The process for selling California probate real estate has subtle differences compared to standard residential property sales. Sometimes, executors have leeway to conduct a sale on behalf of an estate with processes similar to what they might use to sell their own home. For more complex estates, executors may find themselves subject to a considerable amount of legal red tape and complicated court requirements. Most often, the selling process falls somewhere in between these two extremes. Legal guidance regarding compliance with the Will of the deceased and probate law is the purview of experienced probate attorneys. In this article, we’ll focus on just what a real estate broker will do differently when selling California probate real estate compared to a standard home or land sale.
Once an executor has gone through the legal preparations to sell a property and has selected a broker, the subtle changes compared to a standard sale begin with the listing contract. Forms have been simplified beginning in 2016. Instead of the old Probate Listing Agreement and Court Confirmation Addendum (both forms discontinued), brokers may now list properties using the standard Residential Listing Agreement along with a Probate Listing Addendum and Advisory. Verification of authority of the person signing the listing agreement, e.g. executor, is provided in the Representative Capacity Signature Disclosure.
Buyers will continue to use the Probate Purchase Agreement form to submit their offers instead of the standard Residential Purchase Agreement. Buyers will also submit a Probate Advisory to acknowledge the disclosure limitations applicable to probate sales, plus a Representative Capacity Signature Disclosure to confirm the authority of buyer and seller to conduct the transaction.
An important feature of the Probate Advisory is that it explains to buyer and seller the statutory exemptions that apply to probate sales that don’t apply to standard sales. These exemptions may include that the seller is not required to provide a Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement or a Mello-Roos district lien disclosure.
These are the primary form differences between a probate sale and a standard sale. Brokers who specialize in probate sales work with their seller to create a marketing plan and negotiating strategy that is tailored to the probate environment and the special needs of the estate being administered. These strategies must take into account local market conditions, the features and condition of the property, and the administrative process requirements established by the executor and attorneys representing the estate. In other words, the forms are just the starting point for selling California probate real estate.
Note: These are not the only forms used in selling California probate real estate. Many other standard forms applicable to the property type (single family, multi-family, commercial, land, etc.) are also required.
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