I need to sell my mother's home as she is in a nursing home and on medical assistance, any advice?


This home is in need of alot of fixing up and is considered a handy man special. It would never sell for the value of the other homes around it. How do I buy this so it is all on the up and up? Do I get appraisers to come in and estimate its value? Do I need more than one due to being family buying this home? Do I need consent from the state to purchase this for a certain amount? Looking to do it soon as the taxes are due on it and I don't want to pay them if I cannot buy the house.

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Page, I only want to address this statement:

"... I just didnt know how to go about everything legally I guess I will definitely have to contact a lawyer as it could go into sheriffs sale soon as her and my dad, who just recently passed away, did not pay the taxes on it Thanks for your responses"

If it's close to a sheriff's sale, it must have already gone through foreclosure. For how many years were the taxes not paid? What's the statutory provision in your state? If you wanted to buy it, could you afford to redeem it and pay the back taxes as well?

E.g., in my state, taxes would have to be delinquent for 3 years to be subject to a tax sale. Typically the county would buy it; in my city, the county sold it to the city, which then was stuck with a nonperforming parcel of land with a house that likely hadn't been maintained. Interest and penalties would raise the price of redemption.

Please do get information on that aspect, as it will definitely be factored into the price.
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Page - my suggestion is you try to buy it at tax sale.
If she is kinda beyond the point of being cognitive to even do a DPOA, then to take charge of the situation it probably means becoming her guardian. Guardianship requires an atty and a court process. Could run 5k -10k. It has required reporting and your buying the house will not be allowed as it’s looked at as “self dealing” & there would need to be inspection and appraisal done. Guardianship costs plus all costs on the house will be quite the sum. Vacant dwelling insurance will be expensive if you can even get it. 

Tax sale will be less $ but runs more risk and takes time. I’m assuming that by “sheriffs sale” your referring to a delinquent property tax sale,so there’s a list of properties with delinquent taxes and a sale set, done by tax collector or sheriffs dept. I’d suggest you clearly find out what the Tax Sale & redemption system is for your state as that will set the sequence that HAS TO be followed to be able to get it transferred to your name via a Tax Deed.

I’ve acquired tax liens, it’s not quite as simple as it seems folks think. Some states have a 3 yr system (MS) and you have to be holding year 1 tax lien to be in position to claim the redemption 30 days after the redemption property list is printed in the paper 3 years later. So for that system you have to successfully bid to get each years lien, so you hold all years when you file redemption. That means have the time, $ & ability to get your bid be the one.

Some tax sales allow for “special circumstances” call out, so when the parcel comes up you immediately call out special circumstances and state that it’s family property. Usually other bidders let you have it (so it’s the lowest cost as it’s just delinquent taxes & fees). But it’s not guaranteed.

Other states have a year & a day redemption. Others have it so convoluted (TX & Louisiana) that actually getting property is a crap shoot. Some counties are doing online tax sales so bidders from anywhere can bid as opposed to being at the courthouse to bid. At the courthouse system - to me- puts an individual at an advantage; online puts big syndicate bidders at advantage. The lower down in the alphabet the better your chances to get property for courthouse bids. Whatever the system usually you have to put a cash deposit (like taxes plus add 30% in case there’s a bid war) at tax collectors office in advance of sale so you get a bid # and have filled out bidder profile and tax forms. (This is about money laundering & if you put up more than 10k there will be another set of paperwork).  Tax collector hold any excess $ for maybe 3 weeks and sends a check for excess. You get a tax lien usually a month after the entire sale ends. 

After you get the tax deed in order to be assured of clear title & deal with liens on the property, you do a Quiet Title Action. Quiet takes about 4-6 months as it has required notices in the paper. Meanwhile you do things to property to show ownership, like put up a fence. Anyone who challenges Quiet has to file a response with documentation and go to court to show why they should be owner. You need an atty who knows Quiet as it’s specialized legal filing. Not really expensive ($1000-$1500) but more a very sequential legal actions done by an real estate atty. You do not have to do a Quiet, but if you ever want to get any lending on the property or use it as collateral, banks are skittish on lending on Tax Deed property. 

Also realize that right now the tax bill will be low as there’s probably over 65 & homestead exemptions on the property. If she should die before you get tax deed, the year that she dies and afterwards the taxes will jump up astronomically. And you’ll be stuck with higher taxes till you get your own homestead exemption on it. 

Doing tax sales can be worth it but you have to be patient and be ok on risk. 
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Given her dementia and other brain issues, is she mentally competent to make this business decision about the sale of her house and thus sign the paperwork?
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I am not her POA . I am her only living relative and I am the only one capable of helping her sell it as it has to be sold due to her being in the nursing home. She has dementia and other brain issues as well as physical disabilities. I have no problem handing the profit over to the state as they are the ones now paying for her care. It was more of a pride thing that I wanted to fix the house up. I do know the issues I would be getting involved in as it is would be a total gut. It is my childhood house and there is some sentimental value to it. I just didnt know how to go about everything legally I guess I will definitely have to contact a lawyer as it could go into sheriffs sale soon as her and my dad, who just recently passed away, did not pay the taxes on it Thanks for your responses
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We are in this same process now. My parents’ house needed a lot of work also and with Medicaid approval is being sold for below the appraisal price to someone who is going to flip the house and then rent it out. After the sale the proceeds will be split evenly between my parents who are both in a nursing home. They will be deemed ineligible for Medicaid at that time and do private pay until their money runs out at which time they will have to reapply again. They are allowed to keep $4000 from the sale of the house. Check with Medicaid about all this as each state does this a little differently.
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Page, first thing you do is get a licensed real estate Appraiser to give you the value of the house. She/he will set the value at the current condition. You should only need one Appraiser. If you need to obtain a mortgage, then the bank will also send out their appraiser.

As for purchasing your Mother's house, I would recommend that you make an appointment with an "Elder Law Attorney" who specializes in everything elderly, and understands the maze called Medicaid, as to what he/she would recommend before you do anything with the house.

If the Attorney gives the go ahead.... purchasing an "as is" house, you can have a Home Inspection for "information purposes only", I highly recommend that as there can be hidden issues that aren't readily noticed. Such as a crack in the furnace which means you would need to put in a brand new heating system. Depending on the age of the house, the electrical wiring might need to be updated, same with the plumbing. There may be roof leaks in the attic. Foundation cracks in the basement. Windows that no longer work.

If the house is on a well and septic system, highly recommended that both be tested. One has to make sure the septic tank and field can handle everything. You may want to have the tank emptied. One house I had, we emptied it once a year.

You may find after all the inspections that there are too many things to deal with, or the "as is" items are an easy fix. Any equity from the sale of the house needs to go for Mother's care. Mom then would be self-pay with Medicaid being put on-hold until Mom's funds start to run low, then Medicaid will kick in again.
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First of all, you must have the legal authority to sell her house. Are you her durable POA?

I'm not sure that you can act as your mother's agent and as the buyer at the same time. I think that would be a conflict of interest. A better idea might be to sell the house as is with the help of a real estate agent with the profit going solely for your mother's care.
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