Estate Sale vs Probate Sale: (Fast Breakdown)LAST UPDATED: March 19, 2023 | By Conrad Golly
If you’re considering selling property, you might be wondering whether an estate sale or probate sale is the best option for you.
You may also be interested in buying and selling things from estate sales.
While both types of sales can help you dispose of property, they have some key differences that you’ll want to understand before you decide which one is right for you.
Along with great investment opportunities if you are an investor.
TL;DR Estate Sale Vs Probate Sale
- Estate sales and probate sales are both options for disposing of property after someone passes away.
- Estate sales are typically quicker and involve the sale of household items and personal property, while probate sales may involve the sale of real estate and may be overseen by the court.
What is an Estate Sale?
An estate sale is a sale of property that occurs after the owner has passed away.
This type of sale is typically used to dispose of household items, personal property, and other belongings that the owner had in their home at the time of their death.
Estate sales can be a good way to dispose of property quickly, since they are usually held within a few weeks of the owner’s death.
An estate representative or an estate sale company will typically handle the sale of the property. This is sometimes the best way an estate’s executor can act on the first step for a trust sale.
What is a Probate Sale?
A probate sale, on the other hand, is a sale of property that occurs as part of the probate process.
This is a legal process that occurs when someone passes away and leaves behind a will or estate.
During probate, the court determines the validity of the will and appoints a personal representative, also known as the executor of the estate, to oversee the distribution of the estate’s assets.
If the estate includes real estate, the personal representative may be authorized to sell the property in order to pay off debts and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries of the estate.
In some cases, a probate attorney may be needed to assist with the legal process.
These are very popular with real estate investors since they can try and get the sale of the home below the average listing price, especially if there are outstanding debts left behind for the family.
Independent Administration Of Estates Act
The Independent Administration of Estates Act (IAEA) is a law that allows a personal representative or executor of an estate to handle the distribution of the estate’s assets without the need for court supervision.
This can help to streamline the probate process and reduce the time and cost of administering an estate.
Under the IAEA, a personal representative has the full authority to manage the estate’s assets, including the power to sell real estate and distribute the proceeds to the beneficiaries of the estate.
The personal representative is still required to follow state laws and the terms of the will or trust agreement, but they do not need to seek court approval for their actions.
The IAEA is available in many states and can be a useful option for individuals who want to simplify the probate process and minimize the involvement of the court.
However, it is important to note that the IAEA is not available in all states, and it may not be the best option in every situation.
It is always a good idea to consult with a probate attorney or other estate planning professional to determine the best course of action for your specific circumstances.
Key Differences Between Estate Sale vs Probate Sale
There are a few key differences between estate sales and probate sales that you should be aware of:
- Timing: Estate sales are typically held within a few weeks of the owner’s death, while probate sales can take longer to organize due to the involvement of the court and the need for a personal representative to be appointed.
- Involvement of the Court: Probate sales are overseen by a court hearing, while estate sales are not. This means that a probate sale may require more legal paperwork and may be subject to court approval.
- Types of Property: Estate sales typically involve the sale of household items and personal property, while probate sales may involve the sale of real estate in addition to other types of property.
Pros And Cons of using an estate sale company to sell probate property
There are both potential benefits and drawbacks to using an estate sale company to sell probate property.
Pros of using an estate sale company:
- Simplicity: Estate sale companies can handle the entire process of organizing and conducting the sale, which can be a great convenience for individuals who are dealing with the loss of a loved one and may not have the time or energy to handle the sale themselves.
- Expertise: Estate sale companies often have experience in pricing and selling various types of property, which can help to ensure that the property is sold for a fair price.
- Marketing: Estate sale companies can advertise the sale and attract a larger pool of potential buyers, which can help to maximize the sale price of the property.
Cons of using an estate sale company:
- Cost: Estate sale companies typically charge a percentage of the total sales as their fee, which can reduce the amount of money that is ultimately received by the beneficiaries of the estate.
- Limited control: When using an estate sale company, you may have less control over the sale process and may not be able to make decisions about the pricing and sale of individual items.
The decision to use an estate sale company to sell probate property will depend on the specific circumstances of the estate and the preferences of the personal representative or executor.
It is always a good idea to do your research and carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks before making a decision.
Which Option is Best for You?
When deciding between an estate sale and a probate sale, there are a few factors that you’ll want to consider:
- Timing: If you need to dispose of property quickly, an estate sale may be the better option. However, if you have the time to wait for a probate sale, you may be able to get a higher price for your property.
- Type of Property: If you need to sell real estate, a probate sale may be necessary. In this case, you’ll need to work with a personal representative and follow the legal process for selling probate property.
- Involvement of the Court: If you’re comfortable with the court being involved in the sale of your property, a probate sale may be a good option. However, if you’d prefer to avoid the red tape, an estate sale may be a better fit.
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Tips for Successfully Selling Probate Property
If you decide to go through with a probate sale, here are a few tips to help you successfully sell your property:
- Work with a probate attorney: A probate attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that everything is handled correctly.
- Gather all necessary documents: You’ll need to have the will, any deeds to the property, and any other important documents in order to proceed with the sale.
- Find a good real estate agent: It’s important to work with an experienced real estate agent who has knowledge of the probate process and can help you get the best deal for your property.
- Set a fair list price: Be sure to work with your real estate agent to determine a fair list price for your property. You’ll want to consider the current real estate market and the condition of the property when setting the price.
- Be prepared for a court confirmation hearing: If the sale of the property is over a certain amount, you may need to go through a court confirmation hearing to get approval for the sale. This is where a probate attorney can be especially helpful. The probate judge will review the sale and make sure it is fair and reasonable before approving it.
- Get a cashier’s check: When the sale is final, make sure to receive payment in the form of a cashier’s check. This will ensure that the funds are available and secure.
Tips for Successfully Selling Property Through an Estate Sale
If you decide to go with an estate sale, here are a few tips to help you successfully sell your property:
- Work with an estate sale company: Estate sale companies can help you organize and advertise the sale, as well as handle the sale itself.
- Price items fairly: Be sure to work with the estate sale company to determine fair prices for your items. You’ll want to consider the condition and value of the items when setting the prices.
- Prepare the home for the sale: Make sure the home is clean and organized for the sale. This will make it easier for potential buyers to see the items and may help you get a better price for them.
- Advertise the sale: Be sure to advertise the sale through estate sale companies, local newspapers, and online classifieds to attract as many potential buyers as possible.
- Negotiate with interested buyers: You may receive offers from interested buyers during the estate sale. Be prepared to negotiate and try to get the best deal possible.
The Bottom Line
Deciding between an estate sale and a probate sale can be difficult, but understanding the key differences between the two options can help you make an informed decision.
If you’re in a hurry to dispose of property, an estate sale may be the best option.
However, if you have the time to wait and want to potentially get a higher price for your property, a probate sale may be a good choice.
Just be prepared for the legal process and be sure to work with a reliable team of professionals to help you through the process.