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Selling A Home In Probate?

How to respond to the Notice of Proposed Action

You have received a notice of proposed action in a probate real estate sale… now what do you do?  You have options.

Generally the notice says that you have until a date (15 days after the notice is mailed) by which you must object to the sale terms. In fact, you can object until escrow closes, even if after 15 days, but better to object right away in most cases.

So you can object, consent or do nothing.

Should you object?  Each case is different.

The Possible Result of an Objection

By objecting you create a Court auction. A Court auction costs money. There will be Court costs (likely close to $500 to file the petition to confirm the sale) and attorney fees (the probate attorney is entitled to extraordinary fees for work done related to real estate sales). For example, if you are a 50% beneficiary of an estate each dollar spent is coming half out of your pocket. To ballpark it let’s say it costs $3,000 between fees and costs to do a petition to confirm sale that would mean $1,500 coming out of your pocket.

Will the probate Court auction earn more money?  Sometimes yes and sometimes no. In my experience the majority of cases do NOT get overbids at Court and thus the first bid is ultimately sold to at the original price.

Worse yet, especially in recent years when the real estate market was falling, many deals fell out of escrow when a Court auction was created. However, things are better now and that’s less likely. A concern still though.

On the other hand maybe by objecting the executor of the estate will go back to the buyer and try to get a few thousand more if that will satisfy you. Life is a negotiation!

Can you do anything to encourage more bids at Court? The Court auction is literally a public auction governed by the probate Judge. Anybody can show up and bid. Advertising in a legal newspaper is required but that only gets investors who actually read those ads. If you want real buyers you need to tell Realtors, tell friends, take out pretty ads in the real estate section of the paper, etc…. Marketing 101!

At the end of the auction the Judge says “going once, going twice… SOLD.”

In the end, as stated above, each case is different.

Let’s talk about YOUR case specifically!

-John Palley