Estate Sales and things you need to know while selling or buying them…

I’ve worked with many estate sales over the years and, like most real estate transactions, they have their own issues to be aware of – and there are many times very individual circumstances to navigate. Just a couple of months ago I helped a client buy their very first home in a north Seattle neighborhood and we dealt with a situation where an attorney had been given court approval to sell a property on behalf of a disabled adult child whose mother had passed away this year.

[photopress:john_doe.jpg,thumb,alignright] There are several ways in that a home may be sold after an owner dies.  Sometimes an executor of the estate is called out in the will and they may legally sell the home.  In this case the “seller

2 thoughts on “Estate Sales and things you need to know while selling or buying them…

  1. I didn’t do much probate stuff in my days as a lawyer, but I believe if the executor has “non-intervention” powers then you don’t need to get the specific sale approved (but you probably do need some order authorizing the executor to sell–but that can be done early on, even before listing.) We did an estate listing earlier this year where everything was normal except for the review of an attorney and an issue that arose when one of the heirs could not be located.

    My area was bankruptcy, and there every sale needs to be approved by the court, and it can’t typically be done in advance. So the purchase and sale agreement needs to specify that it’s subject to court approval. Bankruptcy trustees are also exempt from Form 17, but a Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 debtor probably wouldn’t be.

    The main thing from a buyer’s point of view is to realize decisions may take a bit longer. For one thing, since an attorney will probably be involved in any of these matters, expect no decisions to be made on weekends.

    One other point on this area. I think a lot of people think that estate sales (and maybe bankruptcy sales) are likely to be at better prices. To the extent that’s true it’s probably just due to the condition of the property, so it’s not really a deal. The only reason I know that either would be cheaper would be in the estate sale situation you may have several heirs, and for them each $10,000 price reduction might mean only $2,000 less (if there are five of them). That might make them more inclined to accept a reduced offer, depending on the circumstances. Otherwise, I’m not sure why these properties would ever be a bargain. Stated differently, rather than go out looking for estate sale property, it’s probably better just to know what you need to do if you find a house you love and it happens to be owned by an estate.

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