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Selling a House From a Deceased Estate

Questions Covered in This Article

What To Do When You Inherit a House?


When you’re selling a house, sometimes the traditional sales model won’t cut it. There are all types of scenarios where people need to sell a house quickly.


One scenario where people might say “I need to sell my house fast” is if they’ve inherited a house from a deceased estate. When relatives or loved ones pass away, they can often leave real estate behind.


The majority of people own at least one house when they pass away. And, if they’ve used real estate as an investment vehicle during their life, they may own more.


Today, we’re going to talk about how to navigate the process of selling a house from a deceased estate.

There are a few questions you’ll need to ask and a few obstacles you’ll need to overcome.

What You Need to Know First: The Probate

Before we jump into the process of selling a house you’ve inherited from an estate, there is some terminology we need to familiarize ourselves with. When a person passes away, their estate needs to be processed officially through the court system. This process is called probate.


Probate proceedings require an attorney. They will also require some money out of pocket.

Why is a Probate Necessary When Selling a House from a Deceased Estate?


When a house goes through probate, you’re paying the attorney to settle all of the decedent’s (the person who died) accounts. The attorney will take out an ad in the local financial newspaper and alert all of the decedent’s creditors that they’ve passed away. Those creditors will then have a certain amount of time (it varies by state) to collect on any outstanding debts they’re owed.


Once this process is finished, the final step is signing the title over to the heirs. It’s at this point, and only at this point, that you have the right to sell the house.


If the decedent has a will, it will make the probate process easier. But, it doesn’t eliminate the need for probate. The Will will appoint an “executor” of the estate. They are usually appointed by the decedent prior to their death. 


The executor is responsible for closing out all of the decedent’s affairs. This includes selling any property. If no executor has been named, then the next closest of kin will be assigned by the court to fill that role.

Is There a Spouse?

One of the only times you won’t need the probate process is in the case of a surviving spouse. Marriages are recorded in county records. In certain states, if you can provide a marriage certificate, you can work around the probate process.


Once the court has proof of a legal marriage tying a person to the decedent as their spouse, the paperwork is minimal. The court can help you through the necessary paperwork to sign the house over and then you’ll be able to sell it.


Most couples who own property in Pennsylvania own their property as “Tenancy by the entirety”. This is the official way the title to the home is held at the courthouse. This is also what allows your spouse’s ownership of the property to pass to you upon their death.

Did the Owner Receive Medical Assistance?


One of the things that may make the probate process more complicated is medical assistance. If the decedent lived in an assisted living facility or nursing home, they may have outstanding bills for their care at the time of their death. 


Oftentimes, people who need this kind of care rely on government services like Medicaid to provide the funding. If the decedent has used this type of funding for medical bills in the past 5 years, Medicaid may be able to make a claim on the property.


The Pennsylvania Department of Welfare (DPW) can ask to be reimbursed for this money. It’s the job of the executor or your attorney to contact the DPW to see if there’s any money owed. An important part of the probate process is getting written proof that any and all accounts with the DPW are settled and closed.


Any outstanding money owed under the Medical Assistance Estate Recovery Program (MAER) would have to be paid out of the decedent’s estate. If there’s no money to pay those bills, the government could put a lien on the house to ensure they get paid.

How Should You Sell Your Deceased Estate? 


So, the probate process is over and you have the right to sell the house. What do you do next?


Well, you have two options. You can choose to list the house with a real estate agent or you could sell it to an investor.


The most important question is: do you need a certain price or do you want to sell quickly?


Most of the time houses from an estate need work. In the last years of a person’s life, they may struggle to keep up with their house.


If that sounds like your scenario, you may want to consider selling to an investor.

Best Way to Sell Your Deceased Estate May Be a Cash Offer


If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of staging, doing repairs, dealing with showings, and waiting for buyers to get financed, selling the deceased estate to an investor for cash may be your best option. 


If you need to sell an estate quickly, contact First Choice Home Buyers. We are a local home buying company located near Harrisburg, PA.


We can make you a fair cash offer within 24 hours of seeing the house. We’ll cover the closing costs and you’ll also save thousands in Realtor commissions. We can even close quickly too!


Listing with an agent can take an average of 4-6 months to close. And during that time, the mortgage payments and taxes don’t stop. This means more money out of your pocket by the time the house actually sells.

Sell Your Deceased Estate Quickly With First Choice Home Buyers


Selling a house in probate doesn’t have to be hard. An attorney can walk you through the legal process.


Then, once you’re able to sell the house, just search for a local investor in your area. For example, type “sell my house fast Harisburg PA” into Google if that’s where you live. 


If you have any questions, contact our team at First Choice Home Buyers. We handle transactions like this every day. We’re more than happy to help you navigate the process and take the stress off your plate at a difficult time.

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