If a friend or family member left you a home in California with a mortgage you can't make the payments on, then selling the property during the probate process should be your top priority.
This is important, because just as you will face foreclosure if you don't make the scheduled mortgage payments on your own home, so too will you face foreclosure if you don't make timely payments on the inherited property!
Though you need to discuss the specifics of the probate process in your state with your probate attorney, listed below is what you need to know to sell a probate house in California:
Have Your Attorney Request "Letters of Administration in Full" From the Probate Court
Before you can list the home for sale, the judge in your probate case must first issue a decree giving you ownership of the real estate. This form is called the "Letters of Administration".
The judge can give you either "full" or "limited authority to sell the house. If the court will only grant you limited authority to sell the property due to multiple heirs or other legal issues, then you will need to submit purchase offers to the courts to get approval to sell. This can delay sales. For this reason, your petition should be for "full" authority.
The Property You Wish to Sell Must be Professionally Appraised
While you are waiting to receive your Letters of Administration from the probate court, have the house professionally appraised. If the probate court requires a special appraiser, then you will need to have them do the appraisal. If not, ask a local realtor for a recommended home appraiser working in the local area.
Probate Houses Require Special Forms for Purchase Offers
When buyers make an offer on a probate house, they need to fill out special probate purchase agreement forms rather than the standard purchase agreement paperwork. Since selling homes in probate is a common thing, all realtors will have the correct forms.
Selling the Probate House
Once you have a signed Probate Purchase Agreement form, then you need to ask the court for permission to close the sale if you have limited sales authority.
During this time, you are required to keep the house advertised for sale and other buyers can bid on the house the day the courts approve the sale if they wish to do so.
However, if you have full permission to sell the home, then you can sell it and the title company will deposit the proceeds from the sale into the estate's bank account.