Selling an Estate, Inherited or Subject to Probate Homes or Land in the Fraser Valley.. ?
Its never a comfortable situation and a lot of work but I am here to make the process smooth and easy.
When someone passes away, often a family member or close friend is named the Executor and is responsible for settling the Estate. This often includes selling the deceased parent’s or friend’s real estate holdings, whether that is a house, condominium, townhome or land.
If the Executor named in the Will declines to act as Executor, or there is no Will, the Court appoints someone to act as Administrator of an estate.
Being named as the Executor or Administrator for a loved one who has died can be particularly difficult. In addition to dealing with the complexities of settling the Estate and selling the loved one’s home, you are often in the midst of the grieving process.
Prior to a new owner being able to take title to a property in an Estate, the Estate has to go through a process to legally confirm that the deceased’s Will is their last valid Will and that the Executor named in the Will has the right to receive the assets of the deceased. At the end of the process, probate is granted by a BC Probate Court and the real estate goes into the name of the Executor of the estate. The Executor can then transfer title to a buyer.
One of the most common questions I am asked is whether you can I list a property for sale in BC before probate has been granted.
The short answer is yes, you can list a home for sale prior to probate being granted, but there are several things you should consider as the Executor of the Estate, when it comes to selling a home after someone has passed away.
Because one cannot transfer the title to a new owner until probate is granted, is it better to wait until you have been granted probate before listing the house for sale?
It really depends. In a seller’s market which Vancouver and the Fraser Valley has been experiencing, it may be in the Estate’s best interest to list the home for sale sooner. Even if the Estate is straightforward, the probate courts can be backed up and getting a grant of probate can take months (5-12) In that time, the real estate market could shift and the home you are needing to sell could end up being worth less after probate is granted. In addition, the Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley real estate market, traditionally experiences seasonal shifts. The time of year when probate might be eventually granted may not be the optimal time to sell a home.
For this reason, and others, it is sometimes advantageous for an Estate to list a home for sale and have an accepted offer and firm commitment from a buyer before probate is granted.
In a seller’s market, there are typically many buyers who will consider purchasing a home that is subject to probate. They maybe renting and can afford to wait or someone has sold and is living with a friend or family I see lots of different senarios. When acting for a home seller in a probate situation, it is important that the contract of purchase and sale is properly drafted.
Another question often asked is can a home buyer move into the property before probate has been granted and title has passed to the buyer?
I often have situations in which an Estate receives an excellent offer from a buyer, but the buyer wants to take possession of the home prior to the granting of probate. This typically occurs when a buyer has sold their own house and will be without a home before the grant of probate is expected. In these situations, I usually defer both parties to get legal independent advice. It has been know to happen on occasion but there are clauses that can be include in the contract, that allow the buyer to move into the home prior to taking title of the property. The advantage to the Estate is that, in a properly drafted contract, once the buyer takes possession, the buyer typically becomes responsible for property taxes, utilities and repairs, and, if it is a strata property, strata fees and special levies. In addition, insurance companies prefer that homes are not left vacant. There are risks in entering this type of arrangement, which is why it typically does not happen but the lawyers would discuss with home sellers who are Executors of Estate property, making sure they understand and are comfortable with the risks and they are well protected.
Another question: Someone recently passed and I have inherited their home. I want to sell the property, but I am not that familiar with it, is that going to be a problem when I want to list the home for sale?
As part of my services when I list a property for sale, I provide an in-depth market valuation so you will know what price the home should be listed for in the current market. When listed I put together a complete marketing package including professional photos, floor plans, drone, cinematic tour and more and even staging services when or if desired.
I also discuss what, if any, representations you, as Executor, can make about the property and the risk of doing so. In most non-Estate sales in British Columbia, the home seller provides a series of representations to potential buyers in a document called the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS). The PDS is normally attached to the offer to purchase. If any of the statements in the PDS are untrue and the home buyer suffers damages relying on the untrue statement, the buyer can successfully sue the seller for those damages. But dont worry, there are exceptions, and this would be one of them, In most Estate situations, if neither the Executor, or the heir, is familiar with the property, has not lived or resided in the property to provide representations to potential buyers. we would tell them to not fill in the PDS because they do not know what if anything is wrong or not wrong with the property.
If you have any further questions reach out and call Ronald 778.996.7653