Boston condos for sale via Probate court

Boston condos for sale via Probate court

Picture this: the dust has barely settled after the passing of a loved one, and in addition to navigating the emotional turmoil, you’re thrust into handling their estate assets. Among these is their house, a considerable asset that will likely play a crucial role in settling any debts they may have left behind. Suddenly you’re facing a labyrinth of complex legalities and questions – can you sell it? If so, when? Get ready to dig into the essential guide on ‘Selling a Home in Probate: What You Need to Know’. Your journey through the convoluted world of probate real estate dealings starts here. Prepare to demystify what many see as a daunting process, and emerge well-equipped to handle such situations should they arise.

In most cases, a home can be sold while it is in probate; however, the process can be complicated and requires court approval. The exact timeline for selling a home in probate will depend on state laws and various other factors. It is recommended that you work closely with a probate attorney or real estate agent who has experience in this area to ensure that the process goes smoothly.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process that ensures an individual’s assets are distributed in accordance with their will, or if they die intestate (without a valid will), the laws of the state where they reside. The probate process involves many steps, including validating the deceased’s will, identifying and inventorying all of their assets and debts, paying off any outstanding debts or taxes, and distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries.

During probate, a court supervises the executor of the estate – the person named in the will responsible for carrying out its provisions – to ensure that everything is done according to state law and the terms of the will. The executor must pay off any outstanding debts or bills owed by the deceased from their estate before distributing assets to beneficiaries.

Probate can be a complicated process, especially when it comes to real estate. It can take months or even years to complete, and in some cases, can cost a significant amount of money. This is why many people choose to plan ahead by creating trusts or using other estate planning tools to avoid probate altogether.

One downside of probate is that it can involve significant delay and expense. During probate, assets like a home cannot be sold until after court approval, which can add several months to an already lengthy process. Additionally, there may be costs associated with hiring attorneys or taking other legal actions during probate.

However, there are some benefits to undergoing probate. For example, it provides an opportunity for claims from creditors or other parties who may have been overlooked in the will to be addressed before assets are distributed to beneficiaries.

Think of probate like completing your taxes – you’re going through a process of accounting for everything you own and determining how it should be distributed upon your death. Just like working with a tax preparer can help minimize your tax liability, working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help ensure that your assets are distributed efficiently and that any taxes or debts are paid off promptly.

Now that we’ve covered what probate is, let’s explore its role in real estate transactions.

The Role of Probate in Real Estate

When a homeowner dies, their property becomes part of their estate and must go through the probate process before it can be sold. This can create complications if the person who inherits the property doesn’t want to keep it or needs to sell it to pay off outstanding debts or taxes.

During probate, the executor of the estate will work with a court-appointed representative (usually a lawyer or court official) to determine the value of the home and any liens or mortgages against it. They will also identify any potential conflicts among beneficiaries and take steps to resolve them before the property can be sold.

Once all necessary steps have been taken, the court will grant approval for the sale of the home. At this point, the executor will work with a real estate agent to list the property and find a buyer. However, it’s important to note that since many probate properties are sold “as-is,” they may not be in ideal condition and may require significant repairs before being listed for sale.

For example, imagine that your parent passed away and left you their house. You don’t live in that state, and you don’t want to keep the property because you already own your own home. But you know that there is still a mortgage on the property as well as outstanding debts related to their care. Before you can sell the house, it must go through probate so all debts and taxes can be paid off first.

Some people believe that probate is an unnecessary legal hurdle that should be avoided at all costs. Others argue that it provides important protections for heirs and ensures that debts and taxes are paid off promptly. In general, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you understand your options and make informed decisions about how to handle your assets after you pass away.

Now that we’ve explored the role of probate in real estate, let’s move on to preparing to sell a home in probate.

  • According to Nolo, an American encyclopedia of law, the probate process can take typically anywhere between 9 to 18 months, depending on the complexity of the estate and the efficiency of the executor. During this time absolutely no assets can be sold or distributed.
  • Probate sales make up roughly 5-10% of all estate sales in the United States as per Statista.
  • In a study by Forbes in 2022, it was calculated that nearly 6-7% of inherited properties are sold while still in probate to cover costs associated with debts, settling claims and expenses incurred during administration of the state.
  • When a homeowner dies, their property becomes part of their estate and must go through the probate process before it can be sold. This can create complications if the person who inherits the property doesn’t want to keep it or needs to sell it to pay off outstanding debts or taxes. It’s important to understand that during probate, the executor of the estate will work with a court-appointed representative to determine the value of the home and identify any potential conflicts among beneficiaries. Once all necessary steps have been taken, the court will grant approval for the sale of the home, at which point the executor will work with a real estate agent to list and sell the property. It’s important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to make informed decisions about how to handle assets after passing away.

Preparing to Sell a Home in Probate

Selling a home in probate is a complex process that involves several legal requirements. Before you even consider listing the property for sale, it’s important to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and permissions. This section will discuss some of the factors to consider when preparing to sell a home in probate.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to determine who has authority to sell the property. Typically, this would be the executor or administrator of the estate appointed by the court. The executor must follow specific procedures and obtain court approval before they can list and sell the property.

Another vital component of preparing to sell a home in probate is getting the property appraised. An appraisal is necessary because it determines the value of the property and helps identify any issues related to title or ownership. In some cases, you may need to hire an attorney or real estate agent familiar with probate sales to help you obtain an accurate appraisal.

Just like an athlete needs to train before a competition, so too must you prepare before selling your inherited home. If you don’t take the time to get organized and informed about all the legal requirements involved in selling a probate property, you could end up with costly mistakes that delay or impede the sale process.

Now that we’ve discussed some general considerations related to preparing for the probate home sale let’s delve into some more specific legal and time-related considerations.

Legal and Time Frame Considerations

The legal requirements for selling inherited properties vary by state, but there are commonalities across most states. In Maine, for example, a probate can take 9-18 months on average for an inherited property to be sold [source]. Here are some additional time frame considerations:

The probate court and the rules governing the process can delay the sale, which means the home may go unoccupied while awaiting court approval. If you’re lucky, your property might be located in a state like Maine that allows for transfer-on-death deeds or property trusts to exempt the inherited property from the probate process altogether.

Additionally, if multiple inheritors are involved, then it can take longer as each must sign off on any sale agreement. And as mentioned before, if there is no will, then probate can be extended even further.

In some cases, a mortgage on an inherited property could also prolong the probate period. It’s important to understand that paying off the mortgage can occur through various options such as selling assets or transferring the mortgage to a new owner. However, foreclosure may be necessary if payments are not made accordingly. This brings us to another legal consideration: alienation clause.

Alienation clause is included in most mortgages and basically means that when ownership of inherited property transfers to a new owner, they become responsible for paying off the full mortgage instead of just monthly installments.

Like your car needing regular oil changes and maintenance to function properly, so too must you deal with these legal requirements for selling an inherited home to achieve optimal results.

Now that we’ve covered some key aspects to keep in mind regarding legal and time considerations related to selling a home during probate let’s move on to discuss how to complete the detailed process of selling a home in probate.

Detailed Process of Selling a Home in Probate

Selling a property in probate can be a complex and lengthy process. It’s essential to have proper guidance and follow specific steps to ensure everything goes smoothly. The first step to selling a home in probate is to determine who has the authority to make decisions regarding the property. If the deceased had a will, they would typically name an executor who will have the power to sell their home on behalf of their estate.

The next step is to obtain court approval. The executor of the estate must seek court permission before listing the property for sale, including an appraisal of the property to establish an appropriate selling price. Suppose there are multiple executors or administrators, or if a dispute arises between them. In that case, it may further delay court approval and make the process more complicated.

Once you’ve obtained court approval, it’s time to prepare your house for sale. This includes cleaning, decluttering, and hiring professionals like photographers, appraisers, real estate agents, and even auctioneers, depending on how you plan to sell it. You may want to consider staging if it’s necessary since this can help buyers envision what the property would look like once furnished.

Before listing the home for sale, always research local zoning ordinances, building codes, and other environmental regulations that may significantly impact your ability to sell the property. Suppose there are any outstanding issues related to such regulations (unsanitary conditions, unsafe environmental practices). In that case, you’ll need to address them before allowing potential buyers access to the house.

When marketing your home in probate, use traditional advertising methods alongside online ones like social media or paid ad campaigns. Consider open houses that attract potential buyers looking for homes in specific neighborhoods or cities.

Think of selling a home in probate like running a marathon; it requires preparation, patience, and persistence. If you’re not ready for this long journey, it will be difficult to get the results you’re hoping for. However, if you’re well-informed and have the right team by your side, it can be a smooth transition.

Working with Professionals: Attorneys and Executors

Working with professionals like attorneys and executors is crucial in the process of selling a home in probate. These individuals provide guidance, legal advice, and offer support throughout the complex process of selling a property after someone’s death.

Hiring an attorney who specializes in probate law can help streamline the process and protect your family’s interests during the sale of the property. They assist in drafting legal documents like petitions to sell property or transfer ownership titles.

The executor of the estate plays an important role in executing the deceased’s wishes and finalizing all affairs related to their estate, including selling their home. Executors handle different tasks relating to managing an estate during probate proceedings, such as handling creditors’ claims, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and filing taxes.

Working with professionals will ensure that everything stays above board and transparently handled; nobody feels slighted through hidden terms or illegitimate actions when dividing the property’s proceeds.

An excellent way to work with professionals is to have them provide regular updates throughout the process. You’ll know what stage everything is at and stay informed about how each decision made affects you as a beneficiary.

Now that we’ve covered working with professionals let us dive into [Selling a Home in Probate: What You Need to Know].

Cost of Probate and Strategies to Cover Them

One aspect that is often overlooked when considering the sale of a home in probate is the cost of the probate process itself. As mentioned earlier, probate can cost between 6 and 10 percent of an estate, which can translate to a significant amount of money for high-value properties.

The costs associated with probate include attorney fees, court fees, appraisal fees, and executor fees, among others. In addition, there may be outstanding debts that need to be paid off before the home can be sold. It is important to keep in mind that administrative fees and probate are calculated before any liens or deductions are taken out, further increasing the cost.

To put it into perspective, imagine that you inherited a property worth $500,000 from a family member who passed away. If the probate fees amounted to 6%, you would have to pay $30,000 just to go through the legal process of selling the property.

It’s important to note that not all strategies to cover probate costs work in every situation. For example, many individuals consider taking out a loan to cover probate costs and then paying off that loan using proceeds from the sale of the property. While this may work in some cases, it can also be risky because it leaves you with debt that needs to be repaid.

Another strategy would be to sell assets such as bank holdings or stocks owned by the deceased to help cover probate costs before selling their home. This way, any proceeds from selling the house can go directly towards beneficiaries without having to worry about paying off any additional debts.

However, regardless of the strategy used, it’s essential to consult with an attorney who specializes in probate law and understands how it works in your state. By doing so, you can make informed decisions that ensure that you’re not left with any unexpected costs after the sale.

Dealing with Taxes and Transfer of Ownership

When selling a home in probate, it’s important to take into account any taxes that may be involved. In Maine, the taxes to consider when selling an inherited property include transfer tax, property tax, and capital gains tax.

Transfer tax is included in many states when transferring ownership of real estate and is based on the purchase price of the property. Property tax must also be paid before transferring ownership of the property to the new owner. Capital gains tax is a federal tax based on the difference between the purchase price and sales price of a property.

For example, if you inherited a property in Maine worth $400,000 and sold it for $500,000, you would need to pay capital gains taxes on the $100,000 difference between the two prices.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all properties are subject to capital gains tax. If the inherited property was your primary residence before being converted into rental property by you or your loved one, then you may qualify for an exclusion to this capital gains tax up to certain limits.

To put it into perspective, imagine that your late father bought a house in Maine as his primary residence for $300,000 back in 1995. After he passed away, you decided to rent out this property instead of selling it. The IRS would recognize this property as investment/rental property as soon as you started renting it out after your father’s death. Fast forward 10 years down the line; after debt reduction payments over time to offset rental income every year and impacts of natural appreciation in housing prices up until now (2023), you sell this property for $450,000. A capital gains tax exemption wouldn’t apply in this scenario.

In addition to taxes, transferring ownership of an inherited property can also be challenging. The process can vary depending on the type of ownership transfer involved and the number of inheritors. As mentioned earlier, it’s essential to consult with an attorney who specializes in probate law to understand the specific requirements for transferring ownership in your state.


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.

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