How to sell your California home probate

Losing a loved one is difficult; even so when you find yourself suddenly drowning in legalities dealing with property that you just inherited. If the property left behind is titled in the name of the deceased person alone, for instance, probate becomes necessary. The property is then known as the probate estate.

If probate court proceedings are necessary to determine the rightful distribution of assets, the executor named in the will is the one who brings this case to court. But if there’s no will and/or no designated executor, the probate court appoints someone in charge. If you are the presumptive executor, you may hire a lawyer to help with court proceedings and pay his fees from the estate.

In case there is no one among the potential heirs willing to keep the property of the deceased, selling a house in probate is a viable option, especially for properties in California.


What to consider when selling a house in probate in California

If you are stated in the will as the executor of the estate, selling the deceased’s estate property becomes much simpler. If an executor is not specified, the court will let the family decide on who should take on the role. If these family members couldn’t agree on who to designate as executor, this can lead to additional court proceedings and delays in the disposal of the property.

Thus, it is best to work out an agreement among all the heirs and together, nominate an executor to more quickly get the inherited property sold.

Once you have the court’s clearance, the sale process can begin. Because a probate real estate transaction is more complex than a standard real estate transaction, it would be good to have around a real estate agent who specializes in probate sales.


Finding the right probate real estate agent

Hiring a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) gives you the advantage because you’ll be able to benefit from their experience and education in estate settlement. They will know how to value property for probate so you get the best price for your listing, which should be at least 90% of the appraised value. A CPRES real estate agent will also be able to attractively present a probate home to buyers. They will also have the ability and knowhow to ensure that the paperwork is in order and the proposed sale is truly legal.

Finding a certified real estate agent in California for your probate real estate requirements can be difficult. Even if you do find a specialized agent who knows how to get probate listings noticed by potential buyers, there is still no guarantee that the house will sell. This is because the probate process involves a fair amount of uncertainty, which can make buyers shy away.


Preparing the home for sale

The law does not allow sellers of probate homes to renovate or fix it up before putting it on the market. The house can only be put up for sale “as-is,” so that potential buyers can see the property’s faults, especially if there are any existing structural issues that may need to be addressed. This means the property’s weaknesses will be left glaringly obvious, essentially putting some potential buyers off.

At most, a seller can clean things up a bit. They can polish the floors, shampoo and vacuum the carpets, sweep away the cobwebs, mow the lawn, and trim the bushes. The court draws the line at applying a new coat of paint, however. That’s where the specialized probate real estate agent comes in with their marketing strategies to still get a good profit from the sale of the property.


Jumping through the hoops

Even if someone makes an offer that meets the court-required sale price, there is still a waiting period to consider. The court requires the home to remain on the market for a minimum of two months, even if a potential buyer has made an offer. This will allow the heirs to air any objections they may have prior to the sale’s approval in a hearing.

During the courtroom hearing, other buyers will also be given an opportunity to outbid the first buyer. In other words, the sale won’t be considered final until all interested buyers have concluded outbidding each other.


Do you have more questions about how to sell your probate properties? Get in touch with me, Los Angeles real estate and probate sales specialist Nick Caudillo, for expert insights and assistance. Call 626.388.6644 or email for more information today.

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