Realtor offering to run estate sale for parents' belongings

We are moving our parents into assisted living this month.  They have a large rundown house full of a lifetime's worth of furniture and junk.  One realtor offered to run the estate sale, haul the junk, and pay the contractor to fix things up, with the idea that they will recoup their investment in a higher sale value.  This would take a big burden off of us, but it also sounds too good to be true.  Is it a good deal?  What should we be looking out for?

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I would not make it a deciding factor in which realtor you select to represent you in the house sale, but if the one you select happens to provide the junk disposal/estate sale service, I personally would take them up on it. Cleaning out someone's house when they go to assisted living is no fun. (speaking as an adult child with way too many elderly relatives with way too much stuff)  As to who hires and pays the contractor to fix up stuff before sale, I believe it is standard for the seller/owner to pay but maybe that has changed in this crazy market - maybe to get listings, realtors are willing to take that on?

Totally depends on what you value. You're not going to make money off of it if you go through the real estate agent. My parents went through something similar with an estate sale company and and after all was said and done made something like $400. But they didn't want to deal with it so it was a good deal for them. Since your agent would be taking a cut I guess they would take it from the sales? Maybe your parents had more valuable things than my grandpa so you'd make more? Either way, if you don't want to do it and you don't need the money then it is a great deal no matter the outcome. Good luck! 

I agree with the previous responder. If you're happy with this agent and want to for sure work with them then... GREAT! It's NOT too good to be true at all. But. Do know that you are lucking out - big time! As an agent myself, I know that many of us will go to great lengths to get a listing (in this environment, getting a listing is something of a guaranteed paycheck for us while working with buyers is NOT) but most of us couldn't afford to undertake that kind of time/financial risk. I'm actually very surprised when I see so many agents take on a listing and sell it "as is" for so much less than it could've gone for with a little fixing up. I've only been doing this work for a few years now, so maybe there's something that I don't yet understand about that strategy/way of thinking, but... Why would anyone NOT spend the money to fix up such a property when it means getting hundreds of thousands of dollars MORE for your seller???? In the Bay Area that seems like a no-brainer. Good for you for finding this gem of an agent!

~Mailisha 

Hi, 

 I have a lot of experience in real estate and recommend you do the following before you make any decisions:

1. Shop around - reach out to a few other agents (look online) and ask them what they would take on vs not in your situation. 
     - Look at their previous experiences and see if they have any experience in taking on something like this. 
     - Ask for references or at least look online to see if there are any comments or feedback from other clients.
     - Understand what they would be 'charging' or want in compensation for this additional work, e.g., a higher commission on the sale price, etc.
2. Contact a few estate sale companies to see under what services they would offer in your situation, get an estimated price/quotes, etc.
3. Some questions to ask:
    - How the house and its contents would sell for in their current state vs. sale price after fixing and upgrading. 
    - What is being recommended to fix and renovate and how much would it cost? 
    - A good paint job, plus upgrading the bathroom and the kitchen can go a long way towards resale value if done properly.
5. Regardless of which direction you go, make sure you have a proper contract and agreement that clearly spells out what is covered vs. not covered.
 

I just spent months and months and a lot of money and heartache trying to organize the estate sale, junk hauling, and fix up and staging of my parents’ run down place full of artwork, collections, and 80 years worth of momentos. The scrapbooks alone easily took a month to go through! I would recommend you take that realtor up on their offer! It does sound too good to be true but in this market this may be the norm. Just make sure you know up front what any costs will be to you or the estate. Good luck. It’s not easy…

We recently bought a house from someone who used their realtor to haul and hire a contractor. The "contractor" clearly had no idea what he was doing and made a series of errors that we, as buyers were then left with. Some of these were minor but some were seriously dangerous and illegal (e.g. gas line was installed almost humorously improperly and was leaking gas into the walls). We went back to the selling agent and actually threatened to sue her and the buyers if they didn't reimburse us for getting everything done correctly by a licensed GC. It seemed the buyers didn't have any idea just how egregious the agent and handyman were and they simply trusted the agent to do good work. If I were you, I'd ask the realtor who he/she is planning on hiring and what their qualifications are. Good luck!

If the realtor is willing to do the work and front the money for a contractor you are entering into a business partnership with the realtor.  In my Experience working with realtors they come first when it comes to money and are expecting a huge return on their investment.  This could go well for you or terribly wrong and you could lose out.  Have you talked to other realtors?  How important is the money to you?  Do you have the time, money or energy to do this on your own?  From your post it sounds as if you are naive and could easily taken advantage of.  If you do go into partnership with the realtor, make sure you have a contract which spells out what the realtor is going to do, invest and going to make.  Do you know if the realtor has done this with other clients?  Any idea how it turned out?  The market is crazy right now.  Million dollar homes are selling for $400-500K over asking.

Hope this helps... best of luck.

 

Hello! I actually think this is pretty common. Usually how it works if the person doing to sale takes a percentage of the sales. Are they doing that or just wrapping it into the sale of the house?