If you’re a buyer looking for Boston condos for sale, you’ll eventually find a property you like that’s being sold through probate. These sales happen because there’s a death in a family with a Will that needs to be resolved. A probate interprets the instructions of the deceased, and there is an executor appointed that handles affairs for the trustee.

When Boston condos for sale are being sold through probate without court confirmation, the process is fairly straightforward (with a few exceptions). However, when court confirmation is required, things get more complicated.

Before you decide to pursue a property being sold in this manner, it’s important to understand what’s involved:

There will be a court date to approve the sale

A court date will be set to confirm a contract accepted by the trustee. The date is typically set about one- to two months from the time of offer acceptance (and contingency removal by the buyer).

You’ll need a cashier’s check with your offer.

A cashier’s check made out to the trustee for ten percent of the offer price is required along with the contract and proof of funds. If your offer is accepted, that check is put into an escrow account or estate account managed by the escrow company. The money sits there until the court date.

The buyer typically pays the transfer tax.

Most probate listing agents/sellers request that the buyer pay the downtown Boston transfer tax, for downtown Boston real estate.

You need to remove all contingencies prior to setting a court confirmation date.

You can write your offer with contingencies; however, you have to remove those contingencies in order for the listing agent to schedule the court confirmation. Any money spent on inspections or appraisals is at risk if your sale doesn’t go through, and you also have to be very confident in your financing, as it’s likely you won’t have time to get full loan approval before the court confirmation.

Your contract will be subject to overbidding 

This is why your Boston condo for sale may not go through. The bidding price is set by adding five percent + $500 to the accepted offer price. Another Boston condo for sale buyer has to make a minimum bid at that price. That buyer also has to have a cashier’s check on hand for the ten percent deposit of his or her offer price. And bidders can’t have contingencies in their contracts. As a bidder, you have to decide what your range will be in terms of a price offered. Some buyers arrive with a few cashier’s checks in various amounts. You can engage in bidding, as well, and also would need cashier’s checks to do so.

The highest bidder gets the Boston condo

 Let’s put it this way: If the minimum overbid is high enough, it will be a deterrent to other prospective buyers. Consider submitting an offer that will end up setting a first overbid that doesn’t look like a screaming deal.

Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs

In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.


For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.


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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.

John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
Boston, Ma 02114



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