Guide to Selling a House in Probate


If a member of your family has recently passed away and you have inherited their property, you may be interested in having the property listed. But if your loved one’s home is in probate after their passing, you might be curious about and concerned with its resale potential.

First things first, to put your mind at ease: it can be done. But you will need professional assistance to help move things along. In addition to legal counseling and consultations with a real estate agent, you may also need to enlist the help of downsizing services for seniors in San Diego.

Find out what you have to do in order to sell a piece of real estate in probate.

What does it mean if a home is in probate?

Probate is a court-supervised legal procedure of title clearing. As an heir or beneficiary, you will have to engage the probate court if you want to have the title to your deceased loved one’s home in Chula Vista transferred to your name.

As an heir, the probate process is the last thing you want. But when is a probate really necessary? After all, it is both an expensive and a time-consuming ordeal: the process can cost approximately 6% of the house’s gross value and take a whole year to complete.

A probate is necessary if:

  • The deceased owner left no Living Trust, only a Will
  • The deceased person was the sole owner of the estate, the value of which needs to be split among the beneficiaries
  • The gross value of the estate exceeds $150,000
  • Creditors file a claim in the probate court
  • California Probate Code Section 13500-13660 does not apply

Probate is essentially the process of obtaining a Court permission to deal with the estate of the deceased. Its basic purpose is to collect the assets, pay the debts and taxes, and properly distribute the decedent’s property to the heirs. In certain circumstances, you may be allowed to empty the house before the probate.

Can you sell a house while it’s in probate?

It is possible to sell a house during the probate process, but this can only be done by a person with the legal authority to manage the assets in the estate. Unless already named in the Will, the Executor or Personal Representative must be formally appointed by the Probate Court.

If you want to sell a house under probate, the court needs to grant you full authority to administer the estate under the Independent Administration of Estate Act. The IAEA makes a path for the house sale to be conducted like a regular real estate transaction, as long as all the heirs have received Notice of Petition to Administer Estate. All known and reasonably ascertainable creditors and public entities also need to receive a Notice of Administration of the Estate.

How long does probate take when selling a house?

The probate process in California can last for months and up to a year. The lengthy and possibly complex probate process entails the following:

  • Proving the validity of the will in court
  • Identifying and creating an inventory of the property
  • Receiving an official appraisal
  • Paying any outstanding debts and taxes
  • Allocation of the property based on the will stipulations

All of the above ensures fraud prevention and the fair distribution of the property of the deceased.

How to sell a house in probate?

When selling a house, even a house in probate, you may also want to enlist the help of home stagers who will arrange or rearrange the existing furniture and decor in order to showcase a home for sale and enhance its appeal to the potential buyers. Your safest bet to maximize the resale value of the house is to enlist the services of an experienced real estate agent.

All the proceeds from the sale can only be used after the court has approved their distribution. Namely, the court cannot close the estate before the creditors have been paid and taxes accounted for. To approve the distributions, the court needs to receive the Final Petition, detailing how much money is left for distribution. Only then can the heir or heirs, the PR and probate attorney get their money and the case can be put to rest.

When it comes to the contents of the house, you will eventually need to declutter and organize all the items in the house so you can decide which items to stash away, give away or throw away. The easiest thing to do this is to rely on downsizing guidelines.

Quality downsizing services for seniors in San Diego

As real estate industry professionals, we offer comprehensive downsizing services that will help you prepare your deceased loved one’s home for the upcoming sale process in a way that will help you cherish their memory. Even if you are in the middle of a probate process, we can step in to help facilitate the process and make sure everything goes much more smoothly. Reach out to us to schedule your initial consultation today!

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