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How to sell your Tampa house during probate

How to sell your Tampa house during probate
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Probate is not easy. If you’re one of the unlucky people who has to go through the probate process following the death of a loved one, you know that it’s intimidating and challenging. If you think you want to sell a house in probate, you’ll need some information about how to make it happen. 

Can you sell during probate?

The short answer is that, yes, you can sell during probate in Tampa. In fact, it’s sometimes required that a home is sold in probate in order to resolve the estate.

Estate debts have to be settled under state law. An estate attorney will have to navigate probate laws, in conjunction with an estate executor, in order to get the home sold. The home cannot be sold in probate unless the court approves.

Selling a house during probate is actually more common than people think. This is why probate sales are a great place for an experienced cash buyer to find an investment. The probate process is public, so investors know that it’s happening.

The basics of Florida probate

A home is real property and has value in the eyes of Florida law, value that must be adequately passed to the right person. 

If the deceased doesn’t have a will or there is no clear next of kin, then the property goes to the courts to decide who gets the property. An executor is appointed by the court to make decisions about the property. 

Appraising the property

The first step in selling a house in Tampa is to get the home appraised. Knowing the value of the home is the key to being able to convince the court to allow a probate sale to go through. 

You can find an appraiser through referrals from friends or family members. You can also look online for a well reviewed home appraiser. A good appraiser will be able to tell you exactly what the home is worth and what potential problems will arise with buyers. 

A solid appraisal will help the home sell fast, which is especially important when you sell a house in probate.

Tampa probate court

Probate court gavel in Tampa


Tampa probate court is in the Hillsborough County Courthouse in the city. This is where heirs go to petition the court for a decision about the sale of a house in probate. 

Probate court is a civil court proceeding. The legal process to resolve a deceased person’s estate happens when the probate court splits the real estate and other probate property among the heirs. Probate courts make tough decisions about which family members and friends have a claim on the estate assets.

An experienced probate attorney will be able to help navigate probate law, splitting up the proceeds from the sale of real estate.

What to know about the probate process

Real estate sales in Florida during probate have to be arranged by an estate executor. Whenever there is a court hearing for the probate process, the estate executor will ensure that the proper filing of bids is done.

If there was a joint owner with the home, the house will not go into probate at all. The court will typically appoint a relative or friend as the estate executor if there isn’t a joint owner or a legal will saying where the property should go.

Marketing a house in probate

Getting the word out to buyers agents that the home is for sale is an important part of the probate process. This involves listing the house online and reaching out to real estate agents in Tampa. The more eyes you can get on the house, the faster you’ll be able to find a buyer while the house is in probate. 

The other option is to find a cash buyer to sell a house in probate to. A real estate investor will know about the probate process and will be able to help you get the home sold quickly.

If there are major repairs that need to be done to the house, then the property may need to be sold as is. The estate might not have the funds to make repairs, and a traditional sale is often out of the question. Still, many people decide to go with an experienced real estate agent to sell a home during probate.

Keep in mind that a real estate agent sale will decrease the amount of profit that will come from the sale. Always be sure to work with a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Also, seek out an agent who has experience with probate sales, rather than just with the traditional home sale.

Understanding the probate sale

During the probate sale process in Tampa, there are some requirements of the buyer that are unique to this situation. 

Under Florida law, a buyer’s offer has to come with ten percent of the purchase price as part of a down payment. The deposit can be more than that, with an all cash offer, but it must be at least this month. 

If the representative of the estate, working with the probate attorney, agrees to the sale at the bidded price, then it goes in front of the probate judge. The judge will decide whether to validate the sale. 

With the judge’s blessing, a date is set for the sale to be finalized. This is only possible if all the parties agree to the sale. 

Probate costs

There are probate costs to contend with as part of the probate court proceedings. These include the costs of a personal representative, a probate attorney, court costs, and closing costs that are associated with the sale of a house in probate.

Probate property doesn’t just include the proceeds from the real estate sale, but also the bank holdings that were in the name of the deceased person and any life insurance policy funds that are part of the estate’s assets.

Presenting to the heirs

Family coming together to celebrate loved one in Tampa

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If the property has an accepted offer, then the court mails a Notice of Planned Actions to the heirs. This legal document explains all of the ins and outs of the deal. 

Each of the heirs has fifteen days to object to the sale if they don’t want it to go through. If no one speaks up to object, then the deal goes ahead without another hearing. 

Overbidding in a probate sale

Before the final sale is approved by the court in Tampa, the home sale is opened to bidders. 

For a bid to be submitted, it must be five percent plus five hundred dollars above the previous offer. The overbidding process is all about getting the most amount of money into the hands of the estate.

The judge continues to accept bids until bidding is complete and no further bids are submitted. To sell a home in probate, this auction step must be taken. Potential buyers have the chance to buy inherited property for any reason.  

When selling a home in probate is necessary

To settle the affairs of the estate of someone who passes, it’s sometimes necessary to sell a house in probate. Oftentimes, a sale during probate is the only way for the heirs to get their piece of the estate. 

Outstanding debts are another reason that an estate sale might be necessary. It’s a complicated process, but if the remaining assets don’t cover the bills left behind, then the proceeds have to go to settle the estate.

In many cases, the family members don’t want to keep the home. It may be necessary for the proceeds divided among the heirs to come from the property left behind.

What happens to the money from a probate sale?

Couple holding hands in Tampa, FL

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The first thing that happens to the money after a home is sold in probate is that it goes into a trust for three months. The buyer takes possession of the property during this time, but the funds are not available to the heirs until the end of ninety days. This time allows for any other unexpected claims on the money.  

When a home in probate is sold, the money goes to the estate, not to the individual heirs first. The proceeds from a probate sale are first used to pay down the debts associated with the estate. 

After the debts are settled, then the remainder of the funds are split between the heirs according to the will of the judge. 

Why probate sales are not uncommon

Probate sales are not uncommon in Tampa because all too often, people pass away without a clear will to take care of their debts and assign their possessions to. 

This is why it’s so important for everyone to write a will and ensure that every family member who has a right to the estate is included and that there’s enough to cover the debts from the estate. Unfortunately, it’s often that property is not clearly divided up in a will or that a will exists at all.

When a person dies, it’s hard on everyone. The probate process is meant to help ease the strife that can come without a valid will.

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