House hunting is fun for many people, but making a decision and an offer can be stressful. When you realize that a home you love is probate real estate, you may be tempted to walk away and search for another house instead. Here's what you need to know about probate realty before you walk away without knowing all the facts.
What does "in probate" mean?
Probate realty is sometimes referred to as being "in probate" or "going through" probate court. In simple terms, it means that someone has died and the court system is trying to sort out their assets and debts for their heirs. A will makes the process run smoother because the court will know what the deceased intentions were, but it is not mandatory.
How does probate court affect a buyer?
The buyer is not personally affected by the probate court. They do not have to attend a hearing or address the court. They make an offer on the probate real estate through their real estate agent and it is presented to the executor of the deceased's estate. If the executor is happy with the offer, they inform the court and the sale moves forward like any traditional sale. The process of informing the court is the only extra step and may delay finalizing the offer.
Is a house cheaper because it is in probate?
While everyone wants to think that a house going through the probate process can be purchased for a steal, it is not likely the case. Probate is not typically considered a distressed sale. Distressed sales, or houses that need to be sold quickly, are more often homes where the owner has relocated out-of-state, is getting divorced, or even is facing foreclosure. When the owner dies, their heirs are not always in a rush to sell. In fact, they may wish to hold out for more money or hold on to the house for just a little longer for emotional reasons.
Is buying a house in probate a bad decision?
Buying a house that is going through probate is neither a bad decision nor a good decision. If you like the house, make an offer. Probate real estate simply means there is an extra step or two in the closing process, but that should not factor into your decision-making process.
While buying probate realty does take a little longer due to the extra step of informing the court of the offer, it should not be a process that you as a buyer shy away from.
Contact a probate brokerage for more information.