Estate Sales Marketing Campaign

3 Replies

I am starting a marketing campaign tailored to estate sales. I believe that someone just passed away and the home is going to be shortly sold after that. 

I am not too familiar with probates and how they work. Can I purchase a home before it goes to probate or if it is in a trust does it have to go to probate court?

If someone dies and leaves a will then it will be required to go through the probate process.  I know it is more difficult to avoid probate in general, as it takes prior planning, but it is possible. 

Now if title was held as joint tenants or by entirety it wouldn't go to probate unless both owners passed away at the same time. 

I'm speaking here from a Wisconsin perspective. What works in my state might not work in yours.

The estate here can sell a house that is in probate, but the sale typically happens several months after the initial probate filing. As in most if not all other states, Wisconsin requires estates in probate to publish a notice to potential creditors, who then have a specified amount of time to file a claim against the estate. The house will be more likely to sell after the estate clears things up with any creditors that file claims. Those claims generally come from medical service providers, mortgage companies, and credit card issuers.

The estate sells the house with a deed that gives no warranties to the buyer. You need a good title company to verify that you are getting clean title. 

I market to a lot of estates in 35 counties around Wisconsin. There's an art to it that I am still trying to master. Many heirs initially feel that they should get a full after market value for the house. Occasionally, a probate judge will throw a wrench into the process if you offer a low price, particularly if its below the assessed value for real estate taxes. The reality is that a house that has been owned by the same person for 40+ years usually needs a lot of work. I've seen more shag carpets and green and pink kitchens than I thought ever existed. Watch out for hoarders, too. I had a house under contract last October that needed three 20-yard dumpsters for the stuff that the deceased owner had accumulated in the basement.

You're right about the title. I will not approach an estate if a joint tenant is still alive. If nothing else, I feel that it's bad form to approach someone about buying a house if they are mourning a spouse that lived in the house with them for a long time. 

A trust can sell a house apart from an estate, but the beneficial interest in the trust may be part of someone's estate, so you will be back to square one.   

@Michael White

Yes you can. If probate has begun it's called the administration process ( or the appointment phase) and during the process make your offer Subject To the proposed PR being confirmed by the court as Administrator of the estate.

(Mark Pedroza makes this offer "Subject To" Michael White being confirmed by the court as Administrator of the Jane/John Doe estate)

A trust sale is a regular sale and is not to be confused with a trustee's sale. The trust sale refers to any property where title is held by the trust and the trustee (or successor trustee) of the trust is the seller.

Good luck...