Common Mistakes Made When Selling a House in Probate in New York

If you had to sell a house in probate in New York, would you know how to do it? It’s a good question be able to answer because you never quite know when you might find yourself in a situation where you’ve entered the probate process and need to sell your house fast. 

Common Mistakes Made When Selling a House in Probate in New York

Understanding what to do when you’re in probate and whether or not you’re able to sell a house while in probate could end up making a huge difference that also saves you plenty of time and money. This is often a very scary or emotional time for sometime, so the last thing you need to do is add on the confusion or frustration that could come with a house in probate that needs to be sold. 

Let’s take a closer look at the probate process and learn about common mistakes made when selling a house in probate in New York.

Common Probate House Sale Mistakes to Avoid

Selling a house in probate is a very different thing to selling your house normally or traditionally. There are a lot of potential pitfalls and mistakes that you can make when trying to sell your home during the probate provess, so let’s take a closer look at what they are are how to avoid them. 

Not Knowing the Probate Process

First things first, do you understand what the probate process is? If you don’t, that’s okay. Probate is the process that takes place when someone dies and their assets and estate need to be verified. The point is to make sure that any will is legally verified and that the orders of the decedent are carried out as they are instructed. If there isn’t a will, probate is the process where a private court steps in to decide how an estate’s assets will be distributed and who will receive what, even if we’re talking about spouses, children, or other relatives. 

Some people think that having a will means you don’t have to deal with probate, but that is not the case. A will exists so that the probate process will be expedited, speedy, and thorough. It also helps to make things very cut and dry, leaving less room for hard feelings or confusion. 

Underestimating the Time the Probate Process Takes

Sometimes people go into the probate process thinking that it will all be wrapped up in a couple of weeks and they’ll be able to sell the house in New York fast. That is almost certainly not the case. While every probate case is different, it usually takes around seven-to-nine months for a New York probate estate to be property administered. It takes a month for the descendant’s will to be located and read. The executor of the estate has to hire a probate lawyer and other representatives to handle legal and tax issues. A copy of the death certificate needs to be obtained and filed. Then the will and probate petition needs to be filed with the New York Surrogate’s Court. 

And that’s just the first month! You still have to wait for creditors to be paid, the value of the estate to be determined, federal taxes to be filed, and any litigation to be settled. So if you are in a probate process and are hoping for a quick solution, don’t get your hopes up. 

Using Wrong Asset Liquidation Providers

When an estate goes into probate, there is a big decision to make regarding the assets and whether or not to liquidate some or all of them. It depends on the specific situation and can often be determined by the size of the estate’s debt. The estate may come with responsibilities that the executor or inheritors don’t want to deal with, such as a mortgage, utility bills, HOA fees, or liens. 

The decision may be made to liquidate personal property, real property, or investments in the estate, but make sure you do this wisely. Work with an estate sale company with a good reputation, an auction house, or consult your attorney. If you use the wrong asset liquidation providers, you’re either going to get way less money than you expected or they’re going to drag their feet on details that should have been sorted out already. 

Having Incorrect/Incompetent Counsel

Probate attorneys are critical to the probate process. They put together all of the documentation that you’re going to need for court, they create the petitions and filings required, and they speak on behalf of the estate. They’re problem solvers and they’re supposed to fight to make sure the estate gets through probate without too many hassles or problems. 

So if you hire a bad attorney, you could end up with someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing and who could stretch this process out even further than needed, costing you money and time. So make sure the executor and the inheritors do their due diligence and vet attorneys to have the experience needed. 

Forgetting to Secure Estates Personal Property

The executor of an estate is responsible for making sure that all of its assets are secure and kept in good condition, including any New York real estate. This also includes personal property, like items found inside the house or smaller items that it would be easy for someone to pick up and take away. The executor needs to ensure that all personal property is secured and safe before the probate process ends. 

Videotaping and phototaking of the contents of the house is a great way to catalog everything. Changing the locks or ensuring that only one person has access to any personal property is another way to keep a safe watch on things. Otherwise, you might not just be dealing with missing herilooms but also legal challenges for items that were specifically meant for someone. 

How to Avoid These Probate House Sale Mistakes

When it comes to avoiding these kinds of probate home sale mistakes in New York, the answer is usually fairly simple. Do your homework and work with good people. Of course, that can be easier said than done, especially when you really want to sell your house fast in probate. 

Doing our research to work with people who understand probate and understand how to sell a house in probate is key. Leave the Key Homebuyers works with sellers who want to sell their house in probate and can help you. We can help you navigate the process and sell your New York house fast. We don’t require any repairs, we don’t charge commission fees, and we pay cash for houses, which could come in very handy if you need to satisfy any creditors. We want to help you get through this stressful process and we can because we understand it and we understand how to sell houses in probate. 

What to Look for from a Buyer When Selling a House in Probate

When you’re selling a house in probate, you’re going to want to find a buyer who has the means to buy your house fast. You also need a buyer who has enough cash available to make a 10% deposit, which is required as part of the probate process. Even if the estate accepts the offer, the court will have to approve it, though the seller is not 100% committed to buying the house even though their offer was accepted. At this point, a court date will be set to finalize the sale.

Selling a House in Probate

A Notice of Proposed Action will be mailed to all potential heirs and inheritors, and they then have 15 days to make any objections to the sale. If there are none, it moves to court where the judge asks if anyone would like to bid on the property. If someone is willing to bid 5 percent plus $500 above the offer, that can open up a bidding war until someone finally offers more money than the other buyers and the court closes the sale. 

Leave the Key Homebuyers understands this process well and can help you work through it to ensure that your house is sold as it should during the probate process. 


As you can see, selling a house in probate in New York comes with a lot of hoops and potential pitfalls, but if you work with people you trust, you can make it happen and move forward with your life quickly. Contact Leave the Keys Homebuyers for more info today!