How To Sell A Home or House in Probate | By Jory Blake CPRES Realtor

How To Sell A Home Or Any Property In Probate

Author- Jory Blake

Author – Jeff Petmecky

How To Sell A Home or House in Probate

What is a Probate Sale?

A home is sold in probate court when someone dies intestate.  This means the person has died without bequeathing their property or stating what to do with the property now that the owner is no longer with us.  When this happens, the court system takes over and administers the property’s sale. The court wants to be certain the property is marketed and sold at the best possible price.  The good news for the heirs or other people involved in settling these matters is that the cost of a real estate probate sale is generally no different than the costs involved when selling a regular piece of real estate.

How To Sell A Home or House in Probate | Selling Mom or Dad’s House

What are the differences when selling a home in probate?

How To Sell A Home Or Any Property In Probate

Exemptions:  In the state of California, there are a few disclosure exemptions that one isn’t required to provide when selling the probate home.  These exemptions include but aren’t limited to: Natural Hazards Report, Transfer Disclosure Statements, and Mello Roos Disclosures. The state Earthquake guide is also exempt. Another difference when selling a single family residence in probate is the smoke detector disclosure. It is no longer required,

Court Case Disclosure: One item that is required that is not used in a standard sale is the court case disclosure.  This disclosure identifies the court case #, and identifies the court appointed representative to oversee the sale.  It also identifies the type of probate case: Estate, Conservatorship, or Guardianship.

Is Court Confirmation Needed: This is a key item that must be known.  Court Confirmation states what type of authority the court appointed representative has.  If the court needs confirmation, the appointed representative is said to have “limited authority”. He or she must get final authority from the court to sell the property and finish the transaction.  If the court doesn’t need confirmation, the appointed representative has “full authority”. This means the representation can make all decisions necessary to complete the sale.

How To Sell A Home or House in Probate | Selling Mom or Dad’s House

What is the typical probate process to sell a home?

The probate sales process can vary but generally it flows through the following steps:

1.    The Executor or Administrator signs a listing agreement with a Certified Probate Realtor.

2.    A buyer submits an offer to the Probate Real Estate Agent.

3.    The Executor or Administrator accepts the buyer’s purchase offer.

4.    The Probate Court accepts the buyer’s purchase offer

5.    The transaction closes and the existing lender releases the lien on the property.

6.     The buyer takes possession of the property.

How To Sell A Home Or Any Property In Probate

How To Sell A Home or House in Probate | Selling Mom or Dad’s House

Frequently Asked Questions about Selling Property in Probate

–    what happens if the death occurred on the property?  California law mandates that any death that has occurred on the property that happened within 3 years of a sale needs to be disclosed to any potential buyer before the transaction closes.  Most buyers are aware that things like this do occur in homes, and most are OK with the situation.  As agents, we do our best to respect the privacy of the selling family and the disclosure of the death will be made under the most discrete situation possible.  Marketing materials used to sell the property should the same as any other home sale with no specific attention given to the probate sale status of the home.  There is one exception, the listing of the property in the MLS (multiple listing service, used by realtors) will indicate that the property is a probate sale.

–    do probate sales take forever and are they very difficult to do?  Probate sales do take a little longer to close than your average sale.  Generally, probate sales can close within 90-120 days.  Also, the success rate for getting court approvals for probate properties are very high.  The goal of the court is to facilitate the process in the most expedient manner possible so everyone concerned can move forward. Other than the slight additional time required to complete the sale, probate sales are very similar to standard sales with a few exceptions.  Working with a Certified Probate Realtor can help ensure a successful transaction.

–     are there many buyers for properties being sold through probate?  Yes, many buyers look for probate sales because they can be hidden gems and a great value.  Again, working with a Certified Probate Realtor will help simplify the process and increase the possibility of a successful transaction.  There are many buyers in the marketplace that search out probate homes and working with someone that is familiar with the process will enable you to target these buyers.

–     do I need to make all the repairs on the home before it is sold?  No, although many people do go through the repair process in getting a home ready for sale, it is not a requirement.  Most buyers interested in a probate home realize that there may be items that are in need of repair. DIY buyers and investors specifically search out properties that may need some TLC before move in.  This market is large and active and these properties are seen as opportunities, not obstacles.  Many probate sales properties fit nicely into this niche.

–    can we keep the home and turn it into a rental?  It depends.  Many administrators aren’t interested in the small amount of potential rental income that may be available from a probate property, and/or they really don’t want to get into the landlord business.  In addition, California landlord/tenant law can be complicated so people should be well versed before they take on the role of “landlord”.  Due to the numerous difficulties in renting out property, most people choose to sell and move on from the situation.

Need Help With Your Probate ?

Jory Blake is a Certified Probate Realtor in California with special skills in dealing with Probate matters, including

court-confirmation hearings, over-bids and estate representation.

Jory Blake can be reached at 951.742.3751 or

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