Gail M. Travers
Your Bay Area RE/MAX Realtor
Office Phone: (510)272-9072    EFax: (510) 295-2686
Probate Real Estate Sales in California

Probate real estate sales in California can be simple or complex, depending upon your specific situation.  And there are usually many other details to manage in an estate, besides the sale of real property.  As an Administrator or Executor of an estate, what do you do first?  Can you handle things on your own, or do you need an attorney?  What do you do with all the personal property? Can you sell the home before probate closes?

There is no substitution for professional legal advice. However, there are a number of good resources, for the information you need to get started. California Association of Realtors provides a 5-page handout, called their Probate Q&A, answering the most frequently asked questions, relating to probate real estate sales in California. For a more thorough understanding of the process in a simple probate, I recommend How to Probate an Estate in California, by Nolo Press. By simple, I mean an estate which doesn't require court confirmation for sale of estate assets, such as real estate.

Usually, if there's a will, or only a few heirs, most estates will not require court oversight, although all probates are reviewed by the presiding Probate Judge. But to be sure what's needed in your situation, you should check with an attorney. A good estate attorney can save you a lot of time, in negotiating the court process, and more money than they will cost in fees, especially when there is real estate to be sold. Without attorney involvement, the sale of probate real estate typically requires court confirmation, which can reduce the pool of available buyers and affect ultimate sale price.

If you decide you can handle things without an attorney, I recommend you at least work with a service, who specializes in preparing and filing the necessary probate paperwork. If you Google "legal document preparer" for your area, you'll be able to locate those companies, who can help. Their staff won't provide any legal advice, but they're familiar with the probate process and what forms need to be filed, and when. They're also usually acquainted with the local probate clerks and able to handle filing the completed forms, although the filing fees are additional to the cost for their services.

When you're ready to sell the estate real property, working with a Realtor who specializes in probate sales will be invaluable. Someone who understands both the probate process and the real estate market, will ensure a smooth escrow, as well as sale of the home at a top price. Even if you're working with an attorney, you'll want a Realtor who's able to effectively coordinate with your attorney, to satisfy all legal requirements for the sale. There are certain exemptions to standard sale requirements, provided for by California Probate Code, which you will want your Realtor to know. And someone who specializes in probate sales will be in a better position to assist with disposition of personal property, as well as preparation of the home for sale.

I offer my clients 16 years of experience, with real estate sales within Probate, Trust and Conservatorship. Over the years, I’ve successfully closed nearly 200 such escrows. I’m actively working with clients throughout the greater Bay Area, assisting with all aspects of preparation and sale of estate properties, including help with disposition of personal property. Should the estate property be underwater on its mortgage, I also offer experience with probate short sales and how to acquire monies for the estate, through approved short sale of the estate real property. Many estate properties have reverse mortgages, with specific timeline requirements, for sale and settlement of the outstanding mortgage balance. Whatever the needs of your estate, I offer the experience needed to successfully guide you through the process of sale of the home, and I would be happy to talk with you about your options.


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P.O. Box 2526 • Berkeley, CA 94702-0526
Office Phone: (510)272-9072 • EFax: (510) 295-2686
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