My mom has lived in an assisted living for the past 18 months, and it is going well. She owns a home in the same area as her assisted living . It is necessary now to sell her home to keep her finances in good order to meet her future needs. My mom and my brother both see the necessity of doing this. I have Power of Attorney for her both medical and financial. Unfortunately I live out of state from my mother which presents a challenge both prepping the house for sale and selling it. My brother lives in that area and will be able to assist somewhat. I have secured a highly recommended real estate agent. My brother promptly had the realtor see the house. My mom's house is 10 years old and in excellent shape. The house still has some furniture, appliances, and all the contents she did not have room for in her assisted living apartment. Thankfully it is in good order. I anticipate minor repairs, possibly painting, and a thorough cleaning before putting it on the market. I am unable to go there for another 6 weeks, but we want to have it on the market within the next few weeks. I have placed some things in a safe deposit box and have brought many documents and papers home with me but , There are still some important papers, files and valuables in the house. My thought is to have my brother contain those items temporarily in maybe a trunk type locker with a lock. At least things would not be out in the open. The house has security system so that is a plus. The realtor expects the house to sell quickly. I could really use some thoughts on how to organize and deal with all the house hold contents. I hope to be there when I go at least 2 weeks when I am able to go. There are some things in the basement that my mom says is mostly to be trashed or donated . But there are many things to be sold through out house or dispersed . The fact that I will have limited time to take care of this is daunting. I will need to, of course, have my mom decide on what things she wants to hold on to. That has to be managed as well because she was recently diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. She is increasingly getting more easily confused and overwhelmed, which then stresses her. I want to reduce as much wear and tear on her as possible for her sake as well as mine. When she I struggling it is both physically and emotionally draining for me. I have encountered this a number of times in the last couple of years trying to work in her best interest. She knows this and is very appreciative, thankfully, but I can feel pulled in many directions trying to ease her concerns and fears while trying to take care of so many practical things. I would very much appreciate hearing what others have learned from doing this and ideas for just making this whole process go a little easier. I thank you all in advance . I have gotten such helpful feedback the few times I have put out a question. I so very much appreciate you taking the time to share with me.

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As far as replacing carpet and painting.. keep in mind that many buyers want to pick thier own carpet and paint. We just took a deduction for that amount from the sale price, saved us having to pay, and them to pay later. We just wanted to move the house.. and the buyers were contractors who wanted to redo alot of it.. good bones but dated. Just make sure it's clean.. and you may be able to skip this step. My ILs are selling thier home now, and I cannot believe what they are going through.. and the buyers will probably redo it all ( the house is 40 years old... good bones again but still..) We rented a dumpster for the last clean out.. worth the money if you are ruthless! I was, had the cousins help with the move, gave them what they wanted and hired an auction company for the rest. We did not make alot on the auction ( bad weather and several reshedules), but it got done and off my worry list. We sold the house to the first people who looked at it.. They did alot of work, and now the house has a great new young family who remodeled it to the way they wanted, and they love it as much as we did!
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I've been through this and absolutely agree that it can be a daunting task, especially if you're not in the area.

I would first prioritize the contents and sort them accordingly: those which your mother wishes to keep and which you need for legal/financial purposes, those which you and/or your brother want, those which can be donated, and those that could be thrown away.

If your family has friends that can help, that makes it easier, not just physically but emotionally as well.

If either you or your brother have a camera (and not everyone these days does), take photos of any items your mother remembers wanting to have, as well as others which are personal that you think she might have. It would hurt psychologically to include some things you know she doesn't want, so she can feel that she is in fact disposing of them and not keeping everything. And ask her if she has a favorite charity to which she would prefer that donations be made.

Since the house will be vacant, remove everything of value, even if your mother doesn't plan to keep it. You can rent a storage shed and sometimes get the first month's rent free, if there are a lot of items that fall in this category. That way they're out of the house, and they're secure.

Don't count on the realtors or anyone holding an estate sale to monitor visitors - things will disappear. I was even cautioned about that by an estate sales company which I consulted.

If you do want to get the house cleared out ASAP, you can divide the storage shed components into those for donation and those for "review", if you're not able to decide at that time. And sometimes the issues of closing out someone's house do become so emotional that decisions are hard to make.

It will also be easier to make any repairs and clean thoroughly when the house is cleared of items so you don't have to protect them or worry about damage.

Some folks have garage sales; if that's an option, consider the investment of time and whether you think your brother would have in fact have the time to handle this. A lot of people I know have them annually, but given the amount of money they've said they made, it's a considerable investment of time for a nominal amount of return.

If you're a military family, call 211 and ask if there are any military organizations in your area that would help remove items from the house. Salvation Army, for example, will remove items that are outside, but cannot enter a house. Through 211, I found a local military organization housing homeless vets that came into the house and removed all of the workout equipment from the basement, plus couches and furniture from the first and second floor. I could never have done this myself.

If you hire an estate sales company that holds a sale in the house, remember that there will be some things that could disappear. A relative experienced this - a potential buyer went into the cordoned off areas and began snooping in trunks.

It seems to me that you have a very organized and logical approach already, so it's just a matter of identifying priority disposition and moving forward. But there may come a time when it becomes very emotional for you and/or your brother, and if/when that happens, step back, focus on some other task, and give yourselves a rest.
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What about looking into hiring an estate sales company to do that for you? We have some here in our area and they did an excellent job with my friend's MIL's things.

Do you think there are things she will want to hold on to that are necessary or just want them to want them? Could you get a storage shed for the items you think she will want and then take care of it later or have the brother handle it?
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If your brother could store, at his house, all the valuable items you were talking about, that would be better than leaving them in the house.

Another option is to rent a storage locker and move items to it. Realize that the house will have to be cleaned out before the new buyers take possession. So, work now to weed things out. Give the items meant for family members to them now. Have a tag sale. Use Craigslist or similar. Donate and discard items. Anything that there is a question about or doesn't immediately sell, box them up and store in the locker to be dealt with later. That will give you a blank canvas with which to work, painting flooring etc. goes easier and faster in an empty house. Also you don't have to worry about damage from the open house.

There are auction companies who will empty a house and sell what they can. They usually discard what's left and give you the cash less their commission for what sold. Not necessarily a good deal.

Some people remove from a house what they want to keep and then hold an estate sale, which is to say they leave the items in the house that are for sale and people come to buy. Similar to a tag sale, but usually higher priced. Also, someone has to babysit the sale all the time. There are companies that will do this for you, for a commission.

Your brother will be a big part of this, since he is local and you are not. So you might just have to trust that he will do the best job he can.
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