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Selling a House in Probate Massachusetts

Dealing with an inherited property in Massachusetts can be overwhelming, especially when probate is involved. At Ephesus LLC, we understand the challenges you face and are here to help. As experienced probate property buyers in Massachusetts, we’ve assisted numerous families in selling their inherited homes quickly and efficiently. This guide will walk you through the probate process, explaining how to sell your property while maximizing its value. Whether you’re in Boston, Worcester, or anywhere in the state, our team of Massachusetts real estate investors is ready to offer a fair cash offer for your probate property. Learn how to navigate the complexities of probate sales, avoid common pitfalls, and turn your inherited house into a stress-free financial opportunity. With our expertise in buying houses as-is in Massachusetts, we’ll show you how to sell your probate property fast while ensuring you get a fair deal.

What is a Probate?

When a Massachusetts resident passes away, their estate enters probate, regardless of whether they left a will or died intestate (without a will). The executor or the court becomes responsible for managing the deceased’s assets. In Massachusetts, probate can follow two paths: informal or formal. Informal probate is straightforward, with minimal court involvement, typically when there’s an original will or no disputes among heirs. However, this article focuses on the more complex formal probate process, which becomes necessary in situations such as significant estate debt, contested wills, or when the original will is missing. To understand whether your loved one’s estate needs probate, you can consult the official Massachusetts Probate and Family Court website.

Can a House Be Sold While in Probate?

Yes, it can! Depending on how the estate was left when the person passes, a property in probate can be sold by three entities: the executor of the estate or a person named in the will to manage the distribution of the estate; the administrator of the estate, who is appointed by the Court to manage the estate for an intestate situation when there are Heirs/beneficiaries; and the Court when there is an intestate situation but there are no Heirs seeking administration. Once the executor of the estate, the administrator, or the Court decides who inherits the property, the Heir(s) or beneficiaries can begin the process of petitioning to sell the probate property.

What Does it Take to Sell a House in Massachusetts While in Probate?

An executor’s main responsibility is to preserve the estate’s assets for distribution to any Heirs or beneficiaries, as outlined in the will. Sometimes a situation might occur where the estate owes a large amount of debt to creditors or the property has been neglected and back taxes are owed to the government. In this situation, the executor of the estate, the administrator, or the Court is allowed to sell the property to settle all debts, even if there are Heirs.

Consider this scenario: An elderly woman passes away, leaving behind two heirs and an appointed executor to manage her estate. At the time of her death, she has accumulated significant debts, including $80,000 in hospital bills and $10,000 in credit card debt, totaling $90,000. Her primary asset is a home valued at $150,000, but she has no liquid assets to cover her outstanding debts. Despite her passing, these debts remain the responsibility of her estate. If the heirs are unable or unwilling to pay off the debts themselves, the executor must find a way to settle these obligations. In this case, selling the property becomes necessary to clear the $90,000 debt. Once the house is sold and the debts are paid, the remaining $60,000 would be divided equally between the two heirs, each receiving $30,000. This example illustrates how probate can involve complex financial decisions, especially when debts exceed liquid assets, necessitating the sale of property to fulfill the estate’s obligations before beneficiaries can receive their inheritance.

A property in probate may also be sold if the person died with no will and there are no immediate Heirs. In this situation, the Courts can order the property to be sold and any profits distributed to the closest relatives. Click for Massachuseets Estate Tax Guide

Steps for Selling a House in Probate

If you own a property in Massachussetts that is stuck in probate and you’re struggling to find a way to sell, there is hope! Depending on local and state laws, the process of selling a probate property can be completed in four steps. The first step is having an executor or administrator assigned, if there wasn’t one already assigned by the deceased.

If you are assigned as the executor (or you and the executor are in agreement on how to continue), you now have the ability to decide whether to sell the property or keep it. Whether the estate owes money to creditors or you inherited a house in another state that doesn’t make sense to keep, you can decide to sell that property and walk away. But before you put up that For Sale sign, you’ll need to have the property appraised. Once that is complete, only then can you petition the Court so that you can list the property for sale on your own (FSBO) with a trusted realtor who has experience with probate properties, or sell it directly to an investor.

Decide How to Sell the Property: 

  1. Valuation or Appraisal 

First up is finding out how much that property is worth. To do this you’ll need a valuation of the land by a trusted professional, or you’ll need to hire a professional appraiser that understands the law in the area as it pertains to the process of evaluating the property’s current value. In many states, the Court requires the property to be sold for at least 90% of its appraised value. That makes it even more important to find an appraiser with probate property experience that won’t balloon the worth of the land. You can look for an appraiser at the MBREA website

  1. Listing the House 

Once you have your appraisal, you, the executor, and/or your lawyer will need to file an intention to sell the house and other assets with the court. This form will include the final appraisal amount and which method you would like to use to sell the property. Methods can include auction, a traditional market sale, selling directly to an investor, and more. When the petition is approved, you are ready to list the property to let buyers know that the property is available. Whether you choose to sell the house yourself, use an experienced real estate agent, or sell directly to an investor, make sure that you have someone in your corner that has experience with probate properties. Resources at Massachusetts Auctioneers Association, Real Estate Fast Experts, Zillow or call us for an investor offer at 617-340-6527

  1. Offers

Whether offers fly in or trickle, eventually you’ll need to decide which offer is right for you. Evaluating your goals for the sale of a house is an important part of this step. Do you need a quick sale so that you can pay off the estate’s debts? Would you prefer to wait a bit longer and see if you can get more profit from the sale? Or is the property in disrepair and needs a special buyer who can handle a complete remodel? These are all things you’ll need to take into consideration when you decide when and how to list a property in probate.

Knowing what goals you need to meet with the sale of the property will help you decide which offer to accept so that you can move on to the next step… here is good article how to price a home in today’s market.

  1. Notice of Proposed Action

Once a buyer makes an offer, they need to be informed that the sale can only be completed after the court’s confirmation. Due to disclosure law, this should not come as a surprise but a buyer inexperienced in probate may balk at the added time needed for the sale. This is often one of the reasons why a probate house is skipped over for another property, even if the probate property is priced to sell fast. The delayed timeline may cause a buyer to decide it’s not worth the wait. But if a buyer has come forward with an offer and doesn’t mind the wait, the Court will review the bid before releasing an order to approve the sale of the property.

  1. Bidding

In the case of auctions, a property in probate can be marketed as ready to sell before the Court finalizes an Approval to Sale to help draw in more interested parties to bid. In the case of auctions, the Court often is the one who handles the bids. There are strict rules and guidelines that must be followed for this type of sale, making it only used as a last resort. Once someone has won the bidding the executor will petition the court to authorize the sale of the property, but if any of the Heirs object the sale can be canceled and the property put on hold as the Court decides the next steps. For a list of licensed auctioneers, visit Massachusetts Auctioneers Association

  1. Finalization of Sale

Hopefully, the sale of that house, condo, rental property, or piece of land is a smooth and straightforward experience. Even if you experienced a few hitches along the way, once you have an offer that the Court accepts it’s time to finalize the sale. The executor or lawyer will need to file a final account and petition for the final distribution but once the Court approves this, title documents can be signed to make the house sale official by registering sale.

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a Probate Property 

  1. Moving Too Quickly 

When a person passes away, their family may try to move as quickly as possible to sell the property so that they have time to grieve. Or, if there is debt that has interest that is compounding monthly, the executor or administrator will try to sell the house as quickly as possible by valuing it below market value to pay off the estate. Sometimes a too-fast sale can also happen when the house is in poor shape or needs major upgrades the beneficiaries do not want to pay for. They may undervalue the property so that they can sell it as-is.

  1. Not Completing a Real Estate Disclosure 

Depending on what state you live in, Real Estate Disclosure laws can be almost as tricky as the probate process! These laws are a list of issues (such as lead paint or asbestos) that must be disclosed to the buyers about a home before closing on the property. In Massachuseets, it is NOT required to fill out a real estate seller’s disclosure form.

Most states require sellers and their agents to disclose in writing “material defects” about the home. According to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, material defects are “…a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people. The fact that a system or component is near, at or beyond the end of its normal useful life is not, in itself, a material defect.”

Experienced real estate agents are great at navigating these tricky waters, but what if you inherited a house that you never lived in? How would you know what to disclose? In some states, the executor, person selling the property, and/or real estate agent may be exempt from filling out local real estate disclosure forms due to the property being in probate. This is because that person does not and did not live in the property, so would have no way of knowing what to disclose.

If you are unsure of your state laws, someone who is experienced in probate real estate (whether it be a real estate agent or investor who has purchased probate properties in the past) will be able to help you navigate these legal waters. If looking into the latter option, be sure to sell your property directly to an experienced investor who doesn’t mind purchasing a property in probate and is willing to take the risk of purchasing a home from someone who is unable to give proper disclosure. You do have options!

  1. Failing to Hire a Lawyer

We can not emphasize this enough – a knowledgeable real estate lawyer with experience in probate can help you navigate the process of probate much faster and easier than going at it alone! Not only will they know how to petition the Court so that you can finally put that property up for sale, but they’ll be able to guide you through the legal steps to sell that unwanted house or property with less hassle and tears. Even consulting will help ensure you aren’t missing the blind spots of the probate process. Mass Bar Association has one of the largest lawyer referral service in the nation. Great resource to help you solve your legal questions.

  1. Waiting Too Long to Start the Probate Process

When someone loses a loved one, grief may cause us to put everything on hold while we process the loss of the deceased in our life. But what happens to the probate property during that time? Property taxes continue to add up, utility bills continue to come in, and the bank will want its monthly mortgage payments until the property is settled. Not to mention the upkeep maintenance and damages that can occur. Waiting too long can cause the estate’s expenses to add up fast, eating into the estate’s assets and leaving you in a difficult situation.

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Who Buys Houses in Probate? 

We do! Ephesus LLC is a direct house buying company that has built our reputation on buying houses for cash with less stress and less fees. Contact us today and get a competitive cash offer for that house or property that’s stuck in probate. We buy homes in any condition. We can help you with the convoluted process of selling a house in probate, making the process faster and as stress-free as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Close an Estate in Probate in Massachusetts?

Closing an estate in probate in Massachusetts involves several steps to ensure all debts are settled and assets are distributed to the rightful beneficiaries. The process begins with filing a final account with the Probate Court, detailing all transactions made during the administration of the estate. Once the court reviews and approves this account, a decree of distribution is issued. This decree allows the executor to distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. Finally, the executor must file a closing statement to officially close the estate, marking the completion of the probate process.

How Long Does It Take to Get a License to Sell from Probate in Massachusetts?

Obtaining a license to sell a probate property in Massachusetts typically takes about 4-8 weeks, depending on the complexity of the estate and court schedules. After filing the petition for a license to sell, the court reviews the request and schedules a hearing. During this period, all interested parties, including beneficiaries and heirs, must be notified. If there are no objections, the court grants the license, allowing the property sale to proceed. It is crucial to work with a knowledgeable real estate buyer experienced in probate properties to navigate this process efficiently.

Why Choose Ephesus LLC for Your Probate Property Sale?

At Ephesus LLC, we specialize in buying houses in probate quickly and efficiently, providing peace of mind to sellers during a challenging time. With our Guaranteed Sale Program, we offer a fair cash price for your property, eliminating the need for repairs, cleanups, or dealing with multiple buyers. Our team works closely with your attorney to handle all the paperwork, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free sale process. Whether you’re dealing with informal probate or a more complex case, we are committed to guiding you through every step and turning your real estate challenges into success stories.

How Do I Sell My House Fast for Cash In Massachusetts MA?

Are you ready to make a change in your life and want to sell your Massachusetts house in a timely manner? Whether you’re wanting to relocate to a different city or any other state in the country, we want to buy your house in Massachussetts. All it takes to sell your Massachusetts house are three easy steps. Sell your house to us, and we buy as-is fast.

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Our Evolution

Founded in 2000 as a dedicated real estate brokerage, we quickly became experts in selling expired listings, successfully assisting hundreds of homeowners in a market saturated with challenges. The 2008 financial crisis sharpened our focus, as we steered clients through economic turbulence with innovative loss mitigation and real estate management strategies, uncovering a passion and niche in real estate investment along the way.

Ephesus LLC emerged from this journey, driven by a singular goal: to simplify the home selling process for homeowners. Our foundation is built on the lessons of the past, leveraging deep industry insight and a commitment to fairness, transparency, and efficiency. Today, Ephesus stands as a testament to our ongoing mission to transform real estate transactions into seamless, positive experiences for every homeowner we partner with.

As we continue to grow, our focus remains on providing reliable, straightforward solutions that meet homeowners where they are, offering a beacon of hope and possibility in the ever-evolving real estate landscape.

Our Approach: Guaranteed Cash Purchase Program

Quick Consultation: Begin with a straightforward call. Dive into our hassle-free process designed for homeowners looking to sell quickly in Revere.

Property Evaluation & Immediate Offer: Our team conducts a thorough on-site assessment of your Revere property, leading to an upfront, fair cash offer. This step simplifies the decision-making process, ensuring transparency and fairness.

Choose Your Closing Date: With Ephesus LLC, you have the flexibility to pick a closing date that aligns with your schedule, making us the go-to real estate cash buyers.

Why Choose Ephesus LLC in Massachusetts? For a guaranteed and swift sale. Even as you weigh your options, our ‘Sell It Now’ price offers a solid comparison point, ensuring you get the best deal. Call us at 617-340-6527

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