Here are the top 10 things you must know if you are are going to sell a Property in Probate:

  1. You won’t find many agents who specialize in this Niche. There are fewer than 10 great probate agents in all of Los Angeles county and fewer in surrounging counties. The Take Away… Find out who has personally closed over 100 probate sales, and you will be fine! [Hint: I am one of them ;-)]
  2. There is no Realtor Designation for Probate Specialist… There are courses where a certificate is given, but by no means does it make any agent an expert qualified to sell your probate! The Take Away… Anyone you are cosidering hiring must have taken some class instruction but more importantly, have a closing track record to prove their experience.
  3. If you are the Personal Representative, play defense! The Take Away… You have a lot of liability! Make sure your agent clearly articulates how they will protect you, the property, and what the steps they will take are.
  4. Never sell directly to an investor! The Take Away… The only way to know if you have gotten the best price is to know you had proper market exposure. Most people who sell directly to investors sell too cheaply. Investors will alway have the opporunity to buy a listed home from any broker.
  5. Attorney’s DO NOT Negotiate Listing or Sale Contracts. That is your responsibility granted in your Letters of Administration and/or as dictated by the Will or Trust. The Take Away… If you ask your attorney to review anything unrelated to the probate process, you can be charged Extraordinary Fees usually at their hourly rate. Your broker should easily be able to explain everything related to the sale process.
  6. To Fix or Not to Fix? There is a section of the civil code 1102.2 which exempts Personal Representatives from disclosure of a homes condition. If you fix and a problem arises you would lose your protection under the law because you “caused” material change to the property. It is already a thankless job when you serve in this capacity, do you really need to add personal liability to the equation? The Take Away… You are not responsible for the condition of a property when someone passes when you accept to serve so don’t act like your are.
  7. Be greedy but not dumb! In order to sell there must be a necesity or requirement to sell. Pricing tight to the market tells the market that your are a seller ready to do business. Asking prices should never be set with the mentality that ” we can alway come down in price.” Good agents have workable clients. If an agent says to their client, this home is priced well, many others will be telling their buyers the same, and that causes pent up demand which drives prices higher. Know this! The Take Away… Proper exposure to the market is what ensures the best price.Price is a component of marketing, so don’t be over 3% higher than what data supports.
  8. Confirming a sale requires certain, distincs types of notices. You agent must know which notice type is appropriate for the sale and must amke sure the attorney has prepared the notice in advance of selling and accepting an offer. The Take Away…Experience matters.
  9. Close of Escrow… you closing should be at the soonest date possible on an agreed upon calendar. The Take Away… Once you have a sale confirmed, get the money and deliver possession as soon as possilbe to eliminate unneccesary risk of property damage and estate liability.
  10. Get the estate tax ID’s early and make sure bank accounts are established so when you close, there is a place to deposit proceeds. The Take Away… If you don’t do up front, you will have to get a check in the mail and do more work versus, wiring fund to the estate account and only filing the closing statement will be required.