The Doctor is in!

Tips on buying or selling a house that’s in the middle of probate, due to death or divorce.

There are two types of probate situations that I lovingly call the two “D’s” -  Death and Divorce. Both situations can create an enormous amount of extra emotions behind a real estate transaction and often times turn Realtors and probate attorneys into psychoanalysts, to say the least. Yes, we already have to be good listeners but sometimes we go a little beyond that!

Divorce is obviously a situation that you never expect yourself to be in. Unfortunately, when you are in a divorce your home is most likely one of the largest marital assets needing to be divided, and usually this means having to sell the house in order to satisfy the judgment of divorce. You can only imagine the bitter feelings and feelings of sadness that can go along with this type of transaction for both adults and other family members, as well. Business transactions fueled by heated emotions can be very tough.

I can remember about 10 years ago being at a closing table with a divorced couple who were selling the home to a young female first time home buyer. You can imagine that the couple did not have the warm and fuzzies for each other, oh no quite the opposite. After about 15 minutes of sitting across from each the wife just couldn’t contain herself a moment longer and just like Mt St. Helens she erupted and started yelling expletives at her former husband, who promptly threw his pen at her and exclaimed he wouldn’t  sign as he pulled an Elvis and left the building. The poor buyer was left in shock and disbelief. It was up to me at that point to become Lucy and head out to the parking lot for a 30 minute listen to all the ex had done to him. When he was finally done venting I convinced him that the only way to really be done with her was to sign and move on. He agreed as long as she left the room, and she did. It was not easy and of course something I will never forget.

If you are buying a home from a divorced couple be sure to have lots of patience! Inquire at what stage of divorce they are in, and be sure your attorney talks to both divorce attorneys so you know that everyone is on the same page. It’s also not a bad idea for divorced couples to sign at different times to avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation.

In matters of death it can be more difficult, as instead of dealing with two people you can be dealing with an estate of multiple siblings who may or may not get along. 

Attorney Theresa Capobianco  has been through this quite a bit. Sometimes you have to do a lot of listening to multiple parties on what they think is best for all involved. Emotions run very high when you mix grief with business and family matters. In the end my job is to be sure that the estate is handled properly by the Executor and that all filings are complete. Listening to peoples stories is just part of the job and helps them to ultimately make the right estate decisions.”

If you are buying a house from an estate you should know that only one person is the executor or executrix of the estate and is actually the one in charge of all signing and decision making, not always a popular job.

Be sure you are certain if he has already received his license to sell from the court, as this can delay signing documents and closing on the property.

Again remember that patience here is the key. These sales can take longer if the proper homework is not done prior to offering the home for sale.

In summation, If you are buying or selling a house with the 2”D’S” try to keep your emotions in check and focus on the two “F’s” instead, Family First!



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