So, you want to be a probate specialist selling real estate? There is always some sort of issues with title and or the heirs. These matters can take months to get straightened out. Meanwhile, you are talking with the attorney and the seller regularly moving toward having keys made and meeting the locksmith, that is once you have the court orders.
Next, you hope you can get in to evaluate the property, except when squatters are living in the property as per the photo below. This is a real photograph after calling 911 at one of my new probate properties. The Sacramento Police department showed up, and they were so very caring and helpful. Do not ever go inside with squatters as you do not know if they have weapons or are on dangerous narcotics. Always call the men and women in blue as this needs to be handled by the professionals.
How did I start to specialize as an agent selling probate real estate? An agent in my previous office was a probate process expert. She was closing about 20+ cases a year. When she tried to sell her business, she lost a large client, a professional fiduciary. The Realtor was fired by her fiduciary. I then bought this Realtor’s book of business and inherited two busy professional fiduciaries who worked with two very busy probate attorneys.
What prepared me for the visual physical part of probate sales? My previous career was as a Deputy Sheriff-Coroner. In this role, I assisted the Yolo County Coroner’s department with body removals. I gave face-to-face death notices to next of kin. In this job, I performed homicide and suicide investigations, as well as natural death reports, routinely. I collected and preserved the evidence. Having extensive courtroom testimony experience and completing police reports has been useful in my probate sales. With my past profession, it was a natural evolution to work in the probate process of real estate sales.
Probate sales with a court referee appraisal are required by the Probate Court to sell within no less than 90% of the value. Referee values are part of the I and A, “Inventory and Appraisal” completed by the referee. A referee is a court appraiser who establishes the values of estate property. These values are then made part of the document for the Probate Court called an “I and A.” The referee generally completes a drive-by exterior appraisal on vacant property. They are not always completely accurate.
When selling probate, real estate mama says: take your coat. I should have listened to her. I was booked yesterday to do a presentation on selling probate real estate in Placer County. When I left Sacramento County, the weather was fine. Upon arrival to the Auburn Holiday Inn, the weather was very chilly and windy.
When the presentation was complete, I had to drive to Colfax to check on a probate listing. We had hired a new vendor to steam clean the interior and wanted to check the quality of the work. Sometimes, when senior people live in a home for many years, they are not really able to take care of things. These type of properties can be shocking for buyers to see as they are often beyond a typical fixer upper. Our usual clean-up crew went to Colfax to bid the job two weeks ago. They immediately left and refused to do it. This lets your imagination run wild, just envision how bad it looked.
As-is subject to the probate code is what many buyers agents forget when they write offers. We always put this into the agent confidential remarks on MLS. A seller is under no obligation to repair anything on the California residential purchase agreement. Probate sales double-down, if you will, on the as-is.
Getting into contract on a probate sale and then attempting renegotiating the price later is not a smart idea. Probates generally are working with little to no extra cash and every penny is most often required by the administrator of the estate.