Selling a house in probate in Texas, can be an easy task or a challenging task depending on the approach you choose. Various factors will affect how the process of selling a house turns out for different individuals. Can a house be sold while in probate? Well, yes, for instance, in Texas, when a property owner passes away, their real estate can be sold in Texas probate court.
However, if you want to sell a probate house, the whole process is not that straightforward, and it may look even more daunting than selling a regular home. If you would like to sell probate property, it would help to equip yourself with knowledge because that is the only thing that can make the process easier on you. Our article will explain how to sell a house in Probate in Texas.
Before we get started, it is worth noting that the appointed heir is usually in charge of the deceased’s property. However, in cases where an owner passes and leaves no designated heir, the real estate is handed over to the court, which will appoint an executor who is a close relative, to take over in selling the property.
Often, this process can potentially cause a ridge between a family. Suppose you are the executor, and you want to sell probate property but lack the experience. It would be best to hire a real estate professional from Texas who has a good reputation and is well experienced. Working with a professional will make the process that much smoother and more manageable.
Texas Probate Law Overview
To better understand the question “can a house be sold while in probate?” you need to know the fundamental Texas probate laws. We will give an overview, but it would be best for you to get in touch with an attorney to understand the probate laws better. Suppose an individual dies and they do not leave a will behind. The state, or Texas probate code will set rules that will determine how the estate will be shared.
Clear heirship and title will have to be determined before the house is sold if the property’s deed has no joint tenancy with survivorship. As that is being processed, a family or close relative will have to step up and be in charge of the property’s maintenance, such as lawn care, property taxes, utilities, insurance, needed repairs, and cleaning the house to preserve the property’s value.
However, if the deceased left a will, before the property is sold, the will has to be executed and probated in court. Usually, during this process, a probate hearing will be held, and all the deceased’s property will be collected. Any debts they had will have to be paid, and then their remaining assets will be distributed per the will they left behind. Typically, this process should take about thirty days. It is worth noting that this is based on the fact that no one contests the will. If there is a dispute on the asset distribution or the will’s validity, it will be a different case altogether.
If the deceased did not leave a will, an affidavit of heirship has to be prepared. This process involves drafting the full family tree to find out the rightful heir or heirs and their relationship with the deceased. This process is only easy if there are not that many heirs and there were also not many marriages. An attorney will prepare a deed transferring title to the rightful heirs once an affidavit of heirship has been completed. The new warranty deed and affidavit of heirship will be filed in the county where the property in question is located.
The heirs can proceed to sell the house once both processes are complete. It would be best to let an experienced attorney specializing in probate law handle this process. This is because when this process is not well handled, it may take an extended period. It is worth noting that the court has to approve the sales contract before the sale on the property can be closed. If you are working with an experienced attorney, they will handle this on your behalf, but it takes slightly longer than a conventional closing.
You must understand that there are multiple types of estate administrations in Texas, based on how the will (if there is one available) was written and the named beneficiaries of the will. Usually, the title company comes up with the rules. Therefore, if the title company requires you to take additional steps to remove an exception from the commitment, then that is what you will do. If they ask for all the beneficiaries’ signatures on the deed, it is your job to convince them to sign the deed.
Suppose you are in real estate, and you are given the opportunity to list a house from an estate. It would be best to inquire about the probate process immediately. While you do not need all the answers immediately, it helps to know whether the sellers have prepared themselves to avoid any inconveniences. Therefore, perhaps the most essential question to ask would be if all the signatures required to close the listing agreement are available.
Once the listing is up, it is necessary to inform any potential buyers that a special provision will have to be made so the contract can be subjected to the probate court for approval. A certified appraisal copy has to be presented to the court. It would help if you explained to the potential buyer that this is not a conventional same-day closing and paying situation. Contrary, the court will have to determine the close of the sale.
Now that you have a fundamental understanding of how the probate Texas laws work, we will give you detailed information on the Texas probate sale of real property. Remember that it is essential to work with an experienced attorney since they can help you understand the laws better, and they generally make the process easier.
Texas Probate Sale of Real Property
There is a specific procedure that has to be followed if you are selling property under probate. While the approach may slightly differ based on different individuals, there is a procedure that has to be followed, whether you choose to work with a real estate agent or decide to oversee the sale of the property on your own. Explained below are some of the steps involved when selling property under probate.
Getting the Property Appraised
Before you sell a probate house, you must ensure that the property has first been appraised because, as aforementioned, you will have to present the appraisal certificate in probate court. If you have chosen to take charge of everything, you can look up appraisers online, and as always, it helps to work with a professional who is experienced.
If you are working with a real estate agent from Texas, you do not have to worry about finding an appraiser because they will give you a referral. Once the property is appraised, you can start the selling process. It is worth noting that the least you can sell the property for is 90% of the appraisal from the total appraised value.
Get a Petition from Court
Once you have gotten the appraisal, you will have to seek probation from the court, seeing as you are still under probate. You will have to fill out a petition form, ensuring that you have listed all the details related to selling that property. You must also mention the sales methods you intend to use to sell the property. You will then have to wait for the court to approve. If there is an investor interested in buying the property, they can only do so after the seller has completed the process of getting the petition.
List The Property
Just as with regular real estate, in Texas probate sale of property, you will have to list the property with a real estate agent you want to sell and market it for exposure purposes. If you are working with an agent, they will help you list the property on the various listing services. You can also have the property advertised in newspapers since it enables you to get the best price. You will also attract anyone interested in bidding to come to the court hearings to bid for the property. This ensures that it appears on some of the popular listings.
Any buying agent who comes across it knows that the house is being sold under probate. Therefore, they will let their clients know that it is not a regular listing, helping them make an informed decision. As mentioned earlier, a potential buyer needs to know that property being sold under probate is not a straightforward closing and paying transaction. If there is an interested buyer, note that they will make an offer on the property, which at least a 10% deposit should follow, and you, as the seller, are at liberty of turning them down.
Seek the Court’s Confirmation
The court has to confirm the buyer’s offer, and sometimes you may accept the offer but still not be committed to that particular buyer. However, suppose you decide to commit to that specific buyer as the representative of the deceased estate. In that case, you will communicate with your probate attorney, who will submit to the probate court the confirmation of the sale. If everyone involved agrees, a later date will be set so the sale of the property can be finalized in court.
Once the offer on the property has been accepted. A Notice of Proposed Action, which states the proposed sale terms, will be sent to all the heirs. There is a fifteen-day period for all the heirs to go over the notice and pose objections, if any. If none of them poses any objection, the sale can be made without having a court hearing.
How to sell a house in probate in Texas does not follow the same procedure as selling a home regularly. Before the original buyer’s offer is approved, there has to be an overbidding process, meaning the presiding judge asks if any individual in the courtroom wants to bid on the property. The bid has to be 5% more with an additional $500 more than the initial buyer’s offer.
The bid process is pretty much the same as an auction, except the judge is in charge of accepting all the bids. This process ends when they reach the highest bid at the confirmation hearing. Suppose the new buyer wins the bid, the initial 10% deposit that the original buyer paid will be reimbursed. Hence, we stated earlier that the seller could accept the deposit without necessarily committing to that specific buyer.
After accepting the overbid, the buyer will have to give a 10% deposit, which is usually required to be in the form of a cashier’s check. The winning bidder will hand over this check to the appointed executor at the hearing. Afterward, a contract will be signed. There are no contingencies in this contract, and fifteen days after the hearing, the escrow will close.
The probate process is not always the easiest, especially in cases where the deceased did not leave a will or if they did leave a will, it is being contested. Selling a house on a regular occasion is not a walk in the park, so when you involve probate, as aforementioned, the process may seem daunting. Working with experienced professionals can make this process more efficient and take the weight off your shoulders.
If there are no disputes over the will and the distribution of assets, selling property under probate may not take an extended period. Therefore, if you live in Texas and recently inherited property you would like to sell, it would help to get in touch with an attorney and find a reputable and experienced real estate agent. Do some research and try and have an excellent and full understanding of how the probate laws in Texas work.
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