Probate properties involve real estate titled to a person who is deceased. Probate is the process used to settle decedent estates and distribute inheritance assets to rightful heirs. In order to transfer real property to heirs, transfer documents must be recorded through the court.
Probate properties are often suspended in court for several months and can cause financial hardship. Decedent estates are responsible for all expenses associated with the property throughout the probate process. Common expenses include: home loan installments, property insurance and taxes, homeowner’s association fees, and general maintenance such as landscaping or pool maintenance.
Estate administrators are appointed within the last will and testament. They are responsible for all aspects of estate settlement. When real estate does not automatically transfer to a surviving spouse, Administrators must secure the house and obtain a property appraisal. It is best to work with a probate lawyer to ensure proper protocol surrounding real estate is followed.
If decedent estates are financially incapable of paying outstanding debts and property related expenses, probate homes can be sold to reduce financial burdens. When multiple heirs are entitled to real estate, each must agree to the sale unless court ordered.
The process for selling probate properties depends on the type of probate. Some states require estate sales to be supervised through the court and allow multiple bidders to submit offers. Others allow estate executors to manage the sale without court interference.
Selling probate homes can eliminate time-consuming tasks for estate administrators and can be especially helpful when houses are located in another state. Since probate executors are required to care for property throughout probate, they are often forced to hire subcontractors. These expenses can reduce the amount of inheritance money available to heirs.
When probate property is listed through a realtor, the estate covers required closing costs and commissions. If property can be sold without court supervision, estate executors should consider selling houses to real estate investors who specialize in buying probated homes.
Probate properties can be a smart investment for both investors and individual buyers. When property sales are conducted through public courts anyone can submit a purchase offer. When property sales are handled by the estate administrator, buyers will enter into negotiation with the estate or representing realtor. In some cases, real estate sales are handled by the estate’s lawyer.
In order to locate potential properties for sale, buyers visit local court houses to review public records. When a person dies their Will is submitted through the court. The Will becomes a matter of public record and can be viewed by anyone. Buyers research probate cases to locate real estate holdings and obtain the estate executor’s contact information. They then research property records to gather information about the home.
Property records show if a mortgage is attached. If so, information regarding the loan is provided. Property records also reveal if creditor judgments or tax liens are attached or if the property is in foreclosure. Buyers can also view the appraised value, lot size, square footage, number of rooms, and age of the home.
It is best to work with a probate attorney throughout the process of real estate sales to ensure property records are properly recorded and that the sale adheres to state probate laws. As with any real estate transaction, buyers must engage in due diligence to ensure the property is worth the purchase price.