Selling a Home in Probate

When a loved one passes away, it is often an overwhelming time for families. Thinking about selling the family home while going through the grieving process can be challenging, but by having the information needed to handle the sale smoothly can lessen the burden.

In Connecticut, selling a home during the probate process can be more complicated than a traditional home sale. It is important to get any legal advice from a reputable attorney licensed in the state of Connecticut, as steps can vary depending on your situation. Here is some general information that can help you better understand the impact of the probate process on real estate. 

1. Understand The Executor Role

In Connecticut, one of the key roles in the probate process is the Executor of the estate. This person is trusted with the protecting and managing of a deceased person’s property and assets during the probate process, making sure that all debts and liabilities are paid off, and overseeing the transfer of all remaining assets to the heirs of the estate. The executor of the estate may be named in the will, or chosen by the court. The executor will play a key role in the sale of a home during the probate process. 

2. Take Care in Filing The Paperwork

In order to make the home sale process go as smoothly as possible, it is a good idea to have all of the paperwork filed before trying to start the home sale process. The executor or executors of the estate need to file quite a few important documents with the court, including a certified copy of the will, letters testamentary approved by the probate court, an inventory list for all property, and an appraisal report for all property. These can be confusing, so don’t hesitate to contact an attorney with experience in estate planning and/or probate to ensure you are doing what needs to be done on the correct timeline.

3. Determine the Home’s Value

It is vital to get an accurate value of the property when selling a home during the probate process. Connecticut probate courts require that a home sells for at least 90% of the value, so that needs to be determined before the sale process can begin. The most common way to determine a home’s value is with an appraisal. The appraiser will complete an in-depth inspection of the home and compare it to homes in the area with similar features and condition that have sold recently in order to determine the fair market value of the home. The court may also approve the use of a Comparative Market Analysis prepared by a Realtor or reports from the local tax assessment department. Once you determine the value of the home, the executor of the estate can petition the court to begin the sale process. 

4. Keep Up with Property Care and Maintenance 

Prior to the sale of the home, it is important to maintain the property. This is part of the executor’s duties. Taxes, insurance premiums, and mortgage payments should continue to be paid. Utilities should also be continued if people are going to be in the home for clean outs or real estate showings. Thanks to our cold Connecticut winters, the home should remain heated or be properly winterized to avoid burst pipes and damage to the property. 

5. Steps for Finding a Buyer for the Property

After the court approves the beginning of the sale process, a home can be listed for sale. It must be listed as a probate sale. Because a probate sale can take longer than a traditional home sale, it is important that the prospective buyers understand that it may require a little patience as you go through the probate process. 

Marketing a probate property is similar to a traditional sale. Your agent will take photos of the property, share it on the MLS exchange (which populates to sites like Realtor.com and Zillow) to attract a wide variety of buyers, and may even use other marketing techniques such as print advertisements, online classifieds such as Craigslist, or mailers. 

6. Finalizing the Sale

One way that a probate sale differs from a traditional sale is that a court hearing is required to complete the sale. While awaiting the hearing, the pending sale must be advertised in the local paper, alerting other potential buyers to the sale and the offer price. They can attend the hearing as well, and bid for the property as well. There are rules in place governing how much competing bids can be, and the original potential buyer is also allowed to compete in the bidding process, if desired. Once a final price is decided (whether or not anyone comes and starts the bidding process), the court can approve it, allowing the executor to complete the sale. 

7. Consider a Cash Buyer 

Because of the complexity and time required for a probate sale, it can be overwhelming to a lot of sellers and potential buyers. Some executors and families may find that the home they are tasked with dealing with is in need of serious repairs, is lacking updates potential buyers expect in their area, or is completely full of stuff – oftentimes all three. Getting a home such as this ready for sale on the real estate market, especially when dealing with the probate process and grieving a loved one, can be too much to deal with. In these cases, a cash offer from a real estate investor, such as Bristol Home Buyers, can be an easy alternative. Cash home buyers do not require compares to be completed or upgrades to be done, and many will even offer to handle the clean out of the property. If you sell your home with Bristol Home Buyers, you can take the sentimental items or valuables that you want, and leave the rest for us to deal with- even down to the leftovers in the fridge. We have worked with many estates, and are used to dealing with clean out. We can coordinate donations of unwanted furniture, clothing, and non-perishable foods remaining in the home to local charitable organizations and dispose of the garbage and anything broken or unusable.

If you are in the probate process, and are tasked with coordinating the sale of a home, feel free to contact us for more information about ways that we can help. We have worked with many families and estates, and are here to speak with you. We can give you a free, fast, and fair offer on the property, leaving you free from cleanout, repairs, and the hassle of getting the home ready to show. Call us today or complete the form below, and we will get right back to you!

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