How to deal with selling an estate home

Selling a family home after a parent dies can be an emotional time. Some heirs may be in a hurry to dispose of the property and move on. However, selling a property owned by an estate isn’t a quick or easy process. You’re not going to list the home the next day.

Being left with the responsibility of selling a loved one’s home either pre-estate (after they’ve moved to a retirement home or care facility) or after their death can be daunting. The demographic in our neighbourhood lends itself to such transactions so it is imperative you deal with a realtor who has experience with this type of transaction as it is not necessarily a simple process.

What is an estate sale and how does it work?

An estate sale is the sale of a property with the purpose of liquidating the home and all assets in it. While there could be any number of reasons to liquidate the property to free up cash, an estate sale usually happens when the owner passes away. Those who inherit the property will receive the proceeds from the sale, and probate is required in Ontario for most estates.


In Ontario, an estate trustee is the only person with the legal authority to manage or distribute an estate. Probate is a procedure to ask the court to give a person the authority to act as the estate trustee or confirm the authority of a person named as the estate trustee in the deceased’s will.

Probate is required for estates in Ontario. In a few, relatively rare cases, the requirement to probate is waived or avoided by pre-death planning. If the estate includes real estate that does not automatically vest in someone like the spouse of the deceased, then probate will almost always be required. Properties can be listed any time during probate, but the listing agent should be aware of the delay due to probate.

How long does it take?

Right now, the courts are experiencing a backlog in processing applications for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (Executor). We are currently seeing process times up to 12-14 weeks at some local courts. Overall, generally it can take several months to probate an estate.

Listings for estate sales typically stipulate that the property is being sold in “as is” condition, meaning the home likely has not been updated in a while and may need some improvements and there are no guarantees, however this may not always be the case.

Downsizing and estate services I provide include:

• A professional marketing plan and oversights

• Benefit of my trusted service providers (lawyers, estate contents sellers, cleaners, packing, garbage disposal and donations)

• Helping manage the disposition, appraisal or sale of any assets in the home.

Call or email me to discuss your personal situation.

Our latest real estate column features Patrick Rocca, Broker, Bosley Real Estate and a Leaside resident,  offering his unique take on housing in the community. Visit him at


Leaside and Bennington Real Estate Statistics as of January 31, 2020

Leaside and Bennington Real Estate Statistics as of January 31, 2020