Probate properties are homes that are owned by the estate of a deceased home owner. Many times these homes are sold below their market value as the inheritors or heirs to the estate want to quickly sell the home.
Purchasing a property where the owner has passed away and the heirs are left to take care of the home can save you some money or help you find a home in a very exclusive neighborhood, but there is much more to the probate buying process than a regular traditional home sale. Here are some questions you will want to ask if you are considering a luxury estate in probate.
Where Can I find a Luxury Estate in Probate?
You can find probate properties listed in the obituary section and legal creditor notices or petition to administer estate notices in the local newspaper. You may also be able to find homes in the public files of the local probate court, from these files you can contact the executor of an estate to inquire if a property will be up for sale. Many luxury properties do not get listed in the traditional route so it is always good to hire an experienced luxury properties agent. They will know the market well and can help you find the specific type of luxury property you are interested in.
How Long Should I Expect the Sale to Take?
A property in probate or one that is being sold by heirs should be expected to take much longer than a traditional home sale. When you are dealing with courts the process will naturally be much slower. If the property is simply being sold by heirs to the estate it may not be so simple as their could be multiple heirs involved.
How Many Heirs to the Estate are There?
This may seem like none of your business but it is a hugely important question to ask. If there is only one legal heir you are fortunate as the process will be much simpler, but if there are multiple heirs to the estate you may need to obtain written contract acceptance from each individual heir in order to continue with the purchase of the home. If heirs live far away or are being stubborn this process could be very long and drawn out.
What All is Included in the Sale of the Estate?
Some heirs to estates will not be interested in keeping anything in the home and may sell the home fully furnished, while others will want time to clear out and distribute family heirlooms and belongings before the closing. Make sure you know what it is exactly that you will be buying. Don't expect to be the new owner of a priceless antique sofa only to find an empty home after you receive keys. Likewise don't expect the home to be turned over in pristinely cleansed condition especially if the owners are in a hurry to sell.
Am I Expected to Purchase the Home “As-Is?”
It is not uncommon for the heirs to an estate to be stressed out on top of grieving and want to sell a property so they can begin to move on. Because of this frustration it is common for sellers to sell a property as it stands with no contingencies or room for negotiations on condition and repairs. Some sellers are not the most clear about this information so be sure to ask.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
If the property is in probate and/or there are multiple heirs to the property you may want to find your own probate attorney to help the process along especially if there is no attorney hired by the seller. As a buyer to the property you have rights as well and it is always good to know what those are by hiring an attorney.
Ask your buyer’s agent for a referral. Buying a luxury property after the original owner has passed is much different than purchasing any other luxury property. Your first step as a home buyer should always be to hire an experienced buyer’s agent.