How to Sell a Property in Probate in Washington State

Mar 29, 20190 comments

Disclaimer: Beachworks LLC is a real estate investment company in Seattle. The following article is meant to be informational only and is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you require legal advice in a probate transaction, we strongly suggest talking to a probate attorney.

Selling properties in probate can be tricky. You must make your way through the daunting paperwork and courtrooms. Each state has its own way of dealing with probate. Although the rules of selling a probate property in WA State are fairly straightforward, the process can be complex. Hiring an experienced probate attorney can help you through it and ensure all the correct processes are followed.

Understanding Probate

Probate is required in various situations. In most cases, you will have to go through the probate process if a deceased person, the “Decedent,” owns property worth more than $100,000 with no other names attached to title. If a Decedent does not have a will, probate is necessary to determine the legal beneficiaries and begin the transfer of property and titles. If they do have a will, probate is probably still required to adequately take inventory of the property, identify the beneficiaries and anyone else entitled to claims, pay off debts and wrap up the property, and then to properly distribute the assets.

Probate may not always be required in Washington State. Some situations allow for the transfer of assets without going through probate. It’s best to speak to a probate attorney to see if any of these apply to your specific situation.

1. The Appointments

If a will specifies a person to oversee the winding down their estate, that person is called an executor. On the other hand, if there’s no executor named in the will, then the closet relative may be selected and appointed as an administrator by the courts or relatives. Both titles share the same role and are responsible for guiding the process and distributing the assets at the end.

Related Article: The Basic Guide to Inheriting a Property with a Mortgage

2. Selling the Property

If you inherit property and aren’t going to live in it yourself or rent it out, your other option may be to sell it. Upon completion of the probate process, you can sell the property if you’re the legal owner. But what if you want to sell it before the process is complete? You have some options when it comes to this part; you can list the home on the open market or sell it privately to a buyer or local investment company. When selling it privately, you can avoid the costs of having an agent.

Selling the Property via Traditional Sale

This is often the most crucial part of the process. In order to understand it better, the process has been broken down into segments.

  • Appraisal or Valuation—The probate court requires a formal statement of value on non-cash assets, so an appraisal or valuation will need to be done. This is often done by a certified appraiser but can be done by a reasonably qualified person, such as a real estate agent providing a comparative market analysis.
  • The Listing—At this step, you will be working with a real estate agent to generate leads for the property. The property will be listed and a marketing campaign will begin. On the advert, it is disclosed that the property is a probate sale. Generally speaking, a real estate agent will perform these services for a commission equal to 6% of the selling price.
  • Receiving Offers—After the home is listed, you may receive offers. The initial offer needs to be accompanied by a 10% deposit. For the bid to be accepted, the court gets involved and their confirmation is necessary. Once a price has been agreed upon, the probate attorney can let the court know via a sale confirmation.
  • Notice Period—Once the price confirmation is made, and the deal has been locked, a Notice of Proposed Action is sent to the heirs. This is done to make sure no one with a legal interest in the asset has objections to the deal.
  • The Overbidding—Before the original offer’s approval, the court asks if there are any other competing offers on the property. The next bid placed needs to be 5% plus $500 more than the previous one. If the new offer is accepted, the initial 10% is refunded to the initial buyer.

If you have questions about the value of your property, contact us. We’re happy to speak to you about your situation or offer you a referral where appropriate.

Related Article: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Inherit a Property

Selling a Probate Property to a Private Investor

When you or your family are dealing with a property in probate, selling on the open market may not be the easiest or fastest solution.

Sometimes, inherited properties come with headaches. As the executor or administrator, you may be dealing with a property that has deferred maintenance or needs repairs. Many realtors will not list a home until it has been properly prepared to get the best price. That could include the time and expense involved in making repairs, deep cleaning, and possibly even removing years of junk and collected items.

If you’re not in the position to put more money into fixing up the house, waiting for a buyer and paying commissions, selling to a local investment company might be a better option. That process looks largely like the process outlined above but can be faster, and you may be able to avoid the preparation and costs that come with a traditional sale.

If your property is in King or Snohomish County, please don’t hesitate to request a no-obligation offer. Beachworks will provide an all-cash offer with flexible terms tailored to meet the needs of your situation.

Related Article: The Guide to Selling Your Home Fast In Seattle

Final Words

Selling a property while it’s still in probate may be a stressful process. We realize the delicate nature of your situation and hope we can help make the process easier for you. Many of the homes we purchase are inherited, so we are experienced in providing an easy and straightforward transaction from start to finish. Don’t hesitate to contact us at info@beachworks.org or give us a call at 206-219-9447.

"In my opinion, Beachworks was easy to work with and fair. All negotiations were handled professionally, and the end result was satisfaction to all parties involved."

Fredric D. Reed

Seattle Real Estate Attorney

"Beachworks worked quickly to analyze the estate property and provide the necessary information. They replied to all inquiries in a timely manner and answered my clients' concerns and questions. I look forward to working with them again."

Kokie E. Adams

Seattle Real Estate Attorney

Selling Your Inherited Property?

Beachworks LLC is a real estate investment company. We invest in properties in King and Snohomish Counties. When you need a solution to selling your inherited property fast, we provide an all-cash offer with flexible terms tailored to meet the needs of your situation.

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How to Sell a Probate Property in Washington State
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How to Sell a Probate Property in Washington State
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Many inherited properties have to go through the probate process to correctly identify heirs before a sale. While you can sell a house still in the probate process, there are steps you must take in order to make sure the process goes smoothly.
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Beachworks LLC
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