The Ultimate Guide to Selling Probate Real Estate – Avoiding 7 Common Mistakes

Mar 11, 2023 | Probate

selling probate property in Tampa, Florida

Selling Florida probate real estate can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. The key to the success of a Tampa Bay probate sale is to avoid common mistakes that can derail the sale and cause unnecessary delays. This guide will discuss seven common mistakes to avoid when selling an inherited property in Tampa Bay and its surrounding areas.

1.) Not Getting Experienced Professional Help

When initiating an Estate sale in Florida, working with professionals with experience in probate real estate is essential. This includes both real estate agents and experienced cash home buyers if you want the process to be quick and easy. Of course, you will also need an attorney. In all instances, you must ensure that they have relevant and recent probate experience. We are happy to provide you with an introduction to an experienced probate attorney in our network.

An experienced agent or cash buyer can guide you through the process of a Trust sale in Florida, help you with probate-specific documents and contracts, and ensure that you comply with Florida probate regulations. This requires detailed knowledge of Florida’s probate regulations, which inexperienced agents may not have.

An experienced Tampa Bay probate attorney can prepare the legal documents, file the probate petition, and speak to the judge on your behalf. And they will also address any finances relating to income tax and life insurance.

Make sure to ask anyone you hire how many probate cases they have worked on in the past and check if they have any formal certifications related to dealing in probate real estate.

2.) Leaving the Property Vacant

Probate can be a difficult process for many people while they are still grieving the loss of a loved one. As a result, some may leave their probate properties unattended for an extended period.

Additionally, conflicts among family members or other heirs may lead to properties being left vacant. This can result in various issues, as a vacant property in probate can quickly accumulate problems due to a lack of maintenance. For example, broken heating systems, dilapidated roofs, and overgrown gardens can devalue the property, making it more difficult to sell. On top of this, uninhabited properties can be subject to burglary, vandalism, or uninvited tenants.

To avoid this, consider appointing a caretaker or hiring a vacant property management company to maintain the property. It will cost you some money, but much less than if you have to do extensive repairs and renovations later.

3.) Selling Because You Are the Personal Representative

The Personal Representative, or Executor, is the person named by the deceased to manage their Estate and distribute its assets. In order to sell the property, you must first be appointed by the Court to the position of Personal Representative. At this point, you may begin the process of selling the property as an Executor sale in Tampa Bay.

If no Personal Representative is named, then a court will often appoint someone to act as the Executor. Once appointed, an attorney will then help the Personal Representative acquire the many documents needed. When filed, this will result in a Letter of Administration providing legal jurisdiction to the Personal Representative to oversee the Estate.

4.) Overlooking Disclosures

A real estate disclosure is a legal requirement in which you must disclose everything you know about the home before someone buys it. This protects potential property buyers if the home has major problems or defects.

Generally, before the sale of the probate property, an inspection will be done to tell the buyer everything about the plumbing, structure, electrics, and other systems. In probate homes, it can get more complicated, however. Very often, the person who has passed away may not have been occupying the property. Perhaps they were in a care home or hospital, or the home may have been rented out to someone else. Therefore, owner-occupied disclosures are not applicable. This means someone has to be liable. As the Personal Representative, you are unlikely to be held responsible for this. However, consulting your designated, experienced agent and attorney to confirm this is crucial.

5.) Not Understanding the Market

Like any property sale, not understanding the market can cost you a lot. Probate homes have a few significant differences compared to non-probate properties.

The first is that you don’t have a choice about when you sell. Many people can wait for market swings, moving from buyer’s to seller’s markets in an attempt to maximize the income they receive. However, in probate, an empty house costs money and is more susceptible to vandalism, burglary, and other costly issues; and most need to be sold quickly.

Additionally, a lot of time can elapse between the valuation and its actual listing. So now, you need to be aware of any downturns in the market to get the best deal.

6.) Not Managing Insurance

Standard insurance may be enough to cover property in probate, though you should check. Unfortunately, many insurance companies will only insure a vacant property for up to sixty days. Lack of insurance can create even more problems and further devalue the house.

Even if they are not invalid, policies can usually be restricted. This may mean if something happens in the property while it remains vacant, no insurance is there to cover it. This raises the question of who is legally liable for repairs, and if you are the Executor, it is probably you.

7.) Not Getting a Caretaker

One way to keep the property well-maintained is to appoint a caretaker. A probate home caretaker is someone who maintains the property for you, doing everything from repairs to mowing the lawn.

It could be another family member with fewer commitments and a knack for DIY or repairs. You may even get someone to stay there temporarily, but check with your attorney on the legalities of this.

If this fails, then hire a vacant property management company. It will cost you some money, but much less than if you have to do large repairs and renovations later.

Selling Probate Property in Florida

Selling Florida probate property and navigating the probate process requires unique skills and knowledge. Avoiding common mistakes can ensure a smoother and more successful transaction. Remember to seek out experienced professional help from an attorney or cash buyer with experience in probate real estate. Ensure the property is well-maintained, insured, and managed by a caretaker or property manager. And finally, understand the market and stay aware of any changes that may impact the sale of the property.


Selling probate property can be an emotional and challenging experience, but it doesn’t have to be. You can streamline the process and ensure a successful sale by avoiding common mistakes. Remember to work with experienced professionals, maintain the property, and stay aware of changes in the market. Selling probate real estate can be a smooth and successful transaction with the right approach and guidance.

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