Stein Posner’s Guide to Probate Real Estate in Florida

May 17, 2018

Homes going through probate require specialized expertise to settle the affairs of the estate, while protecting all parties involved. A personal representative who is tasked with overseeing the estate on behalf of a decedent’s family will need a real estate professional who understands the unique aspects of the probate process, and who can ensure that any real estate that needs to be sold will be done successfully and with a maximum outcome for the estate.

For buyers, probate properties that are in need of upgrades can often be hidden treasures. Florida is consistently ranked as one the most popular places for people to retire, and more retirees translates to more properties going through probate. Therefore, there are ample opportunities for buyers to purchase a home going through probate.

In order to better serve our real estate family, our brokerage has developed expertise over the years dealing with properties in probate throughout South Florida. Our agents are committed to ensuring a smooth transaction for both buyers and sellers. Most importantly, we are dedicated to doing so with compassion and care, particularly for sellers who often must navigate the process while grieving the loss of a loved one. To educate both of these groups, we’re sharing some important information about the probate process that buyers and home sellers should know.

Buying a Home Through Probate

When a home’s owner passes away and he or she is the sole individual named on the deed, the probate court may assign the residence to a personal representative. If the homeowner had a will that expressly allowed the personal representative to sell the residence, he or she will be able to do so. Otherwise, a court order will need to be obtained to list the property. Once the home is on the market, interested buyers can locate these listings with help from a real estate professional just as with any other available home.

When purchasing a home through probate, the process may be lengthier due to probate court requirements, though not always. The buyer in this unique kind of transaction may also be required to make a 10% down payment, which is not always refundable. Additionally, the buyer may need to have the sale confirmed by the court at a hearing in order for the title to be transferred. Finally, conducting a home inspection is potentially even more important when buying a probate property. These homes may call for more upgrades or repairs than the average listing if they have been neglected. While this is not always the case, it is important to consider this possibility when crafting a budget.

Selling a Probate Property

For those who have been identified as the personal representative of an estate, navigating the probate process to sell the property can likewise present some unexpected challenges. First, the personal representative or beneficiary of the estate will likely have to petition the probate court to sell the property. If the deceased’s will names the personal representative and gives that individual the power to sell, this step may not be deemed necessary or expedited. The court may also require that an appraisal be completed before the property can be listed for sale.

When the time does come to sell, the home will be marketed like any other property, however, there are multiple steps to prepare the property for the market, including repairs and clean out of personal possession. A skilled professional, such as at Stein Posner, will be that trusted resource. Marketing the home may also mean devising a custom, multi-faceted marketing plan that will ensure the property gets optimum exposure to capture the highest market value based on the condition.

Another aspect that may need to be taken after an offer has been accepted by the personal representative is preparing a contract, which may need to be approved by the probate court, depending on the timing of the probate process.

In this scenario, once the contract and sale are confirmed, the sale can be executed. The proceeds will be considered an asset of the estate, which may be utilized to satisfy debts owed by the decedent or be distributed to beneficiaries.

Interested in learning more about buying or selling probate real estate in Florida? Our real estate professionals are here to help. Contact our office today to get answers to your questions, and get the buying or selling process started!