5 Tips to Sell a House During Probate

Selling a property on probate requires skills and know-how. In this post, we’ll talk about what real estate probate is and how you can quickly sell a property that is categorized as such.

What is Real Estate Probate?

So what is probate? Probate is a process of determining the validity and authenticity of a will. When a person dies, his assets are disposed of based on his specific desires as reflected in his last will and testament. Only the executor or the court-appointed representative can administer the distribution or allocation of the testator’s properties.

Selling a house during probate is possible. But it can be an intimidating process for anyone tasked to do it. Whether the deceased person is your loved one or you were simply appointed by the court to administer the sales process, it might feel like you’re lost in the dark.

Thankfully, there are ways to simplify the process. Here are five tips to sell a house during probate:

Submit the will to a probate court

Many people find filing probate as an intimidating process. But actually, it is easy and can be summarized into four steps.

  • The first step is to file a petition for probate. The court will then admit the will and appoint the executor of the will.
  • Next, the decedent’s representative will have to send a notice to all known creditors of the estate and take an inventory of all his assets.
  • The third step is to pay all debts and taxes of the owner.
  • Lastly, all his properties are transferred according to his will. It can be helpful to hire a reputable probate attorney to assist you throughout this process to save time and effort.

Take the timeline under your control

The probate process varies by states but normally, executors are given 30 days from the decedent’s date of death to submit the will to the court. Not submitting the will on time is a violation of the rule of court and could cause the cancellation of your appointment as the estate executor.

Sell the property as soon as you can

Having such a tight deadline often leaves executors in anxiety. With so many things to do (gather documents, make an inventory of property, notify creditors, etc.), sticking to the target timeline can be overwhelming. It’s important to give yourself a little breathing room. But you should plan ahead to avoid any possible issue. What’s more, you can’t sell the house until you filed the petition for probate in court and have been appointed as the legal executor.

Make sure your agent has experience

Hiring a real estate agent is a must for anyone looking to sell house fast. It is even more beneficial for those selling a house on probate. When looking for an agent, always look at their background and experience.

The person you’ll hire should have in-depth knowledge about probate, in particular as it involves a unique listing and selling process. Note that a buyer must make an offer that is subject to the court’s confirmation. Once the offer has been accepted, a Notice of Proposed Action is mailed to all heirs and they are given 15 days to review the proposed sale offer.

Your real estate agent should be able to assist you in each of these steps, including the documentation and special contracts specific to your state’s probate laws. More importantly, he or she should be able to help you get the property sold in the most cost-effective way.

Use estate assets to improve the property before selling

If you want to sell the probate property as soon as possible, you should consider making some upgrades. Selling the property as it is, is not really a good idea and might cause buyers to ignore the property. Renovating the kitchen, repairing the roof, ensuring that the HVAC system works, or remodeling the bathroom can add value to the property and can attract more buyers.

While some buyers enjoy the challenge of designing their home interiors, most prefer the idea of buying a move-in ready home. In short, they want a house that is ready to be lived in and has everything they need to feel at home.

To fund the improvement, check if there are small assets in the estate that can be sold off. Investing a little on repair and improvement can positively influence the outcome of a real estate probate sale.

Selling a house during probate can be challenging indeed. But if you know what to do and where to seek help, you can get by.

  • Start by submitting a probate petition to the court and creating a reasonable timeline to have all the legal documents settled.
  • Next, hire a reputable real estate agent who is well-experienced in a probate sale.
  • Lastly, consider making improvements in the property to attract more potential buyers.