While coping with the loss of family or friends is hard enough, dealing with what follows can further add to the stress and difficult emotions. Transferring assets and property typically entails a complex and time-consuming process, and there’s no other way around it, unfortunately.
When a property is in probate, a court arranges a transaction in order to legally transfer the property’s rights to the decedent’s heirs. Since probate laws are very complicated, anyone who inherits property experiences additional stress during an already challenging period.
An experienced probate real estate agent can guide you through the probate process, making it easier and less stressful, while helping you avoid potential pitfalls and roadblocks along the way.
In this section, we give you some helpful tips on how to find the right probate real estate agent.
Pay close attention to their specialty
Real estate agents have different specialties. Top residential real estate agents in your area are the best if you’re looking to buy or sell a home, but if they have zero experience in probate law, then they might not be an ideal fit for your situation.
When interviewing an agent, find out how many successful transactions they have under their belt. The type of situations they’ve handled in the past can be an indication of whether they’ll be able to handle your transaction. Some agents only claim to handle probate real estate, but their track record will show their experience in probate real estate transactions.
Working with an experienced probate real estate agent is very important – committing simple mistakes such as using incorrect forms will prevent a judge from closing out the probate.
Ask about their certifications
As mentioned above, an agent’s knowledge on probate transactions could only be basic knowledge of the law. An agent with certifications and qualifications on handling probate real estate ensures they’ll be able to file everything that’s needed within the timeline required by probate transactions.
Specialized training and services are available for agents who want to increase their knowledge of handling probate sales. Agents who have a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) designation for example, are qualified to handle court confirmation procedures, ensuring a successful probate sale.
In addition, some states also offer state-specific training for agents, so find out whether there’s a unique process in your state that might have additional requirements. You don’t need to have a long conversation about their education or special training they’ve received – certifications that show they specialize in probate sales provide good insight into their background.
See if they can give you a better understanding of the differences
If you’re going through the probate process for the first time, your agent should help you gain a clear understanding of the different nuances. Pay close attention to how an agent explains the details to gauge how clearly they communicate.
Compared to a standard real estate transaction, selling real estate during probate requires more steps. Agents who are able to make the process easy to understand means you likely won’t need to bombard them later on with questions about the process. You’ll also be able to make well-informed decisions with their guidance.
Again, probate transactions are a complex process. Therefore, clear communication is key – if you find it difficult to communicate with an agent during the initial meeting, things might get worse during the more tedious parts of the process.
Ask for references
Ask your agent if they can provide you with any references, or look them up on LinkedIn to get leads on your own. Agents who specialize in probate sales will readily give you the names of any administrators or attorneys they’ve worked with in the past.
Get in touch with their references and ask them any questions you may have regarding your transaction and their experience working with the agent you’re considering.
Differences of marketing a home in probate
Marketing a home in probate often requires a fairly aggressive strategy compared to a traditional home sale.
Ask the agent if they can provide any materials or hard data on homes they’ve worked with in the past. Pay close attention to details such as when the home was posted, how long before it received an offer, how much its asking price was, and what it actually sold for so you can make an informed decision.
Obtaining this information is especially important in situations wherein the home seller lives in a different area. You want to work with an agent who has knowledge and expertise on the local market.