The buyer is in a twilight zone.

Real Estate Broker/Owner CA#01772851 HI#RB21268

So sad for the family when someone passes away and the last thing they most probably think about is informing the listing agent of the fact. This is where I am right now with clients who want to sell their property and with whom I have a listing.

So what happens when the listing agent gets an offer on the property at this sad time?

It would not be complicated if a husband and wife owned the property jointly, but several relatives are on the deed. On the upside, if there can be one at this time, the deceased seller has a Living Trust so we are not looking at Probate.

To start, the offeror, or buyer, needs to be informed that the situation has changed and the sellers need a little more time to sort things out legally.

In this case, the buyer is very understanding and is willing to be patient.

On the other hand, from the buyer's point of view, he has no signed contract and things could change, mainly that other offers come in or the sellers (or one of them) change their minds and don't want to sell.

This too shall pass and it will be resolved, however, right now...

The buyer is in a twilight zone!


Posted by

Hella Rothwell at Carmel Beach during Concours WeekCarmel-by-the-Sea Beach and Pebble Beach Golf Course California

Whether buying or selling oceanfront, oceanview, commercial or any type of real estate in Carmel, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, Monterey, Carmel Valley and Big Sur, I can help you. Call me and let's meet in my Carmel-by-the-Sea office in Su Vecino Court on Dolores between 5th & 6th.

Or we can just chat on the phone to discuss your real estate needs.

Are you out of the area? No problem, I often never even meet my clients. The whole transaction is handled long distance.

As an independent real estate broker licensed in California and Hawaii, I can represent you with residential real estate, commercial properties & investment opportunities.

For more information &


Member: National Association of REALTORS, California Association of REALTORS, Hawaii Association of REALTORS, Del Norte Association of REALTORS, Honolulu Board of REALTORS. Also MLS Listings in California.


Hella Mitschke Rothwell (R)

Real Estate Broker/Owner/Realtor®
Licensed in California #01772851 & Hawaii #RB-21268

Tel. 831-626-4000 

Fax 1-877-822-9332

ROTHWELL REALTY INC.: Su Vecino Court, Lincoln & Dolores between 5th & 6th, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921


MAILING: P.O. Box 4554, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921


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William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

That can complicate things.  I have on e client with his feet on banana peels.   So I am working already on some of these issue  just in case.

Feb 16, 2018 08:19 AM #1
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Yes, it is a time for uncertainty, however, with a knowledgeable agent such as yourself, things will be smoother. A

Feb 16, 2018 08:25 AM #2
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®, definitely a difficult situation to be in. Hope everything will go smooth. 

Feb 16, 2018 08:43 AM #3
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Yes, these are difficult transactions to manage. So much you can't say, but advising that they need legal counsel is important. I know you are the agent with the savvy and heart to get this done for them. 

Feb 16, 2018 08:45 AM #4
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hello Hella: If the seller has a living trust, then your listing is with that trust, right? Still, conking out in the middle of negotiations makes it very stressful on the survivors. I'd say good luck with this but I also know you have a ton of patience and compassion, so it will work out in its own time.

Feb 16, 2018 08:45 AM #5
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Wow Hella, What a sad situation for sure but you will work it out with everyone.

Feb 16, 2018 09:14 AM #6
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate!

Hella it does complicate issues but normally all of ours have turned out fine, in time. Good luck to the buyers.  It's not an easy time for the sellers so giving them patience at this point is the best decision.

Feb 16, 2018 09:18 AM #7
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I had a similar thing occur a couple of years back.  I ended up dealing with 4 brothers and sisters.  Not all got along, and that was somewhat of an issue.  They were also in 3 different counties, and not all used computers.  I put a lot of miles on my car with that transaction.

Feb 16, 2018 05:13 PM #8
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Hella, I am 100% confident that you will get all matters taken care of that need to be taken care of in order to sell the property.  

Feb 16, 2018 06:26 PM #9
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Hella. This is always sad and very difficult to handle. A soft touch helps but your advice is on the money too.

Feb 17, 2018 06:05 AM #10
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hella- years ago I did a staging for a lovely lady. She and her husband were looking forward to building their dream home. Sadly, their agent called to tell me that they'd had an offer but the husband had died suddenly while out of town. So very sad. 

Feb 17, 2018 09:36 AM #11
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Hella, OH MY, have not had this happened yet, but sure you will have it sorted out soon.

Feb 18, 2018 11:00 AM #12
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Hella - that can certainly complicate things for the buyer.

Feb 19, 2018 08:14 AM #13
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Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®

Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea
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