The nuances of handling a house in probate

Some of the most attractive value-for-money real estate purchases available to Californians right now are probate sales. These are properties not legally owned by any individual but, rather, by the beneficiaries of a deceased owner. The said deceased individual did not prepare a will stating the rightful heirs to their property upon death.

Without a will to base ownership on, real estate assets of the deceased can be handled by a court that manages the probate sale process in California. Proceeds of the sale will be divided among the living beneficiaries.

True, the process can be tedious. It involves numerous court appearances with the real estate agent after an offer is made, engagements with lawyers, court fee payments, and even the settling of any existing lien disputes over the property. Thus, many are not inclined to handle sales of this kind.

However, the best business deals are often enjoyed by people who have the patience and discipline to tackle the complications of these painstaking legal processes. The less astute buyer would settle for inferior and/or costly house purchases simply because the transaction appears to be more straightforward and uncomplicated.

Prospective real estate buyers who want to cash in on a good purchase without having to wrangle with California probate law should consider leaving matters to qualified and experienced probate real estate agents. Real estate companies with impressive track records in probate and trust sales, especially the probate process California courts abide by, are more likely to find reasonably-priced property options for you.

What do these sales entail?

A California judge oversees the property and sale in these situations mainly to prevent anyone from committing fraud and injustice. Their mediation is especially beneficial when potential disputes could arise among surviving relatives of the deceased property owner.

The process begins with the appointment of an executor or administrator for the estate. This individual’s task is to assess the total assets of the estate and determine which of these assets shall be sold and if the house is, indeed, up for sale.

The entire probate sale process in California could last for approximately six months. During this time, the executor will set an asking price for the property based on a proper appraisal, then petition the court for the sale. The property will then be listed as a probate sale and can receive offers upon this request’s approval in court.

Another confirmation hearing is set then advertised in a local publication. That way, interested buyers will learn about this and get the chance to bid for the property. Public advertisements can be done for a minimum of three times to maximize the number of potential buyers vying for the property. The original buyer needs to bid against other prospective buyers, if there are any, in this court hearing.

Unlike other auctions, the minimum bid price for real estate sold in these hearings is set by the court, the basis of which is the initial appraisal estimate. These purchases still come out as highly advantageous transactions for the buyer, even after settling all fees imposed by the courts, real estate agents, and attorneys. The hearing ends with the winning buyer being confirmed by the court, thereby allowing the executor to proceed with the sale.

The firm executing the probate sale is also required to accomplish all the necessary documentation to be provided to the court, complete with an accounting of all actions taken in connection with the transaction. These are the requirements that make the services of real estate agents crucial to the process, especially those with the proper training and accreditation to handle transactions of this nature.

Are there simpler ways?

There is what’s called an informal probate sale which involves considerably fewer safeguards and restrictions. Also referred to as voluntary administration, informal probate can be applied in situations where the property was owned in joint tenancy with another party, or is a communal property with the surviving spouse, or is in a living trust.

An informal probate sale will, nevertheless, involve a California court and a legitimate executor of the estate.

Where can one get help?

Realizing how tedious and complex the process of selling a house could be under California probate law, its best to seek the expertise of highly qualified companies.

For more information about dealing in probate properties in San Bernardino and other exceptional communities in the Greater Los Angeles area, contact California probate real estate specialist Nick Caudillo – that’s me. Call me at 626.388.6644 or email for expert insights and assistance.

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