In Texas, a probate sale refers to selling a home that belongs to a deceased person’s estate. The process is complex, and closing the sale may take as long as a year. Purchasing your home through a probate sale can get you a bargain price, but the process may require a real estate agent and other professionals with specialized knowledge.
When a deceased person’s estate goes through probate, the court oversees the process of selling the home. Individuals who die with significant debts will have their property sold to pay off creditors and taxes if the estate does not have enough cash to satisfy the debts. The probate court must ensure the estate has paid all the individual’s debts and taxes.
The court then distributes any remaining assets in the estate, including the proceeds from a home sale, to the heirs. The probate court ensures that the involved parties handle the process correctly and legally. A house in probate is marketed like a traditional home for sale, and anyone can make an offer on the home.
Before the court sells the property, an appraiser must determine its market value. The estate’s executor or administrator then works with a real estate agent to put the property on the market for sale. Interested buyers who submit offers for the property must go through an approval process with the probate court.
The sale process could take longer than a standard home purchase because of the court’s involvement. Court approval of the sale may take several months, and the property is sold “as-is.” Buying this type of property does involve some risk because the seller is not responsible for making any repairs or improvements to the probate home. The house could have defects that no one discloses or even knows about.
After the sale
Once the house sells, the heirs receive the proceeds according to directives in the deceased’s will. If no will exists, the state determines how to distribute the proceeds. The estate’s administrator or executor is responsible for distributing the funds.
Understanding how probate sales work can help interested buyers decide if a probate sale is worth the potential risks.