A probate real estate sale is the sale of the deceased person’s real property.
The probate process to sell real estate is among the duties of an estates representative.
The real estate agent an executor or administrator hires to sell real estate needs to have specialized knowledge of the probate process.
Real Estate Agents Need Specialized Knowledge
While many aspects of a probate sale may be like a non-probate sale, an estates representative is well-advised to hire probate real estate experts to represent them.
Hiring a certified probate real estate agent to sell a home is equal to hiring an estate attorney to petition the court for probate.
A probate sale can start after the court issues Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. Another important element in probate is the Independent Administration of Estates Act which you can learn more about.
Not all probate sales get managed by real estate experts. The Santa Clara County Public Administrator assigns listings. The agent assigned the listing takes direction from the Public Administrator.
This process involves the use of specific documents. Bid due dates get published. Bids get submitted in a sealed envelope. Properties go to the highest bidder.
If there is a hearing for the court to confirm the sale, there is a risk of over-bidding at the hearing.
The Probate Sale Process
The probate real estate agent gathers information about the deceased person’s home.
- Determine who is on the title?
- Is the home a condominium?
- Is there a mortgage on the home?
- Are mortgage payments current?
- Are the HOA payments current?
- Was the lender notified of the death?
- Do they have sufficient funds to continue to make the mortgage payments?
Please see out Probate FAQ page for more questions and answers.
If mortgage payments are not being made, we need to be mindful of property law associated with foreclosures.
All administrative issues get resolved before listing the property and the home is sold!
The listing agreements get signed. The property is marketed for sale.
Probate homes priced lower than other homes are due to the condition and location of the home. Home equity is not a measure of a probate homes market value.
The home buying process in a probate sale is like buying a non-probate home. Read more about the probate timeline to learn more.
The difference in buying homes sold through probate varies depending on the home. Every probate sale is unique.
Prospective buyers need approval for a mortgage loan or to prove they have the funds for an all-cash purchase.
Buyers that rely upon a mortgage calculator alone to determine if they can purchase a home get surprised when they discover they cannot get a loan. Learn more about how a Probate Sale California works here.
People buying homes need to understand lending guidelines. A mortgage lender looks at a buyer’s personal finance, credit score, debt to income ratios, and more.
Probate sales get sold in probate court when there is a hearing for the court to confirm the sale.
Buyers get informed if the probate court requires confirmation of the sale. Read more here, if you want to know what happens when a person dies without a will or living trust in California.
The following highlight many, but not all, of the tasks and responsibilities of a probate real estate expert:
Responsibilities of a Probate Real Estate Specialist
- Consult with the Executor or Administrator about the process of a probate sale.
- Establish authority to work on behalf of the executor.
- Review recent sales and market trends.
- Recommend a list price.
- Prepare and sign the listing agreement.
- Inform the probate estate attorney of the sale of the property.
- Confirm the representative has the Letter Testamentary or Letters of Administration
- Get a certified copy of the Letters and death certificate.
- Determine the specific needs of the estates representative. Often they live out of state and require the real estate experts to take care of clearing out the home.
- Schedule and attend the home inspections.
- Provide status updates once a week or more.
- Open escrow and order the Preliminary Title Report.
- Deliver the certified Letters and death certificate to the escrow officer.
- Review the Preliminary Title Report to confirm the names on the title and if there are liens.
- Resolve issues with the title if there are any.
- Inspect the property and complete an Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure.
- Disclose if anyone died in the property.
- Complete and sign the disclosures.
- Recommend home improvements to maximize the sales price.
- Locate contractors for work to complete work, including debris removal and cleaning.
- Oversee repairs, if any.
- Supervise ongoing maintenance of landscaping, pool maintenance, etc.
- Complete routine checks on the property to ensure its security.
- Implement listing marketing strategies to ensure the property is marketed and syndicated for maximum exposure.
- Provide the Probate Referee a copy of my market analysis and list price.
- Host an open house if allowed.
- Arrange showings, as necessary.
- Make the disclosures available to the home buyer’s agent.
- Provide offer writing instructions to use the probate purchase agreement and probate advisories.
- Continue to market the property until the estates representative accepts an offer.
- Respond to all inquiries regarding the probate sale.
- Negotiate the highest and best offer.
- Vet all buyers before presenting the offers.
- Get signatures on the accepted offer.
- Send the probate attorney a copy of the accepted offer.
- Confirm when the estate attorney sends the Notice of Proposed Action.
- Set a reminder on my calendar when all contract deadlines are due.
- Provide the escrow officer with a copy of the purchase agreement.
- Notify Buyer’s agent of the court date to confirm the sale, if applicable.
- Continue to market the property for back up offers.
- Manage the escrow process and ensure all contract duties and obligations are complete.
- Attend court hearings if required.
The primary market we serve is the County of Santa Clara. We can help with a probate sale in San Francisco, Daly City, or anywhere in the State of California.
Our mission is to manage the details of the probate sale and get the property sold. We free the estates representative to spend their time on their duties.
The best way to avoid a probate sale is to get an estate plan in place. With the proper estate plan documents, selling your home after you pass away can be done without probate.