Selling a House in Probate

Posted April 30

Whenever someone passes away, often the question arises, what do we do next? There may be funeral bills to be paid, credit card and loan debts, and other unforeseen liabilities. There may also be valuable commodities besides real estate properties owned by the deceased, such as stocks, jewelry, and cars, for example. So, what happens to that person’s assets?

One way to think about it is that everyone has a box, and everything they own is in that box. They can buy things for this box, or sell things as well. They can give away or donate things out of the box, and do whatever they please with their possessions. But, when they pass away, the box snaps shut! And the only one who can open the box again is a Judge in the county where the person passed away.

The problem with that is that it can be a very long time in some cases. Just getting a hearing date in court can be months away. There is also a variety of steps you have to take to even get to present that box to the court so that they can help you open it up.

Estate administration is designed to provide for the orderly distribution of property, both real and personal, owned by the decedent. “Probate” is the process of administering an estate. The process is supervised by the probate court.

When can a home be sold through Probate?

If there is a Will, a personal representative must comply with the decedent’s instructions in the Will. A court order may be required if acting otherwise will serve the best interest of the parties. If the Will happens to make no mention of the disposition of real property, or if there isn’t a Will, the representative may make the decision to sell real property. In many cases, real property must be sold in order to pay debts, taxes, and expenses to administer the estate.

The representative has a fiduciary duty and responsibility to gather the assets, pay the debts of the decedent, and ensure the heirs and beneficiaries receive the maximum inheritance. Many times, the personal representative will hire a probate attorney to manage the legal aspects of the probate.

Can a house be sold during the Probate process?

Yes. However, selling a probate property is a complicated process. Often the sale of the probate property can be delayed because the court is involved in approval of the sale. These delays could be extended from months to years.

In addition, the profits from selling the assets may not be what the family was expecting, specifically if the deceased owes debts to a lot of creditors. And the probate expenses, estate debts, and insurance fees also would be deducted from the sale of the property before the heirs can divide the money for themselves.

How are Probate properties sold?

Probate houses are sold the same way as traditional houses, usually with a real estate agent who specializes in probate properties. They already understand what strategies to apply when selling a house under probate and how to price the property right. They also know who to market the property to, so you'll get a competitive offer. However, even if you decide to list your probate property for sale, it may take several months before the sale is finalized while it goes through the title, escrow and mortgage loan processes. And during this time, you still have to pay for its utility bills; electric, water, cable, and trash removal, for example. And if the house has an outstanding mortgage, that must be paid on time, since you are the new owner. Additionally, other expenses may be incurred as the property must be well maintained or improved upon during this waiting period.

Another viable option in selling a probate property would be with a real estate investor. Oftentimes, the probate property is in need of significant improvements, so the needed repairs may take some time before it can be marketed properly at a competitive price. With real estate investors, they typically are all cash buyers, so they don't take loans or mortgages to pay for the property. And they don't require any repairs or extensive cleaning of the property. Also, a trusted cash buyer will not withdraw from the sale once they have agreed with the executor, so you get your money with no uncertainties.

If you are looking for a faster, hassle-free probate sale, and decide to go with a cash buyer for a simple sale, contact us here at webuyhousesfastsocal.com, or call us at 818 573-0860. We'll give you a competitive cash offer and cover the closing costs for your probate house!

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For personalized advice, consider consulting a tax professional or a real estate attorney who can provide specific guidance based on your situation.

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