllis,

I have enjoyed your real estate column for years. In the past, you have discussed seller disclosures but I have more specific questions for you. As the Trustee for my mother’s estate, I believe I need to inform the buyer that my mother passed away in her home two and a half years ago from a heart attack. Her home has been rented for the last two years.  And the tenant has just given me notice that they are moving. I know from reading your column that I should spruce the house up a bit. After I paint and get the yard in shape, I am going to list (with my mom’s good friend).  I haven’t lived there in thirty years. So, can you explain the trustee’s disclosure requirements? I really don’t have that much knowledge.


Dear Jane,

That’s wise that you are going to invest some time and money preparing the home for sale. Before you begin sprucing up your mom’s home, discuss with your Realtor which repairs will give you the highest return on investment. If you paint, have your agent help you with colors.

The Trustee’s disclosure requirements are typically less than a standard sale. One of the questions you will answer in the disclosures is if anyone has passed in the last three years. Depending on the home’s location and the buyer demographics, you might consider waiting for the three years to elapse so that you will not be required to disclose your mom’s passing. Different cultures have different views on this. Depending on the buyer demographics it could impact your home’s final selling price.

As this is a trust sale and you haven’t recently lived in the home, you are exempt from many of the standard disclosures. Let your Realtor know if you have made any recent repairs or improvements. Realtors often use a form titled “Receipt for Reports”.  We share (disclose) with the buyer recent repairs and improvements which were made. I suggest you also include any invoices of repairs and improvements you made while preparing the home for sale in this “Receipt for Reports”.

I wish you a successful sale.

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