Wrapping Up The Family Vacation Home

The cabin... it’s been in the family for a long time and many memories.

The cabin… it’s been in the family for a long time and many memories.

It doesn’t need to be as hard as some families make it…

Thirty years ago, Summit County began to fill up quickly.  The first building boom was in progress and many Front Range and neighbor state buyers bought here.
Now, 30 years later many of these owners, who were in their 40’s 50’s and 60’s when they bought, are now in their 70’s 80’s and 90’s and ready to sell.  Often the children don’t use or want the property and the parents can’t come to altitude or hike and ski when they get here.
Many of my sellers lately are in this situation.  So I’ve had a lot of experience with families who are letting go of the second home.  I’m dealing either with the parents or with the kids who are often spread out across the US.
Often these second homes have had little use in recent years and need repairs, cleaning and removal of old tv’s, stereos, furniture, appliances, and personal items.  The kids or parents often can’t come here or don’t have local contacts to do it from home.
My job is to sell real estate.  But lately that involves arranging to get the property in condition to sell.  I don’t charge extra for this although it doubles my workload.  I can make this a lot easier than if you are trying to do it all yourself.
Here are some things families selling the cabin need to consider before putting it on the market.
Who will take the lead?  When an offer comes in who will be available and have the authority to respond quickly, usually within 24 hours?  Consider getting a power of attorney for the lead family member, or if the property is held in a trust, check to see which trustees can sign legal documents and make decisions.
Who is computer savvy enough to deal with contracts and paperwork by e-mail and electronic signatures?  Our contract system is largely on-line now and the lead family member needs to be able to find and open e-mails and to click on a link that takes them to the contract on the Internet.  Once there they will need to perform a three step process to e-sign.  Buyers are generally much younger than sellers and are tech savvy. They expect to work quickly by e-mail and text messaging.
Who is going to be in charge of the repairs, cleaning and maintenance decisions?  There will be work to do in both the pre-listing staging and for items called for in the Inspection Objection.  I can make suggestions and arrange for the work to be done, but some family member must make decisions about what to do and authorize me to get vendors scheduled and working.  Consider coming to see the property before listing so you won’t be surprised by what it needs.  It has probably changed since you saw it ten years ago.
How will the proceeds of the sale be divided among the family?  The title company will need instructions on this at closing.  They will also require a copy of any trust documents to be able to write the statement of signing authority.
Getting all of this in place before going on the market makes the rest of the process a lot easier.  
It also allows the family to discuss the sale, get legal and tax advice and make informed decisions in advance.  Deciding who will sign, where the money goes and even whether you all agree to sell while under the pressure of contract deadlines is not fun.
For the next few years, this will be the nature of my business as older owners leave Summit County.  Fortunately, my system is set up to handle almost everything for you.  

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