The Dos and Don’ts of Bidding on Probate Real Estate

Posted by Darren Daltorio | Posted on 11/11/2014
  •  Probate
  • When it comes to bidding on probate real estate, the process can be quite overwhelming; especially for an individual who is new to the process. While many bidders think that they will find the elusive purple unicorn by snagging an unheard-of deal on a desirable property, this is not usually the case. As a multifaceted real estate broker with a professional legal background with over 30 years of combined experience, I have developed a niche in dealing with the complexities of selling and buying probate real estate in and around Los Angeles, CA. Please read below for a crash-course on the dos and don’ts of bidding on probate real estate.


    • Be mindful of the sellers’ needs: When dealing with probate real estate bidding, it is important to remember that the sellers are grieving the loss of a family member. I recommend writing a letter to the heirs expressing your condolences and making them aware that you realize this is a difficult time for them. After sending the letter, I advise that you let them contact you first.
    • Offer to help: Because of the emotional toll of a probate real estate sale, the sellers may need extra “hand-holding” compared to other groups of sellers. Offer to help them have the property cleaned, recommend charities for donating items such as furniture, Etc. Find out what their obstacles are and offer to help.
    • Inspect the property first: Probate real estate sales are an exception to California laws that require sellers to disclose any known defects in the house and/or property. This doesn’t mean you must blindly make an offer; you have every right to have the house inspected. Sure, you may risk losing the money spent having an inspection performed if you are eventually outbid, but it’s better than investing in a faulty property.
    • Avoid a bidding war: The most effective way to avoid a bidding war is to simply avoid other bidders. To do this, it is imperative that you make your initial bid count. You must make your initial offer high enough to deter others from an overbid, but at the same time, you don’t want to overpay. You want to be certain your offer is low enough to make buying the property worth your while. Finding this happy medium can be tricky, but with the help of an expert it’s a painless process.
    • Collect and complete ALL paperwork on time: The paper trail of a probate real estate sale can be miles long. Hiring a probate professional can help mitigate the annoyances of all of the documentation of the process, especially depending on your locality and time-availability. It would be less-than-ideal to get to the end of the probate process only to discover that settlement is delayed because of one missing document.


    • Do it alone: Probate real estate experts exist for a reason – it’s a painstaking process. Buying a probate property requires more than just nerve, it requires extensive knowledge; not only of the process itself, but the local real estate market trends, the sellers intentions, and more. Hiring a probate professional will alleviate the stress that comes hand-in-hand with purchasing probate real estate.
    • Expect a quick sale: The process of buying probate real estate in Los Angeles, CA is rarely shorter than six months, and cast last up to several years.
    • Wear your emotions on your sleeve: Remember, as mentioned above, that probate sellers are grieving. Often this can bring up old family grudges and it can be easy to get wrapped up in the drama. Keep a respectful distance and do not get involved in the emotions of the sale.
    • Rely on an attorney for everything: While hiring an attorney is a smart move when it comes to probate real estates bidding, it is important to not depend on them for everything. Your probate attorney is an expert in his or her field and will demand appropriate payments for their expertise. Utilize local talent to maximize the value of the estate. Local contractors, real estate agents, estate and financial planners are also experts in their fields and can give you the knowledge you need for a fraction of the cost of your probate attorney.

    If you’re interested in buying probate real estate in Los Angeles, CA or just want to learn more about the probate real estate process, please contact me today.

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