Go to your county and find out who is the recorded mortgage holder. In NJ I know that these are public records. You can also contact the county sheriff. It really depends on your situation and is it his home, or is it a home that he was renting. Have they foreclosed on the property or did they think that it was vacant and simply secured it. They should have some sort of posting on the door for any types of emergency.
Call a local real estate appraiser or have your local real estate agent come over to give you a market analysis of your home. Zillow is pretty accurate, but it does not take into consideration any type of updates or lack of updates in your home!
I agree consulting an estate attorney in this matter is the best course of action. You can do it without them, but it can cause resentment and lots of pain within the family. We have seen people fight over something as little as a family heirloom that the deceased collected over the years. This can all be mediated in court, but it is cheaper to settle out of court. I would offer the one sibling to buy the estate home from the rest of the siblings. Than you are done with the whole thing. If you cannot agree to price and stuff you may want to consider simply renting the home and using the income to pay for the taxes and insurance and upkeep on the home. You may be able to turn the estate around and make it more valuable in the long run if it is not something that you NEED to sell. Good luck!
You really should do your homework and check them out online. There are lots of great agents out there to sell your home. Social Media doesnt necessarily sell your home, but it is something that I post to for my clients. You also have to feel comfortable working with them. You are going to be tied to this person for the next 3-6 months. I like to personally build a relationship with my clients and I often keep in touch with them even after the transaction is over.
You can offer whatever you want to a buyers agent if they bring in a buyer! I would offer 2.5% which is about standard. You ultimately want to sell your home and if the agent brings in a potential buyer that you did not have than it should be worth it to pay them. Most agents work hard for their money. There is a lot that is involved in a transaction and I find that majority of the time when we sell a buy owner property that we end up working both sides because the seller has no representation. Remember that we have our clients best interest in mind. Make sure that you have a good real estate attorney to help you once you do have a contract.
The storage thing is a good idea, but it is only a rental and it is going to cut into your commissions too much. Just have the blunt conversation with the tenants, they are obviously moving out so just ask them to start getting rid of some of the belongings because you are having a hard time with getting qualified tenants because the home looks smaller than it is. have some of the other agents email you that showed it with the feed back if you dont want to be the bad guy.
Jeff Harris said it well. It is not mandatory to use an attorney in NJ. If you are purchasing in northern or central NJ it is almost customary to use an attorney. Your agent and mortgage lender can probably answer most of the questions that you may have, but I recently went through this where a client didnt use an attorney and the other side did. They were a bit overwhelmed with the attorney review portion of the transaction, which is important right now because a lot of homes are multi offer situations due to low inventory.
It is important that if you are going to list your home that you have someone that can effectively market a fixer upper. There are tons of them selling all over monmouth and ocean counties, because there is very low inventory right now. If you list it for an aggressive price there are often investors and first time buyers bidding against each other which will help drive up the price of your home. So you can not only sell your home quickly but often for a price that you may have wanted. If you have any additional questions feel free to ask!
I agree with Tim. You can check status on zillow, but if there are offers pending you will not know unless you make a call to a local realtor. The list agent will know the most about the property, but another agent will have your best interest in mind if you do decide that you like the home enough to put an offer in.
I normally would agree with the rest and say the spring, but because of the lack of inventory there is no better time than now. If you want to sell than list your home. During the holidays is when all of the serious buyers are out in the market. You are not going to get as many lookers. There are still a lot of buyers out there and if the interest rates go up than you could lose out on someone that may be able to afford the home now. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions for me.