Step #4 - Hire an agent experienced in selling inherited houses

Using a real estate agent

Hiring a real estate agent that all the heirs like and trust can smooth the process of selling your parents’ home after death.

Be sure to work with an agent who has both empathy and patience during this sensitive time. Let’s say you declutter or go through all the family photos that are sitting around in the house. Your agent should be patient with what you’re going through.

The agent must be licensed in the state where the home is located.

Sell to a cash buyer for a streamlined experience

If you’re looking to sell as quickly as possible, then you might opt to sell the house to a direct buyer. This might allow you to skip the prep work, home repairs, and open houses .

Direct buyers charge service fees in exchange for a fast and certain sale, so you won’t net as much money. However, the difference may be worth it when you consider how much emotional energy you’ll save in the process.

Or you can sell it yourself: For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

Most homeowners (90%) choose to list their homes with a real estate agent, but you could take the DIY route.

Selling solo is a Herculean task — one that’s difficult to pull off before even factoring in dealing with the loss of a parent.

As a FSBO seller, you’d be responsible for more than decluttering the house and arranging for repairs. You’re tasked with:

  • Pricing the home properly
  • Marketing the home
  • Negotiating with a buyer
  • Filling out paperwork and disclosures
  • Navigating the escrow and closing process


These can each be time-consuming, difficult tasks. It’s still likely that you won’t net as much money as you would selling with an agent, as homes typically sell for around 32% less. For reference agent fees are around 6% .. so you’d be coming out 26% ahead!

Figuring out the financials of the house needs to be dealt with early on. Your agent can help you find out if there’s an existing mortgage, who it’s being paid to, and how it’s being paid, such as a direct debit, or if your parents were paying it online or writing a check.

Step 5 of the process is to sort through your parents’ personal finances.