A Guide to Selling a House in Probate
in SF Bay Area

You’ve likely heard all kinds of horror stories about the lengthy process of dividing inheritances, battles between beneficiaries, and all kinds of strange barriers between beneficiaries and their inherited property. Thus, if you’ve inherited a house, then you may be worried about being unable to sell it in a timely manner. You need money for your deceased loved one’s property now, and no seller wants the personal responsibility of looking after a probate house for months on end while lawyers settle the estate. Unfortunately, you often cannot avoid probate, but a seller can still receive an allowable price for a probate house without waiting for a lengthy estate division process. You don’t want to waste your time or money, so take a look at this guide on selling my house in probate in SF Bay Area.

selling an inherited property in SF Bay Area

What Is a Probate Sale in SF Bay Area?

After a person has passed away, the civil court in their jurisdiction must temporarily keep their estate in probate. While an estate is in probate, lawyers, court officials, and potential beneficiaries analyze the last testament and draw plans to distribute their loved one’s personal belongings. Descendants have limited access to the estate and cannot receive an inheritance until the relevant parties finish all probate procedures.

Because probate can take a long time, many heirs choose to sell a house while it’s in probate so that they don’t have to wait to receive funds for it. Selling a house during probate is a bit more complicated than selling a house under normal circumstances. However, courts have plenty of provisions for probate house sales, and sellers can receive cash for a probate house before the process is over by following a few simple steps.

Probate Process for Selling Real Estate
in SF Bay Area

how to sell a house in probate in SF Bay Area

The first step of a formal probate sale is finding and analyzing the last testament. If a person dies with a will, then they likely have a designated executor of their estate listed in their previous testament, and the court can divide all of their estate assets in line with the document. The person in charge of the estate gains a short certificate from the probate court, which grants them the legal power to act on their loved one’s behalf, pay their debts, and divide their personal property. If the person passed intestate, then an administrator appointed by the court must locate heirs and divide the intestate estate.

Once the court appoints a personal representative, they can proceed to appraise the house to determine its fair market value. After receiving an appraisal, the person in charge of the estate may petition the clerk’s office to begin the process of marketing and selling the house. The seller must inform any interested parties that the house is in probate. In most cases, heirs must sell a house for at least 90% of its value if the house is in probate.

If an interested party makes an offer on the probate house, then the seller should arrange a court hearing to approve the sale. As the seller waits for the hearing, they can continue to advertise the probate house as long as they mention the current offer and the date of the court hearing. On the day of the hearing, interested parties can bid for the house, and the court should accept the highest bid if it exceeds 90% of the house’s fair market value.

After the house has sold, the seller must pay off the deceased person’s debts, mortgage balance, closing costs, bank fees, and other liabilities with the proceeds from the transaction. The remaining funds must sit in an estate trust until probate has concluded. At that point, the person in charge of the estate has to distribute the remaining funds from the sale and the deceased individual’s other personal assets in accordance with the court’s instructions and their loved one’s last testament. A surviving spouse who lives in the house may be able to skip the formal probate house sale process and sell the property for any price if they have rights to survivorship for the decedent’s estate.

When Can the Personal Representative Sell The Inherited Property in SF Bay Area?

can i sell my house if its in probate in SF Bay Area

After a person has passed, the court must appoint someone to be responsible for the administration of the estate. As soon as the person in charge of the estate files a petition to sell the property and locates the deed or title, they can begin the process of selling the probate property. If the court accepts the final bid, then the seller must deduct the estate’s debts and any owed income taxes from the final proceeds of the sale, and the remaining amount from the sale of the property has to stay in an estate trust until probate is over.

Can You Sell a House Before Probate Is Complete
in SF Bay Area?

As long as you can locate the deed, you can sell a house before probate is complete as long as you act with the court’s approval. However, you cannot do anything with the estate before starting probate. Even selling the smallest piece of the deceased individual’s personal property can result in serious legal and financial penalties. The seller and other beneficiaries do not receive funds from the sale of the house, their personal inheritance, or any part of the estate until probate has concluded.

Do You Need To Go Through Probate To Sell an Inherited House in SF Bay Area?

You must start probate to sell a property in SF Bay Area. Probate courts work to divide estates fairly, and all rightful beneficiaries should receive an inheritance once the process is over. You can sell a property and other assets of the estate in probate, but sellers must act in compliance with the court’s rules.

Probate House Sale Issues in SF Bay Area

Difficulty Determining Who Is Responsible for the Estate

The court requires an administrator or executor to proceed with a probate home sale. However, different people may appeal to the court to represent their loved one’s estate. This process can be costly and time-consuming. You will likely have to hire a skilled attorney if someone contests the executorship.

Marketing the House

Courts require sellers to make it clear that the house is in probate. Buying a home in probate is a lengthy process and can be very risky. Consequently, people are less likely to buy houses in probate, so you may have to wait a long time to find an interested buyer.

Selling the House for Market Price

Sometimes, the court’s appraised value doesn’t reflect the realities of your market. Even if other neighborhoods have seen high sales, people may not want to buy your house for its appraised price. The court requires sellers to list the house for at least 90% of its appraised price, so you might have to turn away several offers that don’t match this requirement if you’re in a bad market.

Options To Consider When Selling an Inherited
House in SF Bay Area

if i sell my inherited property is it taxable in SF Bay Area

Listing the Probate Home With a SF Bay Area Real Estate Agent

Most sellers use real estate agents to help find people to buy their homes. A real estate agent’s job is to market the home online, communicate with interested parties, and make it presentable to potential buyers. However, real estate agents take hefty commissions once they’ve closed on a probate house. The seller also has to pay any fees before finalizing the sale of the probate estate.

This may not leave trustees with sufficient funds to cover their loved one’s liabilities, capital gains tax from selling the house, or past-due accounts. Real estate agents can’t guarantee a sale, so you might have to wait for a very long time to receive money for the probate property. Thus, before proceeding with a realtor, whoever represents the deceased may want to take other options into consideration if they need money as soon as possible.

Selling the Inherited Property to a Family Member in SF Bay Area

A private sale to a friend or family member is cheaper and quicker than a sale with a realtor. However, probate courts require homes to sell for no less than 90% of their market value. On top of that, the buyer needs to wait until the seller completes all of the relevant processes with the probate court. Due to the volatility of handling an estate in probate, banks are usually less willing to approve mortgages for probate homes, so the buyer may have a hard time receiving financing from lenders.

Selling a SF Bay Area Inherited House As-Is to a Cash Home Buyer

Investors buy houses in all conditions. As long as the seller has the title and is following the court’s procedures, a cash home buyer should be happy to buy their loved one’s house. We Buy Houses in SF Bay Area buys mobile homes, land, and all kinds of other properties. Even rundown properties, properties with personal belongings, or properties with poor qualifications can still fetch a fair price from an investor.

Cash house buyers have straightforward processes and contracts, so the seller doesn’t have to worry about any surprises. On top of that, they cover all fees so that sellers have more funds to pay off creditors. Investors like to buy houses as swiftly as possible, and they’ve bought homes that have needed all kinds of repairs. With their help, you won’t have to pay for maintenance or insurance for months on end while you try to find an interested buyer. A cash house buyer’s efficient process may also help you quickly sell a house in foreclosure.

Probate House Sale FAQs

should i sell my inherited house in SF Bay Area

Can You Sell a House Without Going Through Probate
in SF Bay Area?

You cannot sell a house without at least starting probate if that person has already passed. If they are still alive but cannot make decisions for themselves, then you may be able to sell their house in accordance with the specific details of their living trust. Sellers must not try to sell a probate property without informing the court and following all relevant procedures. The court would rule any sale that doesn’t align with probate rules invalid, and the seller would likely face severe legal penalties for conducting an unlawful transaction.

Can You Live in a House During Probate?

If you were living in the house at the time of the person’s death and were not the seller, then you likely have survivorship rights. This means that you can live in the house unless it sells during the probate process. In that case, you may still be able to stay in the house for a certain amount of time while you try to relocate in accordance with local tenants’ rights laws.

Can You Empty a House Before Probate?

Probate exists to fairly divide a person’s assets among their heirs after they’ve passed away so that everyone receives their rightful inheritance. For this reason, heirs and other descendants cannot empty a house before probate has started or concluded. Taking items from the property is theft, and you can expect serious criminal penalties if you take willed or unwilled personal items from a probate property without the court’s permission. In some situations, a court may allow the executor to store personal items that would be at risk of damage or depreciation if they were to stay in the property until the conclusion of probate. Certain survivors may also be able to take estate assets before probate is over if they have an estate affidavit.

How Long Does It Take To Sell a House in Probate?

The speed of selling a property in probate depends on a variety of factors. The average probate process takes over two months, and it can take the court even longer if there are any disputes with the executorship. On top of that, probate courts have to settle countless estates every day, and managing so many estates can take a lot of time, so you may have to wait for long periods between court dates. To make matters worse, securing titles and finding an interested buyer can take several months.

Unfortunately, many people don’t want to deal with the process of buying a probate house, so the seller might not find a buyer for a long time. This is why cash house buyers are so convenient. They’ll happily commit to buying a house and paying costly closing fees while the seller and other beneficiaries take time to divide the estate via the probate process.

Do All Descendants Need To Agree To Sell an Inherited Property?

Thankfully, not everyone in a person’s last testament has to agree to the sale of estate property. The executor of the estate must simply send a notice to siblings and other survivors indicating that they plan on selling their parents’ property unless any estate planning documentation indicates otherwise. If the seller finds someone who is willing to buy the probate property, then the other people in the last testament should receive their share of the proceeds minus any of the estate’s outstanding debts owed to creditors after all probate procedures are over. Thankfully, SF Bay Area does not levy an inheritance tax, so beneficiaries don’t have to worry about any costly personal expenses or taxation problems after the probate home has sold.

We Buy House In probate in SF Bay Area Areas

Our fast home sale service gives you advantages that pay off in profits to you. We are a local company that buys houses and land as professional cash home buyers, not agents or brokers. You can sell your house During Divorce for cash in SF Bay Area. Our goal is to serve homeowners with a simple selling experience and provide a financial solution for sellers. You can start to sell your house During Divorce in SF Bay Area and surrounding areas by calling us or filling in the online form. Within days, you can schedule a closing date and get cash for your house during a divorce.

The Easiest Way To Sell Your Home In Probate

You’re in the driver’s seat when you accept our cash offer for your house. We make the process simple, fast, and easy to follow when working with us. You have no obligation to accept our cash offer for your home when contacting us for a fair cash offer for your home. No matter the reason you want to sell your house, we want to buy your home as is. Remember that you get many benefits that include no real estate agent commissions, no cleaning, no improvements, and no stress. Our cash offer for your as-is house assures you of fast cash payment at closing with a reputable Title company. You can count on our company to give you a fair cash offer for your home! If you’re still thinking, “I need to sell my house fast”, calling us could be your best decision all day. 🙂

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Gagan Saini

Author: Saini

My name is Saini, and I founded the We Buy Houses in SF Bay Area team with years of experience in the real estate industry. I have assisted numerous sellers in selling their homes quickly, “AS-IS”, and for a fair price.

He’s been featured in multiple publications including Yahoo Finance, GoBankingRates, LegalZoom, The Mortgage Report, Apartment Therapy, US News and World Report, and SuperMoney among others.