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.
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.
Is the property condition disclosure is your friend? When you list your Sacramento home for sale, you’ll be asked to fill out a property condition disclosure form known in California as a Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS). You’ll also fill out the California Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement.
These detailed forms are required when transferring ownership of residential property of 1 to 4 units. The questions cover every material fact about the home and any appliances that will transfer with the home. Contrary to the laws in some states, sellers are also required to disclose the location of registered sex offenders. This information can be found via a map search at the California Megan’s Law website. The Residential Purchase Agreement contains this information and that covers the required disclosure. If a seller actually had direct knowledge of a registered sex offender in the neighborhood, this would be disclosed. (https://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/)
Today we would like to discuss a fixer home selling as is in a probate process. This was a recent sale on a listing where the seller was a “probate administrator with full authority.” I could write a book on selling probate listings but, I will stick to the as is portion of this sale as it is most interesting yet often confusing for buyers. From the photo you can see the exterior condition. There were also interior issues.
The seller left behind quite a bit of personal property in the interior, which we had to deal with. Also, due to dust, molds or other issues, these listings can require Hazmat.