This is our probate real estate sales report for October 2021 in Santa Clara County. This month the data consists of properties sold in probate and homes sold in trusts. This report is presented by Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist, Kathleen Daniels, Broker-Owner of NeedProbateHelp who provides probate real estate services.
There is a legal process an executor and administrator must follow to administer an estate. This process includes, among many other things, how to sell a probate property.
This report is comprised of statistical data from October 1, 2021, through October 31, 2021, extracted from MLS Listings “MLS” as of November 1, 2021.
The data includes single-family homes, planned unit developments (“PUDs”) which include condominiums, and townhouse-style homes and may not include “off-market” sales. An “off-market” sale is when the property is sold without listing on the Multiple Listing Service.
Probate Real Estate Sales | October 2021
The breakdown of the market sales activity as of November 1, 2021, is as follows:
- There were 5 homes listed as Active
- 4 single family homes
- 1 condominium
- 4 probate properties
- 1 property with title held in a trust
- There were 12 pending sales (under contract)
- 9 single family homes
- 1 townhouse
- 2 condominiums
- 8 probate homes
- 4 properties with title held in a trust
- There were 5 sold homes
- 3 single family homes
- 2 townhouse
- 4 probate homes
- 1 property with title held in a trust
One sold probate home is listed by Probate Real Estate Specialist, Kathleen Daniels. It is a charming 3 bedroom Alum Rock Home with 2 full bathrooms and 1,222 square feet of living space. We certainly faced some challenges with agents behaving badly causing the seller to withdraw from the market for nearly one month because they “needed a break”. This is something that should never happen. When a home is occupied, buyers and their real estate agents need to be mindful of the fact that the home they are showing is the seller’s home – they live there! Respect and consideration are a must however we did not get that with the sale of a probate home with the executor living in the property. There is no excuse for such bad behavior.
DISCLAIMER: All data, including all measurements and calculations of area, is obtained from various sources and has not been, and will not be, verified by the broker or MLS. All information should be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information.
COVID -19 AND PROBATE REAL ESATE
The Impact of COVID-19 on probate real estate continues.
Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration must be issued before an estate representative (executor or administrator) can hire a certified probate real estate specialist to list a home for sale. The backlog is causing extreme delays in getting a hearing date to administer an estate.
The Santa Clara County Probate Court is in a state of Transition in 2121. Yet the changes the court has made are helping move cases through the system. One big change was the addition of a second full-time judge.
On June 15, 2021, the California economy reopened. With limited exceptions, the state will return to “normal”. The last update from the probate judges reports they are 5 months out from the date a petition for probate is filed to the date of the hearing.
What does that mean for real estate open houses?
- Wearing a mask is the only legal restriction for open houses and showings.
- Physical distancing is not required.
- Cleaning and disinfecting are no longer necessary.
- Rules of Entry are not required to be posted.
- No more PEAD forms.
- No one needs to attest to their current health status.
Sellers may set their own rules regarding admittance to their property. We listed a home sold by a Successor Trustee on June 16, 2021. The seller did not want any public open houses and no lockbox on the property. That means that Kathleen Daniels conducted private showings for three days and then the seller set an offer deadline. This property has since closed. You can read the anatomy of that sale in our post, Successor Trustee Sells San Jose Home.
Probate Real Estate Sales | Lowest Priced Home Sold
The lowest-priced probate home sold was a condominium located in Sout San Jose in the 95111 zip code. It is a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom, with 1,017 square feet of living space. The condo is 52 years old.
The condo was listed on September 4, 2021. The list price is $599,000. The MLS reported the sale under contract on September 9, 2021. On October 15, 2021, it was reported sold. The final sales price reported was $610,000. The buyer had conventional financing.
Probate Real Estate Sales | Highest Priced Home Sold
The highest-priced home sold was a single-family home located in the City of Palo Alto 94306. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,478 square feet of living space on a 6,219 square-foot lot. It was listed for sale on September 28, 2021. The list price was $1,999,999.
The sale was reported pending on October 5, 2021. On October 15, 2021, it was reported sold. The final sales price reported was $2,000,000. The MLS reports 4 offers were received. It was a cash purchase.
The Myths About Probate Homes in Santa Clara County. Screaming hot deals? Maybe if one is “lucky” enough to get an off-market sale.
We frequently receive calls and emails from investors wanting to purchase our probate listings “off-market”. The only way to ensure a seller is getting top dollar for their home is to put it on the MLS and cast a wide and deep marketing net and let buyers compete for the home. Investors are looking for homes they can get below market.
We received a call from an investor asking if we would represent them on the purchase of a probate home sold by the Santa Clara County Public Administrator. We have knowledge and experience with probate real estate. We know what it takes to put an offer package together. We also keep our fingers on the pulse of the real estate market in general, not just probate real estate. Investors with a lowball offer on any property in our market don’t stand a chance against the competition. In any event, our focus is on helping sellers. While we did make an exception in 2020 by agreeing to represent a buyer on a probate home, the best we could do with this request is refer them to another real estate agent.
Santa Clara County Probate
The process for an executor or administrator selling a probate property in Santa Clara County starts with the attorney filing a petition for probate following Santa Clara Superior Court Local Rules. The process is administered by the Santa Clara County Superior Court, Probate Division, Department 13. A second full-time probate judge was added in 2021. The judge is located in Department 5.
At the hearing, the petitioner asks for authority from the court to administer the estate. The authority granted by the court depends upon if the person died with a Will, or Intestate without a Will, and if Full Authority is granted under the Independent Administration of Estates Act or IAEA. If full authority is granted we typically have a probate sale without court confirmation.
Having the full authority to act does not mean that the process is easy or can be accomplished quickly. Read our page How long does probate take in California to learn more about the time frame. Adding to the typical process and timeframe for probate we continue to face delays due to COVID-19. We understand from the court that hearing dates are being set 6 months out from the date the petition gets filed.
There are reasons the probate judge may not grant full authority. There are also cases that proceed with the California probate sale overbid process.
Independent Administration of Estates Act
In the short video below, Jennifer F. Scharre, probate and trust attorney in San Jose, discusses the advantages of administering a California probate estate with the power to sell real property without the court’s permission. The authority is under the Independent Administration of Estates Act, also referred to as IAEA.
If a Will prohibits IAEA then neither authority gets granted by the court.
How to Avoid Probate in California
The majority of the statistical data we track are homes sold in probate. On any given month we may see a sprinkling of homes sold by a successor trustee of a trust. In order to avoid probate, we must complete our estate planning documents before we die. Many people believe if they have a Will that is all that is needed. If we have a Last Will and Testament or no Will at all, probate is still necessary.
The exception to that might be if the value of the estate is under the small estate threshold. In the short video below, Scott Carter, a probate and trust attorney in San Jose, discusses when someone passes away without a living trust or dies with a will or without a will, the estate will need to go through probate.
The most popular and the main way most Californians avoid probate is through what is called a revocable living trust. Setting up a trust that allows the parties to name a trustee and bypass the court process of probate. In order to do that they have to actually fund (F U N D) fund the trust with the assets to avoid probate. Once that is done it accomplishes a couple of things.
- It is going to avoid probate which is very time-consuming and costly
- It can avoid what is called a conservatorship which is also time-consuming and costly
A conservatorship is when someone becomes incapacitated and they must go through the court process to have their estate supervised.
Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist
We are real estate specialists in probate real estate sales. That means selling probate properties, trust homes, and property under conservatorship. Over the years we have helped many executors and successor trustees sell homes.
Understanding the challenges people face, we know a higher level of service is needed when representing an estate. That is why we focus on high-touch service versus a high volume of sales.
Experience does make a difference! Kathleen Daniels, Real Estate Broker is a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist “CPRES” and certified in Professional Fiduciary Management for Trustees. She has extensive probate Realtor training. The core of her business is probate real estate sales and working with successor trustees selling properties held in the family trust.
The number of clients we work with is limited to ensure we can provide all clients with the highest level of representation. Working with out-of-state and out-of-area clients requires more time.
We track property sales in Santa Clara County probate court because it is important that we keep current by keeping our fingers on the pulse of the market.
When you need help, call Certified Probate Real Estate Agent, Kathleen Daniels at 408-972-1822, or contact us and request a consultation.