Probate and Short Sales

These are 2 types of Listings which treat courts and banks as real estate principals. Short Sales are rare in this market when most people have some equity, reasonable or not.

Each of these listing types come with unique responsibilities as buyers and sellers. These non-human entities (Courts, Banks) have an exclusive authority over the success and even progress of a conveyance of a residential parcel.

Short Sales are so called because a market sales price would be too low (“short”) to pay all liens recorded on the title of the parcel. All lenders with a lien on the parcel will need to approve a proposed sale. When 2nd’s exist, success becomes rare because 2nd’s usually get ZERO. This Short seller is said to be “in distress”. And if a lender chooses to foreclose before a successful Short Sale, the parcel usually becomes “bank owned” (REO, Real Estate Owned).

Probate info: https://www.courts.ca.gov/8865.htm

Probate Sales, where an heir or beneficiary is selling, almost always require the oversight of a probate judge and sometimes require the final approval like a Short Sale. And the tasks inserted by the judge NEVER make things work more quickly – adding weeks, at best. Probate exists for those asset owners who die with or without a Will (a Living Trust helps avoid Probate) and no “written wishes” are documented. Hence, heir or assumed bene. Justice suddenly becomes the live owner to “ensure” the execution of unwritten wishes of the dead owner. And to give it a real downside, someone who thinks they have a vested interest can appear in the 12th hour and buy the asset for $1 more than the offer patiently sitting on the table for 5+ weeks. And the judge must acquiesce. (It is really that absurd. Read that again.)

Whether a distressed seller (Short Sale) or heir/beneficiary (Probate), getting an offer is MUCH easier than getting to success. If the buyers don’t continue, the seller and process must start over with a new buyer. Short and Probate buyers almost have a contractual duty to “sit on their hands”. Writing an offer on another listing is a violation of convention (contractual breach in Short Sales).

Agents exist everywhere and will gladly help these buyers violate their “duty” to wait. I can’t do this for my clients who are short or probate buyers.