Scroll to the bottom for the current list of homes for sale in the Triangle that are estate sales. For some great tips on purchasing estate sales in North Carolina read on!
When you hear the term “estate sale,” do you think heirlooms, yard tools, and old china? You’re not alone if that’s your first thought but if you’re in the real estate market, the term also means that a house is for sale - and it may be a smart choice for you! A home that is being sold as an ‘estate sale’ is a home that is part of an estate; it may have debts against it that can only be satisfied through the sale of the house.
Usually, it is being sold either by an executor of the estate (if the homeowner had a will) or a local probate court (if there was no will). There are rules and regulations on who can sell - and when - that make this sort of real estate transaction outside the normal process of buying a house. [Note: For estate planning purposes, you want to make sure that you leave very specific instructions in your will about the disposition of a home.]
There are pros and cons to this type of sale and understanding those is the best bet for savvy home buyers. Here are some factors to consider.
The process varies and can be anywhere between one and twelve months to assume ownership with these homes. You will either be dealing with the executor of an estate (if a will was left) or someone appointed by a probate court to oversee the process.
An executor may also be an heir and if so, they may be grieving through the process and not able to make quick decisions. If there are multiple executors/heirs, they may not all be on the same page in terms of the disposition of the property or the price. They may not all be easily reachable either; in some cases, the court will appoint someone to serve the interests of heirs that are not able to be contacted.
Depending on how much is owed to creditors and who those creditors are (IRS, for example) can also lengthen the time for the house to be available to buy.
If there is no will, and a court becomes the decision-maker, there will be a process in place that includes how the court will accept bids, counter-bids, and closing times. All these steps can cause additional time to finalize a sale. It might be necessary to hire a real estate attorney to walk you through potential complications in these sales.
These properties are usually sold “as-is.” That doesn’t mean that the executor or court can keep anything “bad” from you that they discover or know about, but it does mean that there could very well be issues that are not readily apparent. If the previous owner is deceased and the heirs have no first-hand knowledge of the property, there may be deferred maintenance issues that are not easily seen.
So, although in most real estate transactions, serious home inspection issues are reason enough for a buyer to pull out of a sale, that’s often not the case here. You will be expected to take the house no matter what.
What makes these houses most attractive is that they are often listed at a low price, sometimes considerably lower than market value. The executor of an estate is often motivated to sell the property and be done. There is also less competition for these houses as unlike short sales and foreclosures, many home buyers aren’t even aware of these types of sales.
For property going through probate court, you will be expected to put down 10% with your bid. This deposit is most likely not refundable unless 1) you are outbid on the property, or 2) the probate court rejects your offer for another reason. Also, your closing may be delayed by a few days at the last minute as you wait for court approval.
Here are some pluses to the estate sale path.
They can be great purchases for a home buyer to renovate and have some built-in equity. Many estate sales won't go quite as crazy in bidding wars, so you can also get them for a more reasonable price - sometimes significantly so - than a home that has already been fixed up.
Now, it’s true that you may have to live through a renovation. Fortunately, working with a local realtor (such as me!) means you have someone to provide contractor recommendations to make that process a little easier.
And if you’re interested in flipping a house, you’re already expecting to have to go in and renovate, so these types of homes can have great appeal.
If a court is involved, you may be expected to show proof that you can purchase without any contingencies. However, it is usually possible to close an estate sale with a normal conventional loan.
It may also be possible to borrow against a current home’s equity and get a loan for an estate sale, similar to the way people leverage equity in a primary residence to buy a second home.
Your lender will probably require that the home appraise for the full value of your offer, and you would have to make up the difference to proceed with the closing.
If you’re interested in finding one of these homes, don’t be surprised if searching for “estate sale” brings you nothing but links to sales for the “contents” of the houses. Try “probate sales” or “inherited property sales” if you want to search on your own, but the easiest way is to let us do the work for you! Below are all the current listings for estate sale homes in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.
Price Improvements!11.3+- Acres Mini Farm! 577' road front, cleared & wooded, also 2.7+-Acres portion at back of land that is part of much larger pond owned by adjoining...
Price reduced! 25.18+- Acres . 15+- Acres cleared, 8 +- Acres woods 2.18+- acre portion of Large Pond front . 1,500' +- road front ,corner Bethel Baptist & Hayes Rd. Coun...
Sandy Plain Mini Mart a convenance store which has been a fixture on Hwy 50 for many years. The store has a kitchen and fixtures which convey with the property. Only a mi...
Listings provided courtesy of Triangle MLS, Inc. of NC, Internet Data Exchange Database. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. © 2023 Triangle MLS, Inc. of North Carolina. Data last updated .