OPINION: realtor vs attorney

My mother-in-law recently went into a nursing home. We need to sell the house. There is a prospective buyer. Would we be better off going through a realtor or finding an attorney? None of us have done this before.

“Are you selling a house with a non-cooperative partner? … If you answered yes to any of the above questions then hiring an attorney to guide you through the process would definitely be beneficial.”

edit: incidentally, i came to this thread hoping it was some kind of death-match thing.

I think the advantage of an agent is they would know the local market and be able to advise you whether or not you’re getting a fair price, but if you already have a buyer and everyone (at least among the kids) feels like it’s fair then maybe that’s not much of an issue. A real estate attorney might be able to tell you the same thing, and you might need an attorney anyway (when I bought my house the agent took me to an attorney for the closing), so you might be able to save some time and money by just going straight to the attorney.

But I wouldn’t think the attorney would have as good of grasp of the selling price in the area.

So sorry to disappoint you.

a realtor helps you with the market. an attorney would help you navigate the paperwork. if there are no wrinkles to the paperwork, so that the realtor can use standard forms, then you don’t need an attorney. however, i imagine selling on behalf of someone else who may not be fully aware and coherent introduces some wrinkling.

I have POA. After talking to a free attorney for seniors this afternoon, I’m calling a realtor tomorrow. I want this house gone before the money’s gone because Medicaid is really tricky.

what will happen to the money from the sale?

If we get the house sold before her current money is gone, it will just go in her checking account and we’ll keep paying the nursing home monthly. ($10,300 a month.) It won’t take long to run out. Then she’d go on Medicaid and it should be pretty straightforward.

what happens if the house doesn’t get sold before the money runs out?

It is my understanding that Medicare will put a lien against the house. MIL’s bills get paid, no worries, but when the house sells, they get their part.

Medicaid, not Medicare. That’s not the way it was explained to us today. That sounds reasonable. We were told that we could choose not to pay the utilities, taxes, et cetera, and let the house go into foreclosure. That sounds really dumb. I’m just about to pay $200 for a half hour with a Medicaid attorney and ask some questions.

but how does medicaid affect the decision not to pay bills? if nobody is going to live in the house, sure, sell it now, but isn’t that true regardless of whether medicaid is involved?

Yes, but we have a closer deadline than I was aware of. None of us thought about how the utilities and so on get paid before the house is sold and she runs out of money. Actually, I think we thought it was like we pay and get reimbursed when the house sells. I still think there’s something like that. When she’s down to $1500, that’s when you apply for Medicaid. Actually, I think you do before that.

I’m babbling. I’m so tired of this. I think I need an appointment with a Medicaid attorney.