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Navigating A Home Sale Through Probate Takes Patience And Some Thinking On Your Feet
October 25, 2019
Navigating A Home Sale Through Probate Takes Patience And Some Thinking On Your Feet

Probate is the legal process that takes place after the owner dies. For the dependents, it’s a painful process, involving sensitivities, sentimentalism, and, of course, sadness. Probate usually rules when a valid will is in force. Alternatively, it’s the process of an intestate death (where the owner never left a will behind).

Either way, there are others in the mix overseeing the result with a vested interest known as beneficiaries or distributees (i.e., with wills or without wills, respectively).

A brief overview of the probate process in New York

When a will is involved

The beneficiaries get legal ownership of the home once the will’s executor files the paperwork in the appropriate New York State Surrogate’s Court. Once the judge is satisfied with its validity, sees a probate petition and a death certificate copy alongside, the executor can distribute the assets.

Intestate situations are different.

They require the Surrogate’s Court to issue Letters of Administration, permitting home sale receipt distributions based on a set formula as follows:  

  • A spouse collects the first $50,000 and half of the remaining balance.
  • The children collect the remainder of the estate. 
  • If only a spouse or only children are descendants, they get 100% of the proceeds.  
  • No spouse or children? Assets pass to the decedent’s parents.
  • None of the above? The decedent’s siblings are the beneficiaries.
  • Intestate laws vary from state to state. So if ownership rights cross over to many states, each applies its rules to the property in question.

The sale of a home after death where a valid will is present

The will defines ownership rights of all assets, including real estate. Once the judge grants the executor permission as described above, the beneficiaries are free to sell the home in the same manner as any other sale.

The probate period depends on the will’s complexity, the estate size, and the court venue.

In New York, the executor has the power, with the court’s permission, to sell a home while in probate. Typically it happens when there isn’t enough liquidity in the estate to satisfy the decedent’s legitimate debts. The last-mentioned are payable before distributing assets as per the will. 

Personal property – such as stocks, mutual funds, vehicles, or jewelry – are often sold first to satisfy debts.

However, where there is still not enough cash to pay off all of the decedent’s debts, the executor may petition the court for permission to sell the real estate. Here’s where the rules kick in again:

  • The first step to selling a home in probate in New York is to obtain a property appraisal through a local realtor or certified appraiser.
  • Then, the executor secures approval from the court. 
  • The petition must detail the intended method of sale and the information from the appraisal.
  • Once the court grants the petition, the property is eligible for sale.

Selecting the traditional realtor route (as the intended method) involves a whole range of actions associated with their methodologies. Their position can be rigid.

The executor, trying to put his or her best foot forward, follows realtor instructions. It requires attending to pre-sale improvements and hunkering down for a two month plus process, as follows:

  • Addressing curb appeal.
  • Attending to repairs
  • Decluttering the home.
  • Staging it for show days and walkthroughs.

When an unconditional offer is in, it ‘s only the beginning

All-cash offers with no mortgage conditions from home buyers at large is a tall order:

  • Executors follow a protocol to obtain the best price for the home via court prescribed newspaper advertisements, so the public is aware that the home is open for bidding. 
  • The starting price (SP) is the offer + 5% + $500, giving anyone unobstructed entry. 
  • Final acceptance requires a hearing before the court, where interested parties can bid from the SP up. 
  • Only cash offers are accepted (i.e., no contingencies involved like mortgage acceptance), with a substantial non-refundable deposit required. Closings generally take another 15 days. 
  • The big bugbear, of course, is obtaining an unconditional offer.

Homebuyers notoriously insert contingencies in their offers that require home inspections and success in securing a mortgage. Both of these items can deflect an initial offer to lower values or knock it for a permanent loop.

The homebuyer offer that pivots the court’s next moves has to be hasslefree. It also must be one that the offeree is forced to stand by through the next phase of the process if the court cannot solicit a better number.

It’s easy to see how complicated probate selling is, and going around in a non-conclusive circle is a possibility. It will only cost money and deplete resources.

The sale of a home where the decedent dies intestate

The procedure is similar to that of the probate process. The administrator (the parallel of the executor) will need to get an appraisal, list the home for sale, advertise it, and wait for an offer. In this case, however, there’s no post-offer bidding – only a waiting period for the court to finalize the sale. There are sometimes title issues that the court cuts trough and clears up.

How can DealHouse help with a Probate sale?

Are you an executor or an administrator of real estate in Long Island? Does the real estate happen to be in Suffolk or Nassau counties in cities like Islip, Islandia, Babylon, Holtsville, Holbrook, or any city in the list below? If so, we can help.

  • The estate you represent may not have the cash available to renovate cosmetic and severe disrepair inside and outside the home. 
  • Traditional selling with obstructions like this in the mix can result in no initiating offer forthcoming. 
  • Obtaining the support of a realtor that’s committed to your project is also problematic. These marketers opt for the line of least resistance, where the home looks at its best. They sometimes even insist on staging it.
  • Indeed, if you can get a realtor to sell a probate home in disrepair, it’s likely that the eventual best-offer will be well under assessment. Homebuyers generally can’t see past poor aesthetics. 

DealHouse should be your first port of call. 

The executor or administrator can define the method of sale (a court requirement) along the DealHouse lines as follows: 

  • We’ll inspect the home with our professional assessor looking for broken windows, holes in the sheetrock, mold, foundation issues, and HVAC defects. 
  • The stabilizing factor is that sub-standard curb appeal, clutter, and all the repairs that link into getting walkthrough-ready for realtor cooperation, disappear without value penalty. 
  • Our top line should connect to fair value and your mandatory assessment, minus all reasonable costs. 
  • Gone are all the other “clean up” expenses and realtor commission (as high as 6%). So, you’ll have a stand-up offer with zero contingencies in your hands to present to the court within twenty-four hours.

Even if there are the resources to follow the traditional sales route, we may still be your best bet. Bypassing all the realtor-connected expenses and hoping to obtain an offer from some homebuyer with no inspection or mortgage conditions attached is a stretch.

If our offer is reasonable (and it will be), the court leverages the submission to see if the public is ready to outbid what’s on the table. Probate is difficult enough. Let the DealHouse offer get the ball rolling for you, and be a stable fallback position at the same time. 

DealHouse is an effective, although alternative real estate option 

We provide home sellers, in probate or otherwise, a viable opportunity to sell their homes at fair value.

We pay cash without losing sight of comps in your neighborhood in similar locations. Once we inspect the premises, and the offer is submitted, there’s no falloff possibility. You can rely on it to get things closed without a long sales process and interim expenses.

If you are hesitant to move off the traditional home marketing platform, look at what our satisfied customers have to say. If you can’t accept the concept of fair cash offers in days, not months, look at the Google searches generated daily for verification. The following are only a few examples:

  •  how best to sell your house
  • need to sell my home fast]  
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The DealHouse benefits are creating a stir that’s undeniable. Our transparency is clear to all relevant parties and every frequently asked question is addressed with the highest regard. Again, go no further than our client reviews for ultimate peace of mind. 

Contact us, and we’ll be there within hours to make an onsite inspection. You’ll have a cash offer for probate or any other purposes that nothing can disrupt soon after that. You’ll be impressed with a fair and transparent market valuation that’s in line with comps in your neighborhood. 

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