Case Study – Real Estate Trustee
Nancy, who lives in Atlanta, Ga., was appointed real estate trustee for her aging aunt’s trust. The trust included her aunt’s personal property and a home in San Diego. When her aunt passed away, she was notified of the death by attorney Charles Scott and shortly afterward traveled to San Diego to begin the arduous process of assessing the condition of the house and poring through its contents. Prior to Nancy making a second trip to San Diego to handle duties related to her role as the real estate trustee, Mr. Scott recommended that she speak with Kim Ward to discuss the sale of the house.
Nancy and Kim met for an hour-long initial consultation in June 2011. During their meeting, Kim asked Nancy a number of insightful questions. She discovered that it was important to Nancy that the sale of the house be completed quickly, but she wanted to honor her responsibility as real estate trustee by obtaining the best possible price. The house was in need of extensive repairs. The interior was very dated and carried evidence of years of cigarette-smoking. Based on the condition of the property and with the knowledge of the value of comparable properties, it was determined that the house would be most likely to sell at a price between $249,000 and $279,000. During their discussion, Nancy disclosed that a neighbor had offered $265,000 for the property. Kim advised her that based on the marketplace, it was a fair price, so Nancy decided to sell the house to the neighbor on her own. Unfortunately, after two months, the neighbor still had not completed the purchase, so Nancy called Kim for help. After meeting at the property to discuss the next steps to take, Kim recommended that the carpet be removed to expose the hardwood floors and that the house be professionally cleaned. The expense was minimal, less than $400, and Nancy agreed this was the best course of action. They reviewed the asking price and listed the house on the market that day. The next day, Nancy returned home to Georgia. Kim’s first step was to organize a buyout of the remaining personal property and then to schedule the carpet removal and cleaning. She then began the process of marketing the house to buyers.
Kim was contacted by another real estate agent during the cleanup process. The neighbor had showed the house to an investor, who wanted to buy the house before it went on the market. Kim negotiated a cash offer at the high list price of $279,000. To be certain that the offer was the absolute highest and best that could be obtained for the estate the house was placed on the open market. Several more offers were received within days. Nancy determined that Kim had negotiated the best possible offer and accepted the first offer received. The property was sold AS-IS and escrow closed 21 days later. Nancy was very pleased with the ultimate result and because she chose to work with Kim, the process of selling the house was more lucrative and far easier than she ever imagined.