Whether you’re looking for your next family home or you’re interested in investing in real estate, probate properties present an attractive opportunity. Probate properties can be competitively priced, and in many cases, executors are motivated to sell and cross one more item off of their to-do list. However, there are difficulties that come with purchasing probate properties. Know what to expect so you can plan appropriately.
Finding Probate Properties
There are several ways that potential buyers can find properties in probate. You could find a realtor that specializes in probate properties and work directly with them to find properties that fit what you’re looking for. You may also want to go to the probate court in your county and request lists of properties that have entered probate in the last six months.
Making an Offer
After you’ve found a property that meets all of your requirements, you can make an offer. To get to this point, you should work directly with the executor or their attorney to view the property and find out if there are other offers. The process of making an offer on a probate property is different from making an offer on a standard real estate listing. If the executor accepts your offer, you’ll need to put down a 10% deposit. The executor may counteroffer instead. If they do and you accept their price, you have to put down a 10% deposit on the final agreed-upon price.
An inspection is recommended for almost any real estate purchase. It’s not always an option on probate properties, though. It all depends on the executor of the estate. If they’re flexible and willing to work with potential buyers, they may accept an offer that’s contingent on a successful inspection. If they simply want to get rid of the property without doing any further work or investment—which is common with complicated estates—they may refuse an inspection and simply sell the property “as-is.” If a home needs serious repairs, all of the responsibility falls on you in an as-is purchase.
Going to Court
Once your offer has been accepted, it has to go through the legal system. The judge must approve the offer, which often takes 4-6 weeks. During this waiting period, the executor can entertain other offers on the property. At the court hearing, the property is auctioned off. Be ready to pay 10% of the final price on the spot. This may be higher than your initial deposit if the amount is driven up by other offers.
Plan for Delays
While the process of purchasing a probate property can be difficult and emotionally taxing, it’s also a way to secure properties at competitive prices. If you go into this process expecting delays, you’re less likely to be frustrated when they inevitably occur.
If you’re the executor of an estate in probate, you need legal representation that can help you navigate this complicated process. Contact The Probate Law Firm to schedule a consultation.