How to Find and Buy Probate Properties

June 21, 2022

Whether you’re looking for a probate property as an investment or for any other number of reasons, finding the right home for sale in Ohio can easily become an overwhelming endeavor. Here are our top tips on how to successfully find and buy the ideal probate property for your goals. First off, let’s be sure we’re on the same page with just what a probate sale is.

What Is a Probate Sale?

Put simply, a probate sale is the selling off of property once the owner passes away. It is a way to share the value of a home or property with beneficiaries if the owner did not have a will in place. Because the property isn’t prepared in advance for sale and the former occupant was often dealing with health issues or advanced age, probate homes generally need a lot of work and so can often be found at comparatively reduced rates. They are ideal investments for fixing up and reselling.

At first blush this could sound like a rather callous way to go about investing in properties. Asking grieving family members to cut you a deal on the family home? Really? Well, more often than not it helps the family because there is less legwork involved on their end, they may need financial relief, or they don’t live nearby and already have their own property(ies) to care for. So long as the family is in favor of selling the property, this is a completely viable and ethical option for real estate investors.

How to Find the Right Probate Home

When searching for a probate home in Cleveland, there are a few key paths to take. 

  • Check Local Newspapers: Like other Ohio homes for sale, probate sales can be listed in the newspaper, either in print or online. The executor generally wants to sell quickly, and this is one great way to market the property. Newspapers also hold obituaries, which can provide useful leads, but generally only if there isn’t a surviving family member who is still living in the home. 
  • Search Local Home Auctions: It is common practice to sell probate property at an auction, but remember that auctions spark bidding wars and those can quickly raise the price of a probate home to near market value, which undermines the profit you’re hoping to make.
  • Access a Local Probate Court: If online searches aren’t an option, the clerk at your local probate court may be able to help. Upon request they might share a list of recently filed probate cases. The rest of the homework is up to you, and if this isn’t possible in your area, then a visit to the courthouse might be a good start, albeit a time- and effort-intensive option.
  • Contact a Local Probate Realtor: The best and most reliable way to find probate houses for sale in Cleveland is to work with a probate specialist. A real estate agent who specializes in probate homes is the key to finding your ideal property. You can benefit from their industry know-how and professional connections to find the just-right property you’re looking for. If there is a great deal in the area you’re interested in, you can be sure that a probate realtor will know about it and can help you to make an offer.

While you might start out on a DIY course, working with an experienced probate realtor is really the best way forward.

How to Buy Probate Property

Once you’ve found a probate property you’d like to acquire, it’s time to get stuck in. Your probate realtor can help you along. From making an offer, bidding, providing a 10% down payment, requesting inspections, and attending hearings, it’s all done more confidently with a trusted advisor by your side. They can guide you through the intricacies of a probate purchase and help you to decide if it’s worth cutting losses and backing out of a deal if an inspection reveals major issues.

Though a probate sale is similar to other forms of real estate purchase, delays are more common. The process can be drawn out and prone to bureaucracy, and with plenty of moving parts at play, the timeline tends to stretch. All in all, a sale that takes many months or several years to complete is not uncommon. Working with a probate realtor ensures that you’re holding up your end and that you are prepared with any components that are necessary to the sale. Their insider knowledge is invaluable and can bring calm to what might otherwise feel like a turbulent situation.

Partner With a Probate Realtor

Buying a probate home for sale in Ohio can be a great investment opportunity, but it can also present a steep learning curve. Tackle that challenge confidently with the help of a probate specialist you can trust. Will Davis is an experienced probate realtor who can help you to find that just-right house for sale in Cleveland. He can help you to navigate the risks and reap the reward of an ideal investment property at an affordable cost, always with an eye to ultimate profitability. So don’t wait on a great deal––reach out today to learn more and to get started on your next probate property investment!