Why You Should Never Sell To An Investor…
…Without Talking To Me First
When you’re responsible for a home in probate you’ll be flooded with offers from investors offering some quick cash to sell the home. DON’T SIGN ANYTHING WITHOUT TALKING TO ME FIRST! Here’s why;
The dirty little secret is that many of these investors have no intention of ever buying the property. Your read that correctly, most investors never actually buy probate real estate. They just want you to sign their one sided contract to tie up the sale of the home and create what is called an “equitable interest” in the property.
Then they sell or assign the contract that you signed to someone else pocketing all the profit without ever putting any of their money at risk. Its your signature on a contract that gives them the right to buy the property at below market value they want, not the actual property. If they can’t quickly “flip” the contract they will cancel the sale wasting your time.
I’m not saying never sell to an investor. What I’m saying is never sell to an investor without talking to me first.
What I offer is simple, a free no obligation review of the probate real estate. I’ll tell you how much the home is worth AS-IS.
I can tell you what repairs you could make to maximize the homes value.
I’ll even tell you what price is fair market value IF you do want to sell to an investor.
Duties of an Executor
As executor of the estate, you have a fiduciary duty to make sure the decedent’s estate is handled in the proper manner under the law. A fiduciary is held to the highest standards of care under the law.
Typically, the executor hires an attorney to assist them. An attorney will understand the complexities and nuances of estate and tax law. They will advise you on what to do with different estate assets and handle any challenges from beneficiaries and much more.
Although not a complete list, the executor generally has the following responsibilities, all of which an attorney can assist with:
> Secure the original will of the decedent if there is one
> Usually hire an attorney for the estate
> Take the original will and the death certificate to the county Register of Wills office
> Become formally named as executor/trustee of the estate by the Orphans Court
> Inventory the estate
> Open an estate bank account
> Pay any applicable debts or remaining bills of the decedent
> Advertise the estate as required by law for any creditor claims
> Liquidate the estate assets including real property, stocks, bonds, etc
> Distribution of assets to heirs, trusts, beneficiaries etc
> File PA inheritance tax return and pay taxes
> File final income tax return for decedent
> File state estate income tax return
> File federal estate tax return if applicable
Remember, I am not an attorney, I am a real estate broker who specializes in probate real estate.
For legal advice always contact an attorney.
For real estate advice, contact me.
Probate Process In Pennsylvania
If you recently lost a beloved family member or friend, we want to convey our deepest condolences to you and your family. Losing a loved one is an exceedingly difficult event to cope with on several levels. Whether or not your loved one left a Last Will & Testament with instructions on what to do upon his or her passing, his or her estate will need to go through the probate process.
The good news is that compared to most states the probate process is streamlined in Pennsylvania. The probate process in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery. Chester and Bucks counties are all very similar. The steps below are just meant as a guideline for you. Each estate will vary in terms of size and complexity, and you may need to take other steps not outlined below depending on the situation. If you have any legal questions or uncertainties we always recommend that you speak to an attorney who specializes in estate law.
Remember, I am not an attorney. I am a real estate agent who specializes in Pennsylvania probate real estate . For legal advice always contact an attorney. For probate real estate advice contact me.
Usual Probate Steps in Pennsylvania
Step 1: Locate and secure the Will if any and all amendments (codicils) to the Will and any previous Wills. Do not under any circumstances remove, add or alter any page. Tampering with the Will may cause irreparable harm to the administration of the estate. Provide the testator’s immediate family members with a certified copy of the death certificate and a receipt for burial and funeral costs. A family member can provide this to any financial institution holding the testator’s savings and receive $3,500 before the estate’s expenses are paid.
Step 2: This is when you must gather all the financial papers of the estate so you get a handle on exactly what you are dealing with. Take your time getting organized because you want to move forward with all the documentation you need. Gather all tax returns for the past five years such as retirement account statements, bank account statements, credit card statements, deeds, trust papers, mortgages, auto title and loans, bills and any other financial paperwork you find. Remember to continually check the deceased’s incoming mail for any bills or notices.
The next step is to call a probate and estate planning attorney to begin the probate process. The attorney will start by asking for an inventory of the estate so its best to have everything the attorney will need to proceed with the probate process on your first consultation.
Step 3: Take everything you gathered in step two and meet with the attorney. The attorney will now start the probate process. He will work with you to value the testator’s assets and identify the ones that do not have to pass through the probate process. Assets that do not go through probate are anything that passed directly to a beneficiary when the testator died. Examples of assets that do not go through probate include real estate where the deed is held with a second party who has rights of survivorship, insurance policies and retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, and assets held in trust. These types of assets are automatically distributed.
The attorney will now be able to estimate the size of the estate and give an estimate of the Pennsylvania inheritance tax due, the attorneys fee and if any federal estate taxes need to be paid.
Step 4: Go with the attorney to the local Register of Wills where the testator (the deceased who made the will) lived and where the Will orginated (if any). Submit a certified copy of the death certificate along with the Will. The Register will give you several forms to be filled out. Some of those forms may be a petition for a grant of letters and an estate information sheet. You will also pay a probate tax based on the value of the estate. The fee for the county depends on the size of the estate and how many certificates are issued.
If the will is not “self-proved” with a notarized statement by the testator and the witnesses then the witnesses should go with you to the Register so they can supply a statement directly to the Register verifying the authenticity of the will. The Register will then most likely give you an oath of office as executer and give you documentation in the form of Letters of Testamentary or Letters of Administration which allow you to act and make decisions and transactions for the estate
Step 5: Post a notice in the local newspaper advising the testator’s creditors that the estate is in probate. Also, notices are sent to all possible beneficiaries of the estate. Your attorney can help you with this. Creditors only have a limited amount of time to make claims against the estate. You can take no other action until this time period expires.
Step 6: Now is the time to make a decision about any real estate held by the estate. Call me a call at 610 707-1500 and I can assist you.
Step 7: Pay any and all taxes due. Pennsylvania levies an inheritance tax which must be paid within nine months of the testator’s date of death. If you make an estimated payment within 3 months to the State a 5% discount is applied. Federal estate taxes might also be due, depending on the size of the estate. The testator’s individual state and federal tax returns must be filed for their last year of life.
Step 8: Pay any claims for debts you received in response to your newspaper notice, assuming they are legitimate. The remaining assets, after payment of debts, taxes and estate expenses, will need to be liquidated or divided to the will’s beneficiaries by the executor with the assistance of the attorney. Once this is done now you can close the estate.
LINKS TO ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
LINKS TO COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS OFFICE WEBSITES
We Make Selling Your Probate Home Easy
Many probate executors put off dealing with the property in the probate estate because they don’t know where to start. Dealing with the heirs, attorneys, insurance companies and all the paperwork is stressful enough. When you look at the mountain of work that is involved in preparing your loved ones home for sale most people don’t know where to start.
We can help. We can assist you in developing a plan of action that will get you moving and get the home sold for the most amount of money in the least amount of time and with the fewest hassles so you can put the grief behind you and move on with your life.
Many estate owned homes have been neglected over the years and have deferred maintenance. We can offer hands on property management services as we prepare the home for sale as a part of our listing and marketing service alleviating the stress of maintaining and checking on your loved one’s home.
Take a deep breath and be confident that I can and will handle the details for you even if you live out of the area. We have solid relationships with a variety of professionals that are more than ready to help. Reliable experts, familiar with every aspect of the sale process will take the guess work and anxiety out of the equation by making your loved ones home presentable and ready to sell.
Help like this makes all the difference. As experts in probate and inheritance sales, we have a team of professionals we can call that can offer a full range of services:
Movers and packers
Estate and yard sale services
Charitable organization pick ups
Clean up and trashout services
Board up service
And any other tradesmen or professionals you need as your unique circumstances dictate.
Our Marketing Philosophy and Strategies
We don’t market your home as a probate sale. We market your home as if it was any other home on the market. Here’s why… when home buyers or investors hear the word probate they think that will be able to take advantage of the situation and buy the home for below market value. We’ve all seen those late night infomercials promising to get rich in real estate. Well, most of those programs teach wanna be investors to scour the market for probates and make insulting low ball offers some with the estate even financing the deal. These are the folks that flooded your mailbox with their 10 day all cash offer promises.
This is not the type of buyer our marketing is geared towards. Our marketing takes a look at your individual property and talks to you about what is most important. We then craft an individual marketing strategy designed to attract the type of buyers who are most likely to buy your home. Many times we will run two diferent campaigns to reach out to two different segments of the buying public.
Below are some of the tools we may use to get your home SOLD fast for as much money as possible and with as little hassle to you.
For Sale Sign
Inclusion in the local Multiple Listing Service
Single Property Website
QR Code on Sign Rider
Text Capture System
Email blasts to local agents
Email blasts to every buyer looking for a property in the local area
Door knocking the neighborhood
Property Profile Flyers
Direct Mail Postcard
Phone Calls to local agents
Phone Calls to neighbors
Data Feed to over 100 Real Estate Websites such as Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia.
Follow Up with agents who show your home