Selling a family home after a loved one dies can be an emotional and stressful time. Some heirs may be in a hurry to dispose of the property and move on. However, selling a property owned by an estate isn't a quick or easy process.

Assuming there's a will, as soon as the death certificate is issued, the power goes to the executor. The first thing the executor must do is determine what the assets are – the value of the property and “other stuff,” such as bank accounts and investments. This is when the executor will contact a real estate agent for an appraisal. 

The executor will provide the appraisal and other financial information to the lawyer, who will prepare the application for probate. The time between filing for probate to the granting of probate can vary greatly, from a few weeks to six months or more, depending on the backlog. Some jurisdictions are quicker than others (it depends on the jurisdiction where the deceased lived, not the location of the property).

While waiting for the granting of probate, the executor must tend to the property, ensuring the insurance is in good standing and bills are paid. An oversight in paying utility bills, for example, could result in burst pipes and water damage if the heat is turned off in winter.

While waiting for the application for probate to be granted, the time should be spent wisely. This is the perfect time to speak to me and come up with a plan to determine the best time to list the property for sale. Often the best time is 90 to 120 days before probate is expected.
Properties can be listed any time during probate, but the MLS listing will specify that there may be delays in closing due to probate.


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