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Sell as-is or rehab? What to consider when selling a probate property

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2021 | Probate

Selling your loved one’s property during probate is very different than any traditional real estate sale. For one, the California probate court may be involved in the process and may ultimately have to approve the sale. There are several other steps you may have to take as well, depending on the authority you have.

Whether your loved one’s will instructs you to sell the house, or there is no will and a sale is necessary to pay the remaining debts, one of the most common worries individuals have in these cases involves the condition of the house.

Do I make repairs to the house or sell it as-is?

Your loved one’s house might be older construction and have an outdated design. It might even be what many people call a fixer-upper.

The housing market can be fickle, and dealing with the sale of an old house on top of probate proceedings can be tough. After all, most sellers try to fix up their houses before listing them to improve curb appeal and get a better resale value.

Rehabilitation is an option for some homes. However, repairs can be a challenge in a probate sale. For example:

  • Older houses might require considerable repairs and rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitating a property can take a lot of time – and money – that you might not have
  • Repairs might inadvertently cover up defects or foundational issues that could be a risk

This is why most probate properties in California are sold “as-is.” That way, you can list the probate property without making repairs, and generally, you are not responsible for any problems buyers may find down the line since they purchased the property as-is. This option is also more common because it is unlikely that you lived in your loved one’s home, and therefore do not have the same knowledge of potential problems it may have.

Of course, you must clear the house of any personal effects and other assets. You can also make small repairs and clean the house up for the listing. But full rehabilitation of the property is not always necessary, even if it is a fixer-upper.

So, what should I do?

Generally, whether you sell your loved one’s house as-is or rehabilitate it depends on your circumstances and the condition of your loved one’s home. It is often beneficial to consult an experienced probate and estate administration attorney who can help:

  • Analyze the property and determine which option is best for you
  • File the proper paperwork with the court, send notices to beneficiaries
  • Make sure the sale meets all of the conditions outlined in the Probate Code
  • Obtain an appraisal of the property

Managing all of the details of probate as well as selling a house can be overwhelming. However, it is possible with knowledgeable guidance.

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