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How to Sell My Inherited House in Dallas

If you’ve inherited a house in Dallas, Texas, you might wonder how to navigate the process of selling it.

My name is Scott, and I’ve been working and investing in the Dallas real estate market for the past decade.

In this article, we’ll explore some options for how to deal with your inherited house.

Our focus will be on those who die without a will.

Overview

When someone dies (a “decedent”), their personal possessions (“estate”) must be distributed.

Generally, the method of distribution for a decedent’s estate is based on two factors:

  • (a) whether he/she did any estate planning and
  • (b) the size of the estate.

In most cases, a court must help oversee the fair distribution of the decedent’s estate.

This process called “probate”.

There are a few instances where an estate can avoid probate but these are not the focus of this article.

Is there a Will or Not?

The biggest factor determining how an estate will be handled is whether the decedent had a will.

A will is a legal instrument that provides a decedent’s preferences on how the estate should be distributed.

If you create a will before death, the will creates rules about how your relatives and/or friends should split up your estate upon death.

When someone dies without a will, the probate court has to apply their own rules to distribute your estate, since the decedent gave them no official guidance.

Dying without a will is called “dying intestate”, and the court applies “intestacy laws” to guide distribution among the heirs.

Intestacy laws outline the system of distribution that the court assumes the average person would want when they die.

I don’t know about you, but just thinking about a court assuming it knows what’s best for me–makes me want to get my own estate planning in order!

If you are trying to sell an inherited house in Dallas from someone that had a will, then wait for probate process to conclude and then sell the house in any way you desire.

If you are dealing with an estate where the decedent did not have a will, then keep reading for detail on how to sell an inherited house.

Understanding Probate

Probate is the process by which a court (1) recognizes a person’s death and (2) authorizes the administration of the decedent’s estate.

If the decedent has a will, probate can be a quick process.

But without a will, the court will have to identify heirs and take more time to distribute the estate according to intestacy laws.

It is possible to go through the probate process “pro se” (without an attorney), but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Probate Steps and Timeline

These are the key steps in the probate process

  • Filing petition with court (1-2 weeks)
  • Appointing estate administrator (2-4 weeks)
  • Notify beneficiaries (2-3 weeks)
  • Filing inventory with court (1-2 months)
  • Paying debts and taxes (2-4 months)
  • Distributing inheritances (4-8 months)

Selling Real Estate During Probate (Without Will)

Once a petition has been filed with the court and the probate process has begun, real estate can be sold.

Subchapter F, Sec. 356 of the Texas Estate Code outlines the process for this type of sale.

To sell a house, the court much issue an order approving of the sale.

First, you’ll have to file a probate application for sale with the court.

For the court to accept an offer to buy the house, Texas law requires that the offer be for 90% or more of the appraised value.

Therefore you will have to get an appraisal of the home.

The prospective buyer must put down a 10% deposit with the court.

After the offer is made, all heirs have to agree to the offer.

The court will mail out a Notice of Proposed Action which will allows 15 days for any heir to express their disapproval of the proposed sale.

Additionally, the court (upon notice to all the parties) will open an “overbidding” procedure.

This takes place in the courtroom.

Any individuals present have the right to bid on the house (at least 5% over the prior offer).

After this concludes, the court can finalize the original offer (or any offer that “overbid” the original offer).

The court pays all proceeds from this sale to the estate.

The court will then distribute these proceeds amongst the heirs (according to intestacy laws).

During this whole process, it is absolutely critical that the executor of the estate stay on top of all of the “carrying costs” of the house.

This means all of the taxes, mortgages (if applicable), and insurance on the house needed to be paid to keep the property in good standing.

Unfortunately, if a family fails to pay the mortgage on a house of a decedent, the bank can still foreclose.

If you don’t stay on top of these expenses, you might lose your rights and forfeit the ability to sell the house and receive profits from a sale.

Best Buyer for Selling My Inherited House

If you are dealing with someone’s estate who died without a will, and need to sell the house, you need to find the right buyer.

While some choose to use a realtor to find a buyer, retail investors will generally be scared off by the complicated probate process.

If you want to sell an inherited house while it is still in probate, you need to find an experienced buyer.

Your best bet is a cash home buyer with experience navigating a probate sale.

If you want to sell your house to an investor, then give us a call for a fast, free offer.

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