The probate sales process for listing and selling probate real estate requires specialized knowledge of the legal process administered by the Probate Court; probate contracts; probate disclosure requirements; and seller exemptions.
Probate sales are not created equal. Personal Representatives, if granted by the Probate Court, may operate under the Independent Administration of Estates Act (“IAEA”) with full authority and sell a home on behalf of the estate without court confirmation; provided however there are no “objections” to the proposed sale.
If a Personal Representative is not granted full authority by the court then a probate sale requires court confirmation which may involve an overbid process.
Some probate real estate sales are managed by the Santa Clara County Public Administrator. The listing agent for the estate manages listing and marketing the home for sale under the direction of the Public Administrator. This process may involve the use of specific court approved documents and submitting a bid in a sealed envelope directly to the Office of the Public Administrator of Santa Clara County. A bid due date is published. Properties generally go to the highest bidder. The process may involve Court confirmation and the possibility of someone else over-bidding at the confirmation hearing.
While many aspects of a probate sale may be similar to a non-probate sale of real property, a Personal Representative is well advised to seek a qualified real estate agent to represent them in the sale of a probate home. We live in a highly specialized world today. Hiring a Certified Probate Agent is just as important as hiring an attorney who specializes in probate.
If you need an attorney who specializes in Probate I am happy to recommend one. If you already have an attorney and simply need help with selling probate real estate then give me a call. I may be reached at my office 408.972.1822 or on my cell at 408.499.8751. If you prefer, you may request a consultation.
The following highlights many, but not all, of the tasks and responsibilities I manage as your probate real estate agent:
Responsibilities of a Probate Real Estate Agent
- The process starts and ends with Communication. No less than weekly email updates are provided to the Executor, Attorney and other interested parties. Ongoing communication is maintained with greater frequency, if necessary.
- Consult with the Executor regarding the status of the probate estate.
- Determine specific needs and requirements pertaining to the sale of the real property.
- Complete a comprehensive analysis of the local market, determine market value of the property, and recommend a list price.
- Establish Agency Relationship
- Establish authority to work on behalf of the Executor and execute the Probate Listing Agreement and all supporting listing documents.
- Open escrow and order Preliminary Title Report
- Review Preliminary Title Report and (1) establish who is on title and (2) determine all liens and encumbrances on the property. From time to time we encounter tax liens, mechanics liens, and other judgments that need to be addressed and cleared prior to closing escrow. Resolving these issues upfront will prevent unnecessary delays in the escrow process.
- Physically walk and inspect the property. Complete a legally required Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure noting visual defects and other conditions regarding the property including, but not limited to, if anyone died in the property.
- Complete all non-exempt statutory disclosures. Many agents not experienced in probate sales do not understand the legal requirements in selling probate property. Probate sales are “as-is” sales however “as-is” does not mean Sellers (Executors) are exempt from all disclosure requirements and/or other state, local, and tax withholding requirements.
- Schedule and attend property inspections.
- Depending on the status of the probate property, and the specific needs of the probate estate, may recommend improvements to maximize the sales price which will ultimately increase the net return to the estate.
- Make recommendations for vendors to complete any work that may need to be done, including cleaning and debris removal, prior to listing the property for sale.
- Oversee repairs, if any.
- Supervise ongoing maintenance of landscaping, pool maintenance, etc., if necessary.
- Routine checks on the property to ensure its security.
- Implement listing marketing strategies proven to provide maximum exposure of the property, including listing is syndication.
- Provide Probate Referee a complete copy of my market analysis and recommended list price. Working in collaboration with the Probate Referee helps to ensure the minimum offer price is set in alignment with the market and condition of the property.
- Continue to market the property until an acceptable offer is received.
- Host the property open house, if authorized.
- Timely respond to all inquiries regarding the property.
- Arrange showings, as necessary.
- Ensure buyer’s agents use the Probate Purchase Agreement and Probate Advisories
- Complete buyer vetting process on all prospective buyers. Vetting includes ensuring the buyer has the funds to make the purchase and is well-qualified for a loan.
- Negotiate the highest and best offer for Executor’s acceptance.
- Notify probate attorney of accepted offer.
- Notify Buyer’s agent of court date to confirm the sale, if applicable.
- Continue to market the property for back up offers and over-bidding at the court hearing, if applicable.
- Manage the entire escrow process which includes ensuring all contractual duties and obligations are completed in accordance with the contract timeline.
- Attend court hearings, if required.
- Manage completing non-exempt statutory requirements prior to the close of escrow.
Satisfaction Guarantee. If you are not 100% satisfied with my services then you may simply fire me.
My mission is to manage the details of the probate sale process freeing you to focus on other Executor’s Duties necessary in managing the estate’s assets. My commitment is to sell the property for the highest possible price, on the best possible terms, in the shortest period of time. Our role in the legal process is to facilitate the probate estate in the sale of real property and collaborate with the Executor and Probate Attorney throughout the entire process.
Let’s get the process started.
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