How long should parent be in a care home before you sell their house?

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A lot of this depends on what the goal is. If you want to sell the house for funding mom's care in the far away future that is quite different than selling it to pay for next month's AL bill. So why sell & why now?

Whatever the case, someone besides mom will need to sign off on all things house, so someone needs to be DPOA and it needs to read within the document the ability for all & any financial issues. If there is no DPOA done, that is what needs to happen first & foremost while mom is still in AL and can seem to be competent to do the DPOA, MPOA and perhaps even sign off on the condition report on the property document and the listing agreement. You don't want to have an issue with mom having to go to closing and she flat won't sign off. Major unhappiness all around if that happens.

You can contact a couple of Realtors to get all this started even if you still need to meet with attorney to do the POA's. Realtors will be on an MLS service and can produce a book for you with what they think the property will sell for and along with comps. They do this for free and easily too. If you drive around the neighborhood (do this with your kids or a friend) take notes of Realtor signs. Also go on-line for this, although they tend to be skewed to the larger nationwide Realtor companies. Probably there will be 2 or 3 who's names come up the most - they are the ones who likely do most of the closing in your mom's neighborhood. I would ask what their DOM is for residential for the last 3 years. Days on Market. And also how many listings last year and how many closings. Both will give you an idea of how aggressive & realistic a Realtor they are.

There is probably going to be a property assessment form in which you check off issues with the property; details on appliances; when stuff replaced (like last roofing job). If you are the one to deal with this, check off UNKNOWN every time. Realtor may balk at you doing this too. But it places the issue of whatever comes up on the buyer to find out and deal with.

If the house is still filled with old lady stuff and looks dated, it is going to be a tough sell unless you sell it for cheap or it can be a teardown. Buyers just expect homes to have granite countertops, rainfall shower heads and be bright & cleverly staged. The whole H&G TV effect.
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If she has a Life Tenant status, she has to be out of there at least six months. Life Tenancy can complicate the sale.
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From you profile it says that your Mother is in assistant living due to memory issues. Did your Mother tell you what she wants done with her home? If the house is empty [meaning no one is currently living there] the house still needs to be maintained by someone... with winter approaching the heat needs to be on, the property taxes paid, the exterior kept up, etc.

Who has financial power of attorney for your Mother? If you have this POA, you can decide what is the right time to sell. If the house hasn't been cared for, sell it *as is* at a lower price so it will sell quickly, and one less thing to worry about.
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