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All you need to know about estate sales

#Selling a real estate property

Last update : 2024-01-25 14:45:15

After the death of a loved one, the question of succession arises. Once the heirs have been identified, they sometimes find themselves managing one or more properties. The fact is that these people are rarely used to this kind of task.

To remedy this, there are several solutions. We will give you all the keys you need to understand how it works.

What is an estate sale?

An estate sale is a situation where heirs want to sell an inherited property. It may involve: 

  • A house;
  • An apartment
  • A condominium
  • A cottage;
  • Any other item of value.

House for an estate sale

How does an estate sale work in Quebec?

The first step is to obtain a declaration of transmission for a property. This document, drawn up by a notary, confirms the transfer of ownership and is registered in the Quebec land registry. Several items are required to complete it:

  • A death certificate; 
  • A deed of sale to prove that the deceased was the owner of the property; 
  • A certificate of location;
  • A will, if applicable.

The last of these plays an essential role in the rest of the process. If the deceased did make a will, the estate will be testamentary. Otherwise, in the absence of a will, the succession is legal (intestate).

Legal succession

In the case of legal succession, there is a very specific distribution that must be respected. In this case, the surviving spouse receives half of the net assets as well as what he is entitled to from a matrimonial point of view. The remains may vary depending on several situations:

  • If the deceased had children;
  • If the deceased's parents are still alive;
  • If the surviving spouse has siblings and if they have children.

For more information on the distribution of a legal estate, the Quebec government offers a table of distribution to help you make sense of it all.

Succession with a will

In this second case, the deceased has indicated his last wishes in his will. The document should also indicate the appointment of one or more liquidators.

The liquidator is the person in charge of administering the estate. To do this, he follows the deceased's last wishes to the letter and carries out the following tasks:

  • Inventory of the assets to be left;
  • Paying the estate tax;
  • Designating the beneficiaries of the estate.

Once these tasks have been completed, the liquidator redistributes the estate to the heirs and remains in charge until his duties are completed. It should be noted, however, that if he is not one of the persons involved in the estate, he may demand compensation.

Signature of an estate

Estate sale: what to do with the furniture?

When an estate is sold, it can be tempting to clear out quickly and move on to other things so you can grieve in peace.

But don't be too hasty. Some furniture may be of value to future buyers or on the secondhand market.

Garage or yard sale

You can hold an estate garage sale to get rid of unwanted furniture. This makes sense if certain items are still in good condition and have no use.

You can plan this on a weekend or when the weather is good. This will maximize your initiative and ensure a large number of visitors.

Internet sale

You can also sell your used items on Facebook MarketPlace or Kijiji. If everything here is done by phone, you'll have to deal with a lot of messages on these two platforms. Keep this in mind before choosing one over the other.

It may be a good idea to start with a garage sale and then list your unsold items on MarketPlace and Kijiji for a low price. Either way, selling your used items will allow you to make some money and avoid throwing away items that are still functional.

Yard sale of an estate

When can an inherited asset be sold?

Whether the estate is intestate or testamentary, you must wait until the administrator has completed the distribution of the estate.

Once this is done, the heirs must agree on the decision to be made regarding the house. If all agree to an estate sale, the process can begin. If there is a dissenting voice, everyone will have to find a common solution and proceed with a more difficult calculation of the division of the estate.

Performing work before the sale

The question of carrying out work before selling an inherited property arises. Unless the property is too old and in urgent need of renovation, it is not advisable to carry out major works.

The heirs' only obligation is to keep the property in good condition until the transaction. In particular, they must continue to clean and maintain the exterior of the property (e.g., trim the hedges, mow the lawn, etc.).

Selling with a real estate agent

Your heirs may want to sell your property quickly before it falls into disrepair. With this in mind, a real estate broker can help you sell your property.

Accustomed to this type of situation, the professional will facilitate the resolution of conflicts between heirs concerning the sale. What's more, their expertise is invaluable because they know what documents and requirements need to be completed.

Estate auctions

Auctions are estate sale services. They organize a public auction and help those in need part with their inherited property. While it's important to do your research, this type of structure is a good alternative.

Not to be confused with foreclosure

Last but not least, estate sales should not be confused with foreclosure.

Foreclosure is a situation in which a property is seized by a financial institution following a default. For example, if the owner defaults on the mortgage. The property is then repossessed by the financial institution, which usually hires a real estate broker to sell the property.

In this case, the property is sold quickly because of a mortgage default, not because of inheritance. What both situations have in common, however, is that the properties are usually sold without any legal guarantee.

Do you want to sell an inherited home?

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