Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

Trusted Regina REALTOR® James Wruth Explains Selling A Deceased Family Member's Home

James Wruth is one of Regina’s most trusted and top-selling Realtors. A member of Remax Crown Real Estate since 2006, James works with families, individuals, investors, and developers in the purchase and sale of residential properties. Since 2006, James has been a consistent Top Producing Realtor, and he has been awarded numerous prestigious distinctions including Re/Max 100% Club distinction, Platinum Sales Award, and Remax Hall of Fame induction. James Wruth is a Trusted Regina Real Estate expert.

James Wruth Explains The Process When Selling The Home Of A Deceased Family Member

I believe that relationships are more important than transactions. I started a career in real estate in 2006, and since that time I have built a Regina real estate business around that philosophy. My goal is a personalized one-on-one service to fully understand you, your real estate goals, and to be 100% accountable to you. In my latest blog post, I explain the process of selling the home of a family member who has passed. 

What Is The Process Involved When Selling The Home Of A Deceased Family Member? 

Unfortunately, I am all too aware that the death of a relative is always a hard time for the family left behind. Not only do you have to navigate the emotional turmoil that is present when someone you love passes, but you may also have to deal with the inevitable real-world details – like liquidating assets and maybe even selling that person's home.

1. The Importance Of An Up To Date Will

If you think their properties will automatically pass to their descendants when they die, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise. If a homeowner dies without a will, or with a will that somehow fails to specify who the deceased’s property is meant for, what happens to the home becomes a provincial decision.

Each province has its own formula for distributing the deceased’s assets that takes priority over the dead person’s wishes.

When a person dies intestate, typically the family will act as administrator of the estate. Section 11 of The Administration of Estates Act lists the persons entitled to apply for Letters of Administration:
  • spouse; children & grandchildren;
  • parents;
  • siblings; nephews and nieces;
  • next of kin of equal degree of consanguinity;
  • creditors; and the official administrator.
Letters of Administration may not be required to deal with assets that are not part of the estate (Part II Assets) such as property jointly owned with the deceased at the date of death, assets with a named beneficiary or assets outside Saskatchewan. Letters of Administration will be required if the estate assets include real estate in order to conduct any land transactions with Information Service Corporation.

Selling a home after a relative dies is what’s known as an “estate sale.”

The term “estate sale” can often be interpreted in different ways. For instance, if you are not a Realtor, you might be thinking that an estate sale is an auction where furniture and other possessions are liquidated. Most real estate agents, on the other hand, think of an estate sale as selling a property for one of the heirs.


2. Transference of real estate after death.

So what happens when the home is going to be sold?

The first thing that needs to be done is to ensure the executor has been given authority to liquidate the real estate. There should be specific instructions in the will about selling the property.

First, look to see if the executor under the will was given power or authority over the real estate. If they were not given authority over the real estate, then the beneficiaries hold the authority and can sell the real estate without the executor’s consent.

Important note: 
If you are going to be selling an estate where there are more debts than assets, this is what’s called being insolvent. If this is your situation it is important NOT to pay any debts you don’t have to— If you pay some low-priority creditors, you could find you are personally liable for the amount you shouldn’t have paid out. For example, don’t pay the landscaper or the telephone bill. These should be paid by the executor once approved.

3. What Happens If there Is a Mortgage Outstanding?

A majority of Canadian homeowners don’t know what happens to their mortgages when they die. Only 28 per cent of respondents to a 2021 survey realize that their mortgage needs to be paid by the beneficiary who receives their properties. It does not disappear, unfortunately, although that’s exactly what 12 per cent of survey respondents think happens to a mortgage when a borrower dies.

Property owners, particularly investors, must also keep in mind the tax bills awaiting their surviving family members. The CRA treats a dead individual’s assets as if they were all sold on the day prior to his death, meaning capital gains taxes on non-primary residents need to be paid – even if the home is left to a beneficiary. Joint ownership of a property with a spouse can provide a clean and legal workaround; otherwise, those left behind will need to foot the bill. 

4. Collect all the necessary documents related to the home.

One of the least enjoyable, but most necessary, things that those left behind need to do is collect all required financial documents. Financial documents are essential for the distribution of the estate, including the home. Without all the necessary documents things become much more complicated.

You may have to search for a while to find everything you need. Often all documents won’t be in the same place. Sometimes people will stash them in hidden places. It is worth the time to search everywhere, including crawl spaces, the attic, and the garage, go through all the boxes and files, and even look under the mattress and drawers.

The documents you will want to gather may include:
  • Will – As explained - If there is a will, it will significantly simplify the distribution of the estate.
  • Receipts from bills – You will need to freeze your relative’s credit and contact all creditors, including the three major credit reporting agencies.
  • Investment documents – Your relative may have had stocks and/or bonds.
  • Insurance documents – There may be a policy from an employer, or one purchased privately.
  • Homeowner’s policy – Keep homeowner’s insurance up to date and increase coverage if necessary.
  • Bank account documentation – You want accurate information on all of your relative’s bank accounts.
  • Personal documents – If your relative had any personal documents, like journals, poetry, etc., you might like to have them at a later date for sentimental reasons.
Once you have gathered all the documents you know, you will need, shred everything else that has personal information on it. It is a common thing for identity thieves to use the social security numbers of the deceased. By eliminating all documents with the number on them, you make identity theft more difficult.

4. Change The Locks and Mail Delivery

When selling a home as an estate sale, it is essential you have complete control of the property. This includes changing the mail, so you receive it in a timely fashion, along with enhancing the home’s security. Keep in mind there are going to be folks who know about the death that took place and the fact the home may be vacant.

You will be surprised how many keys have been given out on a property over the years. Whether it is friends, relatives, the babysitter or various contractors who have done work. It is better to be safe than sorry.

5. Hire a Regina Realtor To Help You Get the Home Ready For Market

After you have processed all the personal possessions of your relative, you will be ready for the actual sale. At this point, you will go through much the same steps as any other home seller – although some minor differences may apply.

I have found that often when selling a home that was owned by an older relative, or a house that has been occupied for decades, there is extra work involved in prepping for sale. This can be one of the most challenging parts of selling a deceased parent's home. The house may be quite dated, including old wallpaper, decorations, carpet, paint, etc. It may also have damage that has gone unaddressed for a long time.

An experienced and reputable real estate agent will provide the best advice on what needs to be changed or repaired before you put the home on the market. If you want to get the best possible price, you may need to make some changes. The most common I see include:
  • Getting rid of old furniture/ window coverings
  • Removing wallpaper
  • Changing dated flooring and/or refinishing hardwood floors
  • Applying a fresh coat of paint
  • Eliminating all signs of pet ownership, like stains and other damage
  • Installing new fixtures and updating lighting
In addition to any changes you make to the home, you are going to want to clean it thoroughly. There is nothing more critical to the sale of a home than a proper cleaning. I may also suggest professionally staging the property if there is not enough appropriate furniture/belongings left after the cleanup. 

Once the home is prepared for buyers, then we can go ahead and list it. As long as you have made the home desirable based on the current Regina and Rea Real estate market, you should be able to sell it for a fair price.

A misunderstanding of what happens to a person’s property once they’ve died can cause extreme distress, both financial and emotional, for her surviving family members. So the best advice I can give is to have your will and paperwork in order as soon as you become a homeowner. In addition, you review your will on a regular basis to ensure it reflects your wishes. 

If you are looking for a Regina Realtor who works tirelessly on your behalf and always offers honest and candid advice, James will be an expert at your side. 

Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyers at MacKay & McLean Explain The Duty to Disclose

MacKay & McLean provides the professional services of a large Regina law firm, with the intimate attention of a small firm. The legal process can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. MacKay & McLean is with you every step of the way.

MacKay &  McLean are your TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS. In Mackay & Mclean's latest legal tip they provide helpful information on the duty to disclose in real estate transactions. 


MacKay & McLean Discusses the Duty to Disclose

Buying Regina and are property? Wonder what the obligation on the Seller is to, to be honest? This is called the duty to disclose. 

When buying property, the rule of thumb is caveat emptor or buyer beware.

For this reason, many buyers obtain a home inspection. However, a home inspection may be a double edge sword, as it can negate potential title insurance claims.

The Seller has a duty to disclose latent defects or defects that are not readily observable. Observable defects are generally referred to as ‘patent’ defects. The problem here is that Sellers disputing the claim often claim that they were ‘unaware’ of the defect. This may permit them to escape liability. It is difficult to establish what they did or did not know.

For practical reasons this relegates many to investing in the fix rather than in a law suit.

The failure to disclose a latent defect may entitle a Buyer to collapse a transaction, have it set aside or damages. Please consult a lawyer with respect to your specific situation.

The Property Condition Disclosure Statements that are often included in transactions are somewhat helpful, in that they at least provide some record of the representations made with respect to the property. The MLS listing or web site advertisement, if bought privately, is also very helpful. Lastly, if you are relying on some specific representation, e.g. the ability to build a garage on the property or that the jacuzzi tub works, then make it a term of the contract.

Please contact MacKay & McLean for a free consultation and to discuss any concerns or answer questions you have on real estate and property law 

Read all of our Regina Real Estate Law articles here 

Buying, Selling or Refinancing Real Estate Property in Regina and area, or need general legal advice?

Being a small Regina, SK firm, the lawyers of MacKay & McLean give personal, professional attention to each of our clients, thus maximizing results while minimizing cost. Our lawyers and front office staff take the time to talk to you so that you are comfortable with the process. More importantly, we take the time to listen to you.

Robert Mackay and the team at Mackay & McLean offer a variety of legal services and are able to represent you in a variety of situations that require counsel. In addition, they offer a free initial consultation. Trusted Regina Lawyers, based in Regina Saskatchewan,  specializing in real estatecriminalpersonal injurycommercial & family law.

 

See more legal tips from Mackay & McLean here 

MacKay &  McLean are your TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS


Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer shares some insight on the potential future of the Canadian Housing Market.

MacKay & McLean provides the professional services of a large Regina law firm, with the intimate attention of a small firm. The legal process can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. MacKay & McLean is with you every step of the way.

MacKay &  McLean are TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS

When looking to buy, sell, or refinance a property, you need to hire somebody who is not a stranger to addressing the real estate needs of individuals and families. 


Canadian Home Prices Could Drop as Much as 5% Due to Coronavirus


Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer Robert MacKay shares some insight on the potential future of the Canadian Housing market.

Canadian home prices could fall a “relatively modest” five per cent by July as some owners are forced to sell in the face of the economic hardship brought on by COVID-19, Capital Economics said Monday.

While sales activity and price gains were firm in the first half of March, real estate boards from across the country are reporting a near halt in activity as government shutdowns and physical distancing have people staying home.


As April unfolded, it became innately clear that COVID-19 had already impacted the local housing market, with Toronto home prices declining for the first time in nearly two years.

But the pandemic isn’t just going to have an impact on a local level but on a national level as well, with some experts already predicting that Canadian home prices could fall in the months to come.

Capital Economics said Canada’s house price inflation accelerated to a nearly two-year high in March, but given the disruption already caused by the coronavirus outbreak, prices are set to decrease in the coming months.

Capital Economics senior Canada economist Stephen Brown said April will see “an even steeper fall” in sales activity to a “small fraction of their normal levels.”

“New listings also fell sharply in March, which meant the sales-to-new listing ratio continued to point to strong house price inflation ahead,” said Brown, however, he said 

“given the huge rise in unemployment and the cashflow problems that restrictions on tourism have caused investors in the short-term rental market, it seems likely that there will be some forced sellers in the coming months. Those sellers will inevitably have to accept lower bids from the few people willing to buy in the current environment.”  said Brown.


Last week, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported a 14 per cent drop in sales volume from February to March. New listings were down 12.5 per cent from February, while average prices were flat month-over-month and up 12.5 per cent year-over-year.


That dynamic has Capital Economics “penciling in a relatively modest fall in house prices of five per cent in the coming few months.”


Source: Greg Bonnell - BNN Bloomberg - April 20 2020 - https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/home-prices-could-fall-5-amid-pandemic-capital-economics-1.1424090 
Source: Ainsley Smith - Toronto Storeys - April 20 2020 - https://torontostoreys.com/canada-home-prices-coronavirus-decline/


For more questions and help with any legal property issues consult with our Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer Robert MacKay


More consumer tips by Robert MacKay: 



Robert MacKay's team provides professional, personalized service and with their assistance, you can rest assured that your real estate transactions will be handled with the utmost consideration and care.

They  provide a full range of legal services including:

  • Real Estate & Mortgages
  • Wills & Estates
  • Family Law & Divorce
  • Commercial & Corporate Law
  • Litigation & Personal Injury

ROBERT Mackay is your TRUSTED REGINA REAL ESTATE LAWYER!



Trusted Regina Realty Lawyer shares a tip for home buyers on how to avoid real estate mistakes

MacKay & McLean provides the professional services of a large Regina law firm, with the intimate attention of a small firm. The legal process can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. MacKay & McLean is with you every step of the way.

MacKay &  McLean are TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS

When looking to buy, sell, or refinance a property, you need to hire somebody who is not a stranger to addressing the real estate needs of individuals and families. 

How to avoid realty mistakes

If you are selling or Investing in a home can be overwhelming and stressful. It is, perhaps, one of the most important decisions you will ever need to make.  It is fraught with potential pitfalls and you must do everything you can to avoid making costly mistakes. the following is list of the biggest mistakes we all make when buying and selling our homes.


Failing to Showcase Your Home and Making Small Cosmetic Changes

When you are selling your house, you have to really look at it objectively and think about it from the viewpoint of the house hunter. Make minor enhancements to the house and maybe hire a professional stager to come and arrange your furniture. 

Staging is about decorating your house for the buyers' taste, not yours.

 A great place to start is with the front of the home and the main entryway. Home staging is designed to increase the potential selling price and reduce the amount of time the house stays on the market.


Setting Too High of a Sale Price

As a seller, it's really important to do your research. To come up with your sale price, look up what comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for. Figure out what the going price is and try to put yours right in the middle of that, unless you have something extra-special to offer. It's always better to price a home that way than to start too high and have to reduce. Once you reduce, it always looks like something is wrong with the home.


 
Overlooking the Extra and Hidden Costs
  
Buying a home is not just about the money that you spend upfront; it's  about all the rest of the money you have to spend beyond that. Find out what the property taxes are, what your water bill might be and what a standard electric bill is in that home, especially if you have electric heat instead of gas heat. You also need to factor in furnishings you may need to purchase before you can move in.



Buying a Home Without a Professional Inspection

There are a lot of things a home inspection can reveal about a property that are not visible to the naked eye. Be sure to hire someone who comes with a good referral basis, who's been in the business a while and knows what to look for. Look up  Home Inspectors and get a list of qualified home inspectors in your area. 


Be sure to hire a home inspector to thoroughly check out a house you are interested in purchasing.

Once you find an inspector, insist that they compile a written report, complete with photos. Photographs are important because there are areas a home inspector will go that you might not look at.

Falling in Love With the First Property You See

Many homebuyers, particularly first-time homebuyers, fall into the trap of falling in love with the very first house that they see. You need to at least look at three more houses in the area to get an idea of what the comparables are in that price range. You want your real estate agent to show you homes comparable to what you saw. At the end of the day, re-evaluate.

Skipping the Loan Pre-Approval Step

When you are pre-approved, the bank is saying, "we will give you a mortgage of up to this amount, so now all you have to do is find your home." Some sellers only allow real estate agents to show their house if someone has a pre-approved letter. That indicates that the shopper really is serious about buying a home.

Not Hiring an Agent

There's a lot more to selling a house than just putting a sign on the front lawn. If you don't have an agent, you will not get on the multiple-listing service (MLS). That means that other agents are not going to know that your property is for sale. Another thing to consider is if you are willing to show the house each time someone wants to come by and look at it. If you do plan to sell your house on your own, be sure to have a lawyer present at the closing. It's really important to have someone on your side who understands all the complexities.


Not Thinking About Resale

When you are decorating and renovating your home, you need to think about what is going to appeal to a broad section of buyers when it comes time to sell it. Buying houses and being in the real estate market is like chess: You always want to look two or three steps ahead in the game.

Not Researching the Neighborhood

It's absolutely critical that you research the neighborhood before you buy. Check out the area, amenities and the school system to be sure that your address corresponds with the correct school district. Also attend a community meeting, if possible. You're not just buying a house, you're buying a piece of that real estate and the land around it.

Buying a House for Its Decor

Remember that you are buying the house, not the things inside it, so make sure you see beyond the decorations and look at the bones of the home. Focus on the floor plan and the square footage. You also might want to measure the dimensions and graph out how that's going to work with your belongings.

Not Providing Easy Access for Showings

Make your house easily accessible to potential buyers. If there's nowhere to park or it's difficult to get into, buyers may just skip it and look at someone else's property.

When you go about buying your home the right way, you can make it less difficult and ensure success. For more questions and help with any legal property issues consult with our Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer Robert MacKay

Here is a list of more consumer tips by Robert MacKay 


Robert MacKay's team provides professional, personalized service and with their assistance, you can rest assured that your real estate transactions will be handled with the utmost consideration and care.

They  provide a full range of legal services including:

  • Real Estate & Mortgages
  • Wills & Estates
  • Family Law & Divorce
  • Commercial & Corporate Law
  • Litigation & Personal Injury

ROBERT Mackay is your TRUSTED REGINA REAL ESTATE LAWYER!


Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer shares TIP'S ON AVOIDING REAL ESTATE SCAMS

When looking to buy, sell, or refinance a property, you need to hire somebody who is not a stranger to addressing the real estate needs of individuals and families. Robert MacKay is the man to call. ROBERT MacKay is your TRUSTED REGINA REAL ESTATE LAWYER!

Buying a home can be a stressful but exciting time. Robert Mackay,  our Trusted Real Estate lawyer cautions about some potential scams when buying your home! 

Real estate fraud can cause you to have large financial losses. If you are a victim of real estate fraud you may find out that you no longer own your home or that there have been additional mortgages taken out in your name.

There are two main types of real estate fraud that may result in financial loss: 

Title Fraud 

Title fraud happens when the title to your home is stolen, and then the fraudster sells the home or applies for a new mortgage against it. Title fraud usually starts with identity theft, which can happen if somebody steals your personal information.

"Title insurance" is the best protection against this type of fraud. As well as protecting against title fraud, it also guards a new owner from against existing liens against a property's title (such as unpaid debts from utilities, mortgages and unpaid property taxes), encroachment issues (a structure on a property needs to be removed because it is on your neighbor's property) and errors in surveys and public records.


Foreclosure Fraud 

Foreclosure fraud usually happens when you are having problems making your mortgage payments. You may be tricked into transferring your property title to somebody to get a loan that will help you make your payments. Fraudsters usually keep the payments you make and also possess the title to your home, which they can resell or remortgage.

Two common scams that exploit a victim's need for cash are foreclosure fraud and home-equity fraud.

Cash-crunched property owners or investors seeking can be vulnerable to other scams or unscrupulous behavior to tap equity. There is always risk when leveraging properties, but a legitimate bank, broker or private lender should be forthright when explaining risks. However, those looking to borrow on equity should be alert for less scrupulous lenders, such as those who invite owners to embellish their application by exaggerating income, down payment or property assessment value sources in order to secure a larger loan.


Other types of scams you should be aware of include