When a loved one passes away, their estate typically consists of a house, bank accounts, a vehicle, an IRA or 401K and personal and real property such as a house or land. The house is usually the most valuable asset and can pose the most difficult challenge to the estate’s Executor or Administrator during Probate.
Note that property of a deceased person that was held jointly with a surviving owner will pass outside of the estate to the surviving joint owner. So, most property owned by a married couple, for instance, normally held jointly by the husband and wife, will pass by law to the surviving spouse outside of the estate. However, if the property of a deceased person is titled in his/her name alone and no provisions are made otherwise in the Will, the Executor must list and sell the house on the open market. The proceeds from the sale of the house are then deposited in the estate bank account until they are distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate.
If real estate needs to be sold during Probate, it is better to do it sooner rather than later especially if the house is empty. Since insurance companies typically do not want to insure empty houses due to the higher risk for damage, the Executor of the Estate should not hold on to the house for too long for the same reason. Renting the house is an option, but usually more than the Executor might want to handle. Depending on the condition of the property you probably want to sell it “as-is”.
What Selling “As-Is” Means
To sell a home “as-is” means that you are selling the property in its current state, with an understanding that no repairs will be made and that the home will come with all its current issues and problems.
The buyer will have to sign the Residential Real Estate Contract indicating that he or she understands the exact terms of the “as-is” transaction in Section 41 which states:
“”AS-IS” CONDITION: This contract is for the sale and purchase of the Real Estate in it’s “As-Is” condition as of the Date of Offer. Buyer acknowledges that no representations, warranties or guarantees with respect to the condition of the Real Estate have been made by Seller or Seller’s Designated Agent other than those known defects, if any, disclosed by Seller. Buyer may conduct an inspection at Buyer’s expense. In that event, Seller shall make the Real Estate available to Buyer’s inspector at reasonable times. Buyer shall indemnify Seller and hold Seller harmless from and against any loss or damage caused by the acts of negligence of Buyer or any person performing any inspection.”
Note that Illinois law requires you, as a seller, to tell a prospective buyer, in writing, what you know about the quality, healthfulness, and safety of your property. This includes things like past flooding and flood risk, unsafe conditions, municipal code violations, environmental issues, boundary line disputes, and material defects in specified structures, components, and systems. You need to disclose only those defects within your actual knowledge.
However, you are not required to complete a disclosure form if you never occupied the property and never had management responsibility for the property, nor hired someone else to manage it.
If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to give me a call!
About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago area. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying and selling process.
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