Everything You Need to Know About Probate Sales

Everything You Need to Know About Probate Sales

In the weeks and months after a loved one dies, there are many things to do and decisions to make. One of the last things people think about is selling their relative’s home. Here's your guide to selling a house in probate. Whether you've inherited the house or are the executor of the estate, there are many steps involved in selling it. It’s helpful to understand the process and know what to expect when you're ready to sell your relative's home. 

For most people, selling a house is a stressful and complicated process. There are several considerations to take into account, like negotiating a fair price and the act of moving. When you're selling your property during probate, this process can become even more fraught and difficult. Here’s a quick guide of things that you need to know about buying or selling property during probate, including what a probate sale means and some insight about the process.

What is a Probate Sale?

A probate sale is a court process that’s used to settle the estate of a person who has died. The probate process is used by the courts in all states to settle the estate of a decedent. The house and other assets are often sold and the proceeds are distributed to beneficiaries. These beneficiaries could be their spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, and more.  

During the probate process, a court determines which assets should go to which beneficiaries according to the terms of the last will and testament, or the laws of the state where the probate court is located. The probate process varies by state.

In the context of real estate, the probate sale meaning refers to the sales of real property in probate. It is the act of selling an inherited home after a loved one dies. 

When is Probate Necessary?

The rules of when probate house sale is necessary vary based on the total size of your loved one’s estate, whether they had a will in place when they died, and where they lived. Generally, probate is necessary when:

  • A loved one dies with a will and the court must implement certain provisions of their will

  • A loved one passes away without a will

  • If the total estate is larger than a set threshold for your state

Most states have special provisions in place to simplify the probate process for small estates. If your loved one’s spouse or other relative lives in the home and doesn’t plan to sell it, they might be allowed to pay taxes on it and live there. This depends on where they live and other aspects of the estate. 

Additionally, there are ways to structure a will to avoid the probate process. If you have any questions about whether your loved one’s estate needs to go through probate, it is best to schedule a consultation with an estate lawyer or financial advisor to ask questions about the specific process that should be used in your loved one’s estate. This includes setting up a revocable living trust.

How to Sell a House During Probate

Once you know that you need to sell your house during probate, you’ll need to prepare yourself for the process. The state probate process varies, so depending on which state the estate is being settled in there will be different steps to selling a house. Depending on the size of the estate, the experience of those involved, and how quickly it is needed, this process can take from several months to several years. 

To sell a house, you must be an heir or executor. There are different ways to sell a house in probate, depending on the estate and the situation. In some states you must wait for probate to close before selling a house. Some states allow you to sell real estate before probate is closed, which is what many people do.

Steps in the Probate Real Estate Process

While the process varies based on the state the inherited home is located, some general steps in the probate real estate process you can expect are:

1. Filing the Will with the Court System

Your loved one’s will needs to be filed with the relevant court system where they lived and owned property. For small estates, this step might be more of a formality. However, it is an important step because it grants the executors powers to make decisions and act on behalf of the deceased to pay debts and sell the property.

At this point, the court may appoint a probate attorney to help with the process. Depending on how the will was structured and your loved one’s wishes, sometimes family members can inherit the home and do not need to sell it. Once it’s their property, they can sell an inherited home in the same manner that they would sell their own house or choose to live in it.

2. Inventorying Assets and Liabilities

The executors need to analyze the property and belongings to determine their value. Assets include anything of value, such as bank accounts, property, or stock. Liabilities refer to any debt that needs to be paid. These debts may include taxes owed, funeral expenses, and outstanding loans.

3. Liquidating the Estate

The executors execute the will and sell all of the assets in the estate to pay debts. If there is any remaining property, they might choose to liquidate it to divide the proceeds among beneficiaries or give them the property itself, as outlined in the will. 

4. Paying Debts and Taxes

Taxes are generally paid immediately regardless of the state. For instance, property taxes should still be paid while the property is in probate. Then, the estate will pay any debts, including medical bills, mortgage payments, and funeral expenses as well as outstanding loans. Most states allow debts to be paid by estate funds throughout the process.

5. Closing Your Loved One’s Estate

The final step in the probate real estate process is to close the estate and file the final paperwork. This requires collecting balances from creditors, distributing property that was left to beneficiaries, and closing any bank accounts. Some estates will require an accounting if they are large enough, which shows where funds went. Estate taxes might need to be paid at this time as well.

Things to Know About Probate When Selling Property

The probate sale real estate  process can be lengthy and frustrating. However, there are some things to know when inheriting a house in probate that can make the process easier:

1. Most Estates Don’t Pay a Federal Estate Tax

Most estates do not reach the threshold of the federal estate tax. According to the IRS, estates of individuals with combined gross assets of $12,060,000 or more in 2022 must file an estate tax return. However, the sale of real estate could have tax implications so it is important to work with a reputable estate lawyer or real estate company to ensure that the estate remains compliant with tax laws.

2. You Can’t Sell Property You Don’t Own

It may seem obvious, but you can’t sell property that you don’t own. If a loved one dies, there is a process that must take place when it comes to transitioning ownership. For example, if a loved one dies and has adult children living in the home, the adult children may not be able to sell the house unless it goes through a probate process to transition ownership.

3. Expectations on Value and Price

Many families simply want the process of sorting through a loved one’s estate to be over as quickly as possible. This could make it tempting to accept the first offer or to reduce the price to sell the house fast. Some states have laws in place that require the home to be sold for at least a set percentage of the appraisal value. 

4. The Home Might be the Most Valuable Part of an Estate

For many homeowners, their houses are their biggest asset and contributor to their total net worth. By selling the home, the value of the home becomes a cash asset that can be distributed to heirs. In some ways, this allows your loved one’s legacy to continue to impact your family well after they have passed.

Selling Your Inherited Home to House Buyers of America

One way to reduce the stress and emotional burden of selling a loved one’s home is to sell the house AS IS to the House Buyers of America. This is one way to sell a house without a Realtor. Instead of working with photographers, real estate brokers, buyers, and assistants to list the home and schedule open houses, you can receive a fair quote on the house quickly and move on. There is less of a hassle and it’s a much faster process.

Unlike with a traditional buyer, you won’t have to pay for expansive renovations or repairs to get the inherited home ready to sell on the market. Instead, we’ll take your home as it is.

To get started, call us at 855-659-3289 or fill out our online form to get a cash offer today. Our team of real estate professionals is here to help you throughout the process.

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Cities and Counties in Maryland Where We Buy Houses Aberdeen Adelphi Annapolis Baltimore Bel-Air Beltsville Bowie Burtonsville Bushwood Catonsville Chesapeake Beach Chevy Chase Chillum Clinton Colesville College Park Columbia Crofton Darnestown Edgewater Eldersburg Elkton Essex Fells Point Fort Washington Frederick Gaithersburg Glen Burnie Greenbelt Gwynn Oak Halethorpe Havre De Grace Hyattsville Indian Head Lanham Leonardtown Lexington Park Lochearn Marlow Heights Mechanicsville Milford Mill Monkton Monrovia Montgomery County Mount Rainier Nanjemoy Olney Oxon Hill Pikesville Potomac Prince George's County Randallstown Rockville Rosedale Walkersville West River White Plains And more! We’ve worked hard to establish the best platform for quickly selling your home in Maryland. With our “We Buy Maryland Houses” program, you can quickly get your home off your hands, all for a very fair price. We’d love to chat more about finding ways to sell your Maryland property and help you achieve your long-term financial goals. Why You Should Use House Buyers of America Selling a house is stressful enough, even if you live in a very competitive state for housing like Maryland. When you add in the trials of trying to sell your house during a personal financial emergency or the emotions of an estate sale, it can be overwhelming. Let House Buyers of America buy your house; as suggested, we buy houses in Maryland and we put a lot of pride into our work. Here are just a few ways House Buyers of America can make a real difference: No Commission Yes, you read that right. House Buyers of America takes no commission when buying your home. This frees up at least 6% in the value of your home, significant savings that you can apply to your next home. With Maryland’s high real estate values, that means you could potentially save tens of thousands of dollars. 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Whatever your job transfer needs are, we offer cash for your home and we can close quickly. Buying a New House Perhaps the thought of juggling the sale of your current home and purchasing a new one at the same time in the same local market might be creating a lot of stress. Have you considered having to have your home staged and then factor in coordinating where to live after you sell? What should you do? Put a home sale contingency in an offer to purchase a new house and risk making your offer much less competitive. Or should you buy a house first and then risk not being able to sell your current house, leaving you stuck with two mortgages? This is the age-old real estate dilemma. If you’re in this situation, you’ve come to the right place! With House Buyers of America, you get a guaranteed sale of your house and we’re flexible on the closing date (and no closing costs). After the purchase agreement is signed, your home sale is covered and you can start looking for a new home without worrying about selling your existing home. Divorce Divorce can be a huge disruptor, emotionally and financially. In most cases, the divorced couple needs to sell their house fast so they can divvy up the assets and make a clean break. Many in a divorce situation look for a “sell my house fast Maryland” company so they can sell their house without having to go through the arduous process of a traditional sale. Finding a real estate agent, renovating, cleaning, and staging the house, agreeing on a list price, negotiating the terms of the contract, etc. This is normally a stressful enough task, but if you add divorce into the mix, it feels impossible. Why not pick up the phone and get an offer in 10 minutes? Or simply fill out our online form and get an offer quickly. No need to renovate, stage, select a Realtor, and deal with people traipsing through your house and losing all of your privacy for 6-12 months. Real solutions are well within reach. There is an alternative: House Buyers of America! Financial Distress Are you in a financial bind with thousands of dollars locked away in your home? Most people do not realize they can directly access the accumulated equity of their home in their hands in as little as 7 days until they contact House Buyers of America. We offer fair prices for when you need an immediate cash infusion to stave off foreclosure, bankruptcy, or whatever life throws at you. Medical Emergency, Retired, Downsizing Some of our clients are elderly and have stayed in their homes for years, but have stumbled into a medical emergency and need the equity in their homes to pay for hospital bills. When this is the case, whether you are a homeowner or a care provider, you might need to sell your Maryland home quite quickly. Others simply want a hassle-free solution for downsizing into a smaller home and want equity in their legacy home. Estate Sales House Buyers of America have also helped thousands of people who have suddenly inherited an unwanted or unneeded property. When dealing with an estate, many heirs can’t decide or agree on when to sell the house or who will take care of the paperwork, so the house is left sitting vacant and deteriorating for months or years. Estate sales can bring out the worst in people and families often get torn apart in the process. The traditional real estate process can be complicated and often doesn’t work well for estate sales. The unique estate laws that apply in Maryland can also create some additional complications. So why not try a simple, fast, and hassle-free solution that all of your family members can agree on? Get an all-cash offer in as little as 10 minutes by contacting House Buyers of America. A Fresh Start We’ve talked about several reasons you might want to sell your Maryland house to a cash buyer. Then there are those unfortunate circumstances in life that require a complete and total liquidation of your assets when you need a speedy exit from your current home and town. By getting an all-cash, guaranteed offer from House Buyers of America and getting your house sold in as little as 7 days, you get that fresh start without waiting. That’s why we continue to be the choice of people looking to “sell house fast in Maryland,” as well as other nearby states.