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The top five questions posed by Inland Empire trustees, executors and administrators

Having worked in the Inland Empire probate and trust real estate market for many years, I have found that there are some questions trustees, executors and administrators ask time and time again. If you’re an Inland Empire trustee, executor or administrator you likely have some of these same burning questions that you would like answers to, and here are my top five.

Question #1: Should I make repairs to the real estate in a trust or probate prior to selling it?

Answer: The simple answer is….Maybe

Every estate property is distinctive in too many ways to simply give a cookie cutter answer to this question. Some of the variables that have the most influence on this question include:

  1. How liquid is the estate? – If the monetary value of the estate is wrapped up in the estate property, then it may not be wise to postpone the sale for repairs. On the other hand, if these is a great deal of liquid assets (money in accessible accounts) it may help increase the estate property value to complete cost- effective repairs.
  2. What is the state of the market? – When in a buyer’s market, it may be necessary to apply more money towards completing cost-effective repairs before selling. A seller’s market may allow for more competition looking to buy the property, in less than perfect condition, and could allow for a speedy sale with a high sale price.
  3. How good or bad is the condition of the estate property? Minor repairs are often needed for safety when selling a property using FHA or VA loans. However, if those repairs are extensive, it is simply more logical to sell an estate property to conventional or cash buyers avoiding having to make the repairs at all.                                                                         Question #2: What needs to be completed by me, the trustee, executor or administrator, to prepare the estate property for sale?

    Answer: Find Help and Delegate

    As the estate representative, it is your responsibility to represent the estate to the best of your ability and obtain the most money for the beneficiaries. After years of experience working with many trustees, executors and administrators, like you, I’ve observed that the most efficient way to fulfill your responsibility is simply to get help. There are countless vendors that can utilize to help make the process easier on you and ensure that the estate property is prepared and sold for top dollar in any market.

    Question#3 How do I, as the trustee, executor or administrator, determine the best list price for the estate property?

    Answer: Hire an experienced real estate agent to assess the value of the estate property.

    An experienced real estate agent will determine the list price of the estate property by gathering comparable prices from other properties in the area; then compare those properties to the estate property. It will include in-depth information on the recent sales in the area, such as price per square foot, condition of the properties and the number of days the property was on the market

    Question #4: Is the paperwork for the sale of a estate property different from a traditional real estate transaction?

    Answer: Yes

    In most real estate transactions, the seller is required to disclose information about the property, including defects such as water intrusion, roof leaks, broken appliances, evidence of pest infestation, etc. For estate properties this is not the necessarily the case because the trustee, executor or administrator typically has never lived in the property so they’re not aware of these types of defect. Probate and trust sales require special disclosures, listing agreements and purchase contracts. The California Association of Realtors has forms specifically for probate and trust transactions.

    Question #5: How do I choose a real estate agent to help me prepare, market, and successfully sell the estate property?

    Answer: Do your research

    You are free to choose any Inland Empire licensed real estate agent, but it is important to remember that probate and trust real estate sales are complicated legal matters. Most real estate agents are not experienced or well-versed in the probate or trust sale process in California. It makes sense to choose a real estate agent, like me, who specializes in probate and trust real estate. Have more questions?