When Can a Property Be Listed for Sale by the Estate Trustee?
Early in the process, your lawyer will require an evaluation of the property to be used for Probate and in determining the total value of the estate. A Realtor or Accredited Appraiser can determine the value of a home. A Realtor can provide an “Opinion of Value” through a “Comparative Market Analysis” which looks at sales of comparable homes in the neighbourhood. This service is generally provided free of charge for the opportunity to list the property at the appropriate time. An Accredited Appraiser can perform a full appraisal that is recognized in the courts. An Appraiser will charge for this service but this appraisal may be required for probate. In most cases, the opinion of a Realtor will be sufficient if there is not likely to be any dispute about the value of the property. Your lawyer will give you direction on this.
If you need to call in a Realtor, you will want an experienced Agent who is familiar with estate sales. They need to provide accurate opinion of value and tips on what you need to do to get the most value out of the property. They need to be willing to meet with all Trustees and perhaps even Beneficiaries to discuss the value of the property if necessary. You also want to deal with an Agent that understands the time lines and is not pushing you to list the property before it is appropriate.
Even though you now have an appraisal on the property, you may not be able to list just yet. A real estate transaction cannot be finalized until the Certificate of Appointment of Trustee is granted. You don’t want to make a sale and then not be able to close.
Generally speaking, it is best to wait until you have received the Certificate of Appointment which gives you legal authority to sign a Listing Agreement and Agreement of Purchase and Sale on behalf of the Estate.
In some cases, your Lawyer may allow you to list prior to receiving this Certificate and will prepare a letter for the Realtors and potential Buyers verifying who the Estate Trustee(s) are and how may are required to sign off on documents. Always consult your Lawyer before listing and selling the property.
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