How to Sell a Vacant Property in Probate


Trying to manage the Estate of a beloved one who has passed away can often be tough because of the emotions involved. During such a sensitive and painful time, it’s helpful to deal with property selling smoothly and quickly without any unexpected situations. Unfortunately, you can’t compare a regular house sale to probate property, as it is a lot more complicated than other estate cases.

Every state has adopted different laws according to probate; however, everywhere you go, you will face detailed regulations and rules on documents, deadlines, specific orders, and procedures to follow. At first glance, it may seem to be an overwhelming process, so let’s take a look at the topic and clarify it a little. Below, you can learn about how to sell a vacant property in probate.

What is a Probate Sale

According to the specialists from Probate Advance, “With a probate sale, the owner of the property died and didn’t leave a will to anyone. To complete the probate process, the personal representative or estate attorney will need to sell the property. The proceeds from the sale will be distributed to the heirs after all debts and taxes are paid.” 

A probate sale is usually a long-lasting process, depending on the court supervising the transaction. Due to the paperwork, permissions, exceptions, and obstacles encountered on the way, many people decide to make the task easier by hiring an estate attorney to run through the process.

Things to Consider 

If you are the administrator of the loved one’s Estate, there is quite a big responsibility. Here is why. Depending on the family size, the interests regarding the house, and ideas on how to divide the house equally, the probate process can take years until it’s ready to sell, taking into account all the legal issues and possible family disagreements.

Another thing to consider – is there a mortgage on the property? If so, all the payments will have to be made until the house is sold or the mortgage is fully paid.  

Not to mention all the administrative and probate fees you need to be prepared for, which will accumulate during this whole long-lasting probate process.

How It Works

If the property wasn’t left to an heir, the estate executor would be tasked with handling the home’s sale. The potential buyer must provide a deposit according to the offer. Before the court approves it, there is a possibility to beat the offer with a higher proposal for the property. As soon as the process is completed, you can request that the house be inspected before the final sale. The proceeds of the sale will instead be used to pay any outstanding debts, with the remaining balances going to the heirs, as mentioned in the will.

Because of the red tape involved in the whole process, it’s hard to compare it to a regular Estate procedure. However, buyers willing to go through long waiting times and lack of insurance in the form of contingencies may benefit from lower rates and frequently undervalued assets.

What You Should Do

In the beginning, you should check if the probate property is insured and, if so, the current company’s policy regarding continuing the insurance payments. You should not forget to mention to the insurance company that the house is awaiting probate – the costs may be different then.

Also, check the condition of the house and the quality of security. Hide or remove valuable items, make sure the windows and back doors are correctly locked. It’s also good to visit the property regularly to make sure it’s well-secured. If the place has some repair needs, renovations will surely help you sell the house faster and add extra value.

“Any items that you think may be worth a significant amount of money will need to be properly valued. These will contribute to the overall value of the Estate.” says experts from co-op legal services.

You should also check the situation with the current property’s utility bills. If the house is empty, consider disconnecting the utilities or keep them connected for house viewings. 

The Bottom Line

Dealing with house selling can be hard; that’s why many people rely on complete probate services; however, if you want to do it alone, take care is it is easy to make mistakes.

There are some common misunderstandings when it comes to selling properties in probate. Hopefully, the guide we provided above will help you get through the procedure smoothly and problem-free.