Friday, November 14, 2008

Getting the Right Buyer for a Probate & Trust Sale

The Right Buyer at the Right Price

In today's real estate market, it is a challenge to sell property quickly. It's an even greater challenge to find a qualified buyer who has the financial means to close the transaction.

We recently obtained a probate listing and suggested to the seller that an aggressive list price would attract multiple offers even in a declining market. At first the seller was very resistant to this strategy. However she decided that with our experience and insight into the marketplace, she would agree to list the property at the price we recommended.

Within 24 hours after the listing was put into the MLS, we received over a dozen phone calls and had at least six showings at the house.

Within two days we received two offers!

Within five days we received a total of eight offers! Three of these offers were OVER THE ASKING PRICE!!!!

Our strategy accomplished three purposes. First, we got more than we ever expected to receive. Second, we had the ability to choose the buyer who was most financially suited to purchase the property. Third, we sold the property within a week. Additionally, we were able to get an offer into backup position at the price we accepted on the first offer.

In a declining real estate market, it is imperative that you work with real estate agents who have the experience, knowledge and aggressive market techniques to assure you get not only the best price, but also the best buyer.

For more information about our team, please visit our website at or call us directly at 310-777-2858.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Failure to Close Escrow: What Happens?

The terms of a probate real estate transaction are clear and concise. When the judge confirms the sale, the property is yours. Thus if for some reason you cannot close escrow--for example you cannot get a loan on the property--then you are liable for the damages that the estate incurs for the failure of the buyer to close.

When purchasing real estate through the probate process, the terms of the sale are as follows:

  • No Contingencies: no finance, no appraisal and no inspection

  • AS-IS: the seller will not do any repairs, including termite work

  • 30-45 day escrow

With the ever-changing atmosphere in the lending market, it can be more difficult for buyers to get loans on properties. Thus, even before making an offer on a probate property that requires court confirmation, the buyer must be 100% sure that he/she will get a loan. If the buyer makes an offer on the property but fails to get a loan, the seller can vacate the sale in court and put the property back on the market. The buyer can loose his/her entire deposit as liquidated damages. If the property does not sell for what the previous buyer purchased it for, the estate can take the difference out of the 10% deposit.

It is very important when purchasing and selling real estate through probate and trust to work with an agent that has experience in probate real estate sales.

If you are considering the sale or purchase of real property through probate or trust, The Sanborn Team is always available to assist you and answer your question. Give us a call at 310-777-2858 or explore our website at

Friday, September 05, 2008

Upcoming Court Date!

Attention All Investors: Upcoming Investor Opportunity

4367 Oakwood Ave Los Angeles
24 Unit building
18 Singles
6 1bedroom units

Opening bid: $1,365,000.00

Court date: September 9, 2008

Location: 6230 Sylmar Ave Van Nuys CA

Department: H

Time: 9:00am

If you are interesting in overbidding in court, please call our office at 310-777-2858. We are here to be your resource for your probate real estate needs. To see more of our probate and trust real estate listings, please visit our website at

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Hollywood Hills Listing

1742 Courtney Ave Los Angeles

Hollywood Hills! Minutes from Sunset Strip, this Spanish 2+1.75 boasts spacious living room with fireplace, formal dining room, hardwood floors, updated kitchen and a private yard with room for a pool. Probate sale, court confirmation required.



1,565 square feet

7,500 Lot

For more information about how to purchase a probate sale, please visit our website at or call us to a private showing today at 310-777-2858

Friday, August 22, 2008

What is A Probate Sale?

Q. What is a Probate Sale?

A. A Probate Real Estate Sale, is real property governed by the probate court. When a person passes away and there is no will or the will be contested the court has a process of administrating the estate of the decedent and specifically in regards to the real estate owned by the decedent. This process of selling and purchasing this type of real estate is very different that a typical transaction. Most of the time these sales require court approval and the terms are very different from a traditional real estate sale.

For additional information about Probate Real Estate and to see what properties are available, please visit our webstie at

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Purchasing Probate Real Estate

Purchasing Probate Real Estate that Requires Court Confirmation

The vast majority of real estate transactions are not probate sales, thus many buyers and real estate agents do not know how to purchase probate real estate. In a probate sale the estate accepts a bid and that accepted bid/offer requires court confirmation. This can be very confusing, especially to buyers and their agents. We at the Sanborn Team take the time to explain the process clearly and precisely on how these specializes probate sales work.

In a probate sale, an offer is accepted and then a court date is set. The court date cannot be set prior to acceptance of an offer. The attorney of the estate petitions the court after the offer has been accepted and then an actual hearing date is set. Once the hearing date is set, The Sanborn Team lets everyone and all agents about the court hearing – on all the real estate websites and print advertising.

The opening bid in court is determined by the Probate Code, and the sub sequential bids are set by the judge on the bench. Any buyer who wants to purchase the real estate will be purchasing the property under the same terms and conditions as the original buyer. If a buyer does come to court to overbid, then the real estate is sold in an auction, and all interested parties can bid on the property, including the original buyer. When the final bid is reached, the judge announces that the property has been sold. From that day on escrow is opened and closed within 30 days.

If you have any additional question about purchasing Probate Real Estate, please call The Sanborn Team at 310-777-2858 or visit our website which is full of good information.

We are here to take the challenge and confusion our of purchasing real estate through court confirmation.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Value of Home Ownership - Chris Ayres Nails It!

We Love this Article!

In his Sunday Opinion piece in the August 17, 2008 Los Angeles Times, "Loving your house again," Chris Ayres explains why recent home buyers should be thrilled with their purchase. Not only do they have a roof over their heads, but in spite of the 'doom and gloom about a tanking market,' their investment is getting more valuable! He nails it -- with great good humor.

The article resonates for The Sanborn Team because it reflects our philosophy: buy the home you love and hang onto it. History shows us again and again that you'll have a ring-side seat during the financial circus and, at least in the Southern California market, with modest maintenance your home is almost certain to increase in value.

To read Chris Ayres' article, go to,0,1698378.story

If you're wondering how your home measures up in today's market, or to talk about your real estate needs, concerns or goals, give The Sanborn Team a call at 310-777-2858.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Upcoming Beverly Hills Bar Meetings

As Sponsors of the Beverly Hills Bar Association Trust & Estate Section and Elder Law Section, we would like to make you aware of two upcoming meetings:

Tuesday August 19, 2008


"Prying Open Attorney Client Communications in Estate Planning, Administration, and Litigation of Trusts and Estates."


LAWRY'S 100 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills


Registration/Lunch: 11:45 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

Thursday August 21, 2008


"Just About Everything Elder Law Attorneys Need to Know About the Domestic Partnership Laws"


BHBA CONFERENCE CENTER, 300 S. Beverly Drive, #210, Beverly Hills


Registration/Lunch: 11:45 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

As your Probate & Trust real estate expert, we are here to assist you and your clients with comprehensive real estate expertise. For more information about our services, please visit our website at or call us at 310-777-2858.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tips for Selling Probate and Trust Real Estate

Tips for Sellers

Although we do not normally recommend doing repairs to probate and trust properties prior to placing them on the market, there are still a few things that can always be done to a property to increase its curb appeal.

1. Mow the lawn and keep it watered.
2. Don’t let hedges block the windows. Let natural light in.
3. Get rid of the weeds.
4. Make sure that the walkway is easy to maneuver.
5. Freshen up the exterior. Power wash the house.
6. Have the windows cleaned (inside and out).

The Sanborn Team specializes in assisting buyers and sellers in dealing with the unique situation of selling homes that are in Probate and Trust. Please call us at 310-277-2858 for any of your real estate questions or visit our web site at

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Listing! Beverlywood Fixer

We have a wonderful new listing in Beverlywood

1467 Livonia Avenue

Los Angeles, California 90035


1,358 sqft on a 6,400 sqft lot

3 bedrooms + 1 bathroom


Great location... great value! Probate sale that does NOT require court confirmation.

Please visit our website to learn more about probate real estate sales, or call us directly with any questions, 310-777-2858.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Work with a Probate Real Estate Professional, Trust Us!

If You're Interviewing Real Estate Agents...

Always ask the prospective agent, "Have you sold real property through probate or trust?"

Most agents will casually answer yes, but be sure to ask for more details. For example ask them the following questions:
  1. Have you ever sold a property that requires court confirmation?
  2. How do you market the property and attract all types of buyers?

It's also important to realize that there when selling probate and trust real estate as a "private" sale, there are probate codes and rules to follow. Make sure your agent is savvy and knows these codes. For example ask the agent you are interviewing:

  1. How long is the listing agreement for?
  2. What is the commission?

In a probate sale, the listing agreement is only good for 90 days. Many agents do not know this and you can get yourself into a longer listing agreement. Also, the commission is dictated by the court and it can only be 5% (10% for vacant land), so be sure you are being charged the correct commission.

Probate and trust real estate sales can be complicated, so it is important to have a seasoned agent who has experience within this specialized marketplace.

Meet The Sanborn Team. These real estate agents are your experts when it comes to selling real estate through trust or probate.

To learn more about selling property through probate or trust, please visit The Sanborn Team website at or call with no obligation at 310-777-2858.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Investment Opportunities

The Sanborn Team is proud to present
two exciting new investment opportunities

11549 Sylvan Street, North Hollywood
6 unit apartment building
100% vacant - yes every unit is vacant!
Come fix it up and rent each unit at market rate.
Probate Sale.

4367 Oakwood Avenue, Los Angeles
24 unit apartment building with 18 studios and 6 one bedroom units.
4 units are vacant.
Needs TLC. Probate Sale.

If you would like further details regarding these properties, please visit our website at or you can reach us directly at 310-277-2858.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Reminder! Beverly Hills Bar Meeting: Trust & Estates

Attention! Upcoming Trust & Estates Meeting

Probate & Trust Accountings

Speaker: BLAKE A. RUMMEL, ESQ., Weinstock, Manion, Reisman, Shore & Neumann

Date: Tuesday July 15, 2008

Time: Registration/ Lunch 11:45 to 12:30

Program: 12:30 to 1:00pm

Location: Lawry's 100 N. La Cienega Blvd Beverly Hills, CA

To find out more about the Trusts & Estates Section, please visit the Section’s web page at

We are your real estate Probate & Trust experts and as the proud sponsors of the Beverly Hills Bar Association Trust & Estates Section

Please visit our website at or call us with any questions at 310-277-2858.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

How Buyers are Looking for Real Estate

How Do Buyers Look for Real Estate?

Recently we did a survey at a Sunday Open House. We had about 50 people pass through the property to view it and we asked each of them, “How did you hear about the open house?”

In preparation for the open house we had a photo box ad in the Los Angeles Times Homes section and had the property as listed as “Open Sunday” on

There was only ONE party that said they found out about the open house from reading a physical newspaper… every other buyer either found the listing online as being open today or their real estate agent informed them that the property was open.

The Sanborn Team has a comprehensive online marketing campaign that cannot be beat. Within 5 days of listing your property in the Multiple Listing Service and the local Realtor Boards, your property will show up on the following websites:
Yahoo Real Estate
Google Real Estate
Aol Real Estate
Los Angeles Times

In today’s changing market, and particularly when listing or selling probate and trust real estate, it is imperative that your property has full market exposure, especially on the Internet. More and more buyers are using the Internet as their main source for finding information about properties for sale.

For more information about our aggressive marketing, please visit our website at or call us directly at 310-777-2858.

Upcoming Court Date!

Talk about a GREAT opportunity!
We have coming up for overbidding in court a wonderful spacious 2+2.5 Condo in the heart of West Hollywood. Just over 2,400 square feet, this gracious condo is a top floor unit with green belt views, large living room with fireplace, and a kitchen with a breakfast area. And... there is a master suite that you could die for! 2 HUGE walk-in closets, marble bath and sinks and a spacious master bedroom with room for a sitting area.
  • The Court Date is set for: Wednesday, August 6, 2008
  • Time: 8:30am
  • Location: 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA
  • Department: 9
  • Now... the opening bid is $714, 500
If you would like additional information about the property please don't hesitate to contact our office at 310-777-2858.
And... if you have any questions about probate real estate, you can consult the probate real estate experts, The Sanborn Team, by calling us directly at 310-777-2858 with no obligation or visit our website at

Monday, June 30, 2008

Private vs. Public Probate Real Estate Sales

Talk about something that is confusing…. Who knows what a Public Real Estate Sale is? And what makes something a Private Real Estate Sale?

Currently there is a lot of interest in auctioning properties. It is the new, new thing (actually we saw this same trend in the late 90s during the last real estate downturn). People seem to think that an auction is going to bring in more money for a property than using the time-tested methods that The Sanborn Team has employed for the past 25 years of selling Probate and Trust Real Estate Properties.

Throughout our Probate and Trust Real Estate career, we have gotten our clients top dollar for their properties regardless of the market conditions—rising, falling or flat.

The advantages of listing with The Sanborn Team as opposed to listing your property with an auctioneer are as follows:

  • The property, which is listed in all the local Multiple Listing Services and on all the major Internet search engines, can be visited online 24/7.

  • The property is advertised for sale until the date it is confirmed at the court hearing.

  • We cooperate with all other real estate companies and real estate agents, which gets you the widest exposure to potential buyers.

  • We have a strategy for getting people to come to court to overbid.

  • The property will be shown up to the date of the sale. Unlike most of the auctioneers, we do not limit our showings to two or three previews prior to the auction.

  • The buying public has total access to information about the overbid price and the court date and time.

Please contact us with any additional questions you may have by emailing us at or calling us at 310-777-2858.

P.S.: The answer to the question is: A Public Sale is an auction and a Private Sale is when a real estate company is hired.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Here is What Our Clients Think of Our Service!

Although we don’t usually toot our own horn,
occasionally we think it’s important to share with you
some testimonials from clients we have worked with.

“The situation had all the potential for being a nightmare: strong family differences, the trustee (me) six thousand miles away, knowing nothing of local conditions, requirements or law, and at an all-time emotional low… but you handled everything beautifully.”

“Just a quick note to express my admiration and gratitude for your outstanding service to this office’s client, pertaining to the travail-laden sale of the vacant lot on Rexford. You performed above and beyond the call of duty.”

“I think you had to cope with every possible difficulty… a vacant property in need of cleaning (40 years worth of stuff) and painting, owners living out of state, termites, a gardener who did not show up during the heat wave, and best of all… two real surprises uncovered during the title search! No one else could have done it.”

“In sum, your representation was highly professional; our discussions candid; the advertising campaign well conceived; and most importantly the escrow closed in mid-December as we wanted.”

Knowledgeable, professional, and upbeat, The Sanborn Team provides comprehensive real estate representation to clients throughout Southern California. From first-time purchases to complex corporate, trust and probate sales, each transaction receives their trademark skill, knowledge and attention to detail.

To find out more about our services visit us at or call us at 310-777-2858. If you would like a list of our references please call or email us.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Setting the Accurate Price for a Probate & Trust Property

Pricing Involves More than Looking at Comparables

When you are referred to a real estate agent to sell a property through probate and trust, your attorney will have obtained an Inventory and Appraisal form, which will include an appraised value for the property. Even though you already have this court-ordered appraisal for the property, it is still important to get a real estate agent’s opinion and value for the property.

In today's changing market, we have noticed that many of the court-ordered appraisals for properties are high and the comparables that are used to determine the value are older and no longer apply. The comparables may not reflect changes in the local market conditions, and certainly the computer that lists the comparables does not have the 'on the ground' familiarity with neighborhoods that an experienced Realtor has.

When The Sanborn Team lists a property for sale, whatever it is – a condominium, single family residence, apartment building, duplex or commercial property – we make a point of viewing both the interior and exterior of the structure to see its actual condition and location.

After we have viewed the property we will then review the comparable sales and active properties in the area, sharpen our pencils and present you with a comparable market analysis and a suggested list price for the property. We work with our clients in establishing the final list price and we are always open to client input. We believe that establishing the right price is a team effort.

If you have questions or would like an opinion on the value of a property, please don’t hesitate to visit us at or call us at 310-777-2858.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Your Real Estate Agent is Your Trusted Advisor

We Work Hard for Your Repeat Business and Referrals!

Our philosophy at The Sanborn Team and our approach to selling real estate is different from most real estate agents. We don’t consider ourselves to be “salespeople” but that we are your advisors and consultants when it comes to your real estate needs. We assist many attorneys, paralegals and professional fiduciaries on a daily basis, providing answers to all of their real estate needs, with no obligation.

We are not here for the quick sale. Our job is to offer sound advice and provide solutions to your problems. We want to be your real estate consultants and trusted advisors, whatever your real estate needs. We are always looking out for your best interests and will be up front and direct about with what we think. We consider our clients as clients for life.

To find out more about our unique approach to selling real estate please visit us at or you can call us with questions at 310.777.2858.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Can you believe it? We have Overbidding in Court!

The Buyers Are Out There!

Ignore the headlines! Sure, the price of gas is unimaginable, there are sub-prime woes and there is a huge credit crunch… But believe it or not, we are still getting buyers to come to court and overbid on our probate properties.

As you may know, many probate real estate sales require court confirmation. The Sanborn Team has a unique and powerful marketing strategy when it comes to selling real estate through probate. After the initial bid is accepted, we continue to advertise, show the property and make all potential buyers aware that they can come to court and purchase the property for at least 5% more. We recently had a property located in Laurel Canyon that went to court and sold to an overbidder. This property was a big fixer and some even considered it to be a tear down.

We are seeing overbidding in court more than usual because the initial bids that are accepted are either at or just below the list price. Even with the 5% addition to the property price, buyers still see value and feel that these properties are worth the opening bid amount.

Note: it is also important that the buyer who makes the initial bid on the property calculate what the opening bid will be by adding the 5% plus $500 to the offer they have presented.

To find out more how we are getting overbidding in court, please visit us at or call our office for a free no obligation meeting at 310-777-2858.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

In the Aftermath of the Sub-prime Debacle

Doing Probate Sales in the Aftermath of the Sub-prime Debacle
This week we closed a difficult escrow.

The brother of the executor died very unexpectedly without a will. At the time of his death he had both a first and second mortgage on the property. The holder of the second was very cooperative (and understandably concerned that the holders of the first would wipe them out if they foreclosed). The holder of the second recognized that the executor was not in a position to list or sell the property without proper authority from the court.

Unfortunately the lender holding the first was not nearly as agreeable. Although they had been informed that the original holder of the note had died and that all the appropriate steps were being taken to get the property listed and sold as quickly as possible (and allowable), they basically refused to deal with the attorney and the executor (even with proper documentation from the court).

No one from the lender would lift a hand. Worse than passive, they actually commenced foreclosure proceedings after the property was sold and in escrow. That, in turn, meant that the buyer’s lender would not issue loan documents until the foreclosure was rescinded, causing an unnecessary delay. The family was never going to receive any monies from the sale; they merely hoped to pay off creditors, but now the estate had to bear the cost of the trustee fees.

I have been working in real estate for more than 27 years and have been through many difficult markets, but I have never been in a situation where a lender refused to deal with anyone. It was only through the hard work of the attorney, the escrow and title companies—and The Sanborn Team—that we were able to close this sale.

Today, in spite of the difficult lender, we received this note from the executor of the estate: ”I just wanted to thank you for repairing the doors and for hiring someone to remove the last trash and king-sized old waterbed frame. It was a huge help to us being so far away and having limited time in L.A. You have been a great realtor! Thanks to the entire team for selling my brother's awful house for such a good price in such a timely manner!! I still can't believe what people are willing to pay in this market!!”

If you need get-the-job-done power on your probate and trust real estate team, contact The Sanborn Team at 310-777-2858.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We Help Estate & Trust Planning Attorneys

We are your probate and trust real estate resource.

We provide valuable services to the attorney community. For example, we can provide you with copies of recorded deeds, Date of Death values, fair market values, Preliminary Title Reports, plot maps and we can answer any questions you may have about a specific property. We can also provide you with an up-to-date CAR disclosure chart that specifically discusses which disclosures are required for Probate Real Estate Sales.

We are continually helping the attorneys and their paralegals that we work with. Please feel free to contact us for any of your real estate needs. We provide all this information with no obligation. Simply visit us at us or call us at 310-777-2858.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

ATTN! Upcoming Court Date!

Truly an opportunity NOT to be missed

Two side-by-side pieces of property being sold together.

Located in Eagle Rock, one lot has a triplex and the other lot has a single family residence.

Both properties filled with Spanish charm and details:

hand painted ceilings, beautiful tile fireplaces, wrought iron sconces.

This could be the compound you've been looking for.

Within walking distance to Oxy College.

Address: 1558 N. Ave 46 & 1552 N. Ave 46, Los Angeles

Opening Bid: $735,000 (for BOTH properties! WOW what a deal!)

Court Date: May 8, 2008

Location: 111 N. Hill Street Los Angeles, CA

Department: 11

Time: 8:30am

If you are interested please call our office to receive information on bidding in court. You can reach us at 310.777.2858 or visit us at

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Pricing Strategy That Works!

Great Price - Hot Property - Top Sale

Even as media headlines shout that the real estate market is falling and crashing, The Sanborn Team has a very successful strategy when it comes to pricing homes--a strategy that ensures the administrator, executor or trustee of a piece of real estate gets the most for the property that they possibly can.

We recently took a listing in Beverlywood located a few doors south of Pico Blvd. The property is in serious disrepair and needs a ton of work and some have even considered it to be a tear-down.

After looking very closely at not only what has sold recently but what’s currently on the market, we decided that we should get extremely aggressive on the price. We listed the property at a very attractive price for two reasons: first, to gather up many offers so we could carefully choose the best buyer who is financially strong and who will close the escrow. And second, we wanted to make sure we could get the most money possible by driving the price up and creating our own bidding war.

The result? We sold the property for $80,000 more than the list price!

When it comes to marketing, listing and selling probate real estate, it’s imperative that you work with a real estate agent that specializes in these sales and has a fine tuned understanding of how to sell these properties in a declining market.

For more information about our services, please visit our website at or call us at 310.777.2858.

Are you an Administrator or Executor of an Estate?

Administrator or Executor?

Where Do You Turn for Help?

Is there real property that needs to be sold in the estate?

Being an administrator or executor of an estate is challenging and at times can be emotional. There are so many things that have to be handled, from contacting creditors to cleaning out the house and selling a piece of property that you may never have lived in.

Perhaps you are living out of state and have to coordinate selling the property from afar. Perhaps you have a full time job and handling the estate is like taking on a second job. Perhaps the house is full of furniture and need to be cleaned out.

Selling real estate through probate or trust is not an easy task and it’s very important that you work with an agent that knows the ins and out of probate real estate. A probate real estate specialist will make this as stress free and as easy as possible and will be able to assist you wherever you are, whatever the condition of the property.

The Sanborn Team has over 30 years of experience in the marketing, listing and selling of probate real estate. We have helped many administrators and executors sell property. This is our job.

Please visit our website to lean the steps on selling real estate through probate and trust:

This site will help you understand the process concisely and clearly.

Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions at 310.777.2858 or visit our website at

Monday, March 31, 2008

Why it's important to work with a Probate Real Estate Agent Expert

Whatever the Market Conditions,

Your Home is Usually Your Biggest Asset

While headlines shout the downturn of the real estate market, The Sanborn Team continues to sell real property through Probate and Trust to help families, conservatees and beneficiaries get the most from their assets.

Just last week we had a property in Laurel Canyon that was going to court confirmation. Unlike most agents, we continued to advertise and show the property up to the day of the court hearing to insure that all interested buyers were aware that they could purchase the property in court, as an over-bidder.

This property was a probate sale that required court confirmation because the property was held by an elderly woman who was receiving care under a conservatorship. Thus the proceeds from the sale would go directly to her to make sure she has the proper care.

On the day of the hearing we did have an over-bidder and the property sold for more than anyone expected.

This success is in a softening market is a testament to The Sanborn Team's strategy for pricing, marketing and presenting Trust and Probate properties. It is a validation of The Sanborn Team's commitment to negotiating deals, anticipating roadblocks and getting top dollar for the estate's number one asset.

The Sanborn Team are real estate agents specializing in the sale of probate and trust... We are here to simplify your business. We use our 25-plus years of experience to get the job done and get the most for a property.

To learn more about us, please visit us at or call us with no obligation at 310-777-2858.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How to Overbid in Court

Probate...Court Confirmation...What Does It All Mean?

As you are looking for a home, you will occasionally come across real estate ads that say, "probate sale, court confirmation required." So, you may be asking yourself, what is a probate sale, anyway? And, more importantly, what does probate mean to a real estate purchaser?

If you find real estate for sale through probate, you will have to go to court to make the purchase or overbid on the property. To overbid in court there are several things you need to be aware of:

  1. Terms of sale: most of the time, the terms of the probate sale are "as-is", no contingencies, 10% initial deposit and 30-day escrow. No contingencies means you do not have an inspection contingency, finance contingency or appraisal contingency. The seller will not do any termite work or repairs on the property.

  2. Qualify to bid: In order to bid in court you must bring a cashier's check for at least 10% of the opening bid price. For example, if the opening bid is $420,000 you will need a cashiers check for $42,000. Be sure to have your agent check with the listing agent to see who the check needs to be payable to.

  3. Do I sign a contract? No. There is no contract if you overbid on the property and are the successful purchaser. You will have what is called a certified court order stating that the property was sold to you.

It's very important that your agent be familiar with the terms and the process of purchasing probate and trust real estate. If you want to learn more about probate real estate, please visit us at or call us 310-777-2858.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Joyful Probate Real Estate Sale

The Sanborn Team...Who Says…

Who says that probate real estate sales can’t be fun?

We spent many months marketing a small piece of commercial property on Pico Boulevard. The Conservator of the Estate finally accepted an offer in late November 2007 and the hearing to confirm the sale took place last week in Santa Monica.

At the hearing the first overbid was set for $446,750.

The initial buyer and two over-bidders showed up for the hearing. The overbidding on the property was very active. At one point we thought that the bidding was finished and the judge was announcing the property sold when the original bidder jumped back in!

The property was finally sold to one of the over-bidders for $600,000 and while everyone was congratulating the buyer, a gentleman in the back of the courtroom jumped up and started playing a catchy tune on his harmonica. It was the father of the successful buyer!

When he was finished, he received a rousing round of applause. Everyone agreed that it was a first, and everyone loved it, including the judge.

Who knew that our marketing efforts could bring so much joy to the Santa Monica Court?

If you are looking for a little fun in your real estate adventures, please contact the Sanborn Team at 310-777-2858 or visit our web site

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Twists and Turns in Probate and Trust Sales

Fire Sale in Los Angeles

There's a buyer for every property...if the marketing is right

Mrs. Thomas (not her real name) was a neighborhood school teacher. She would walk to school every day and the kids in the neighborhood always made sure that her house was protected, even on Halloween. She was very much cherished by her community and her neighbors were sad to see her move, along with her husband, as they started to age.

We don’t personally know Mrs. Thomas. We were hired by her conservator, under the authority of the court, to sell Mrs. Thomas’s house. The reason for the sale was to assure there would be money to take care of her. With her husband’s death and all her other assets spent, the only resource she had left was her old house in Los Angeles.

We took the listing in October 2007. When we arrived to view the property, there was no way we could miss it. The entire property had been “tagged” by local gang members. Every exterior surface, including the driveway, was covered in paint. When we entered, we found that carpeting, pipes, moldings and even the water heater were missing. What do you suppose we found in the two rental units in the back of the property? Bed rolls, a pillow and personal items belonging to a squatter. The garage was totally filled with trash.

Initially, when viewing the comparable sales in the area, we had thought the property would be worth around $400,000. But after seeing its condition and finding the new tenants, we knew it was worth substantially less.

We knew that this property had to hit the market and cause a big stir. So we decided to list it at the outrageous price of $199,000. Within an hour of the property coming on the market, the phones would not stop ringing. Within four days we received eight offers, all well above the asking price of $199,000.

We were able to get a buyer who would agree to the usual terms (as-is, no contingencies and a 10% deposit) and we also got the buyer to agree that the property might not be in the same, current condition at the close of escrow.

On October 31, 2007, there was a fire at the property and Mrs. Thomas’s house was burnt almost to the ground. We notified the buyer, who agreed to move forward at the same purchase price. However, he wanted the insurance proceeds as well. This was agreed and, at his own expense, the buyer planned to board up the property to protect it from further damage. As his crew started to board up the burnt house, they were approached by local gang members who continued to taunt and threaten them as they tried to protect the house. As a result, the buyer pulled out and asked to cancel his contract.

So once again the property had to go onto the market, but this time we knew we would not get the same amount as before. It went back on the market at $199,000. We received five offers and accepted the highest offer with the clear understanding that there was no way to insure that the property's current condition would be the same at the close of escrow.

When we got the court hearing date, we continued to market the property aggressively to reach all interested buyers so they could come to court and overbid. At the hearing, we had four additional interested buyers and the property was bid up and up. The sale was called and the buyer opened escrow.

The funny thing is, the fire actually helped Mrs. Thomas because she was able to get more money than we ever imagined. This was because the insurance proceeds from the fire did not get transferred to the original buyer but were transferred to Mrs. Thomas. And these funds are tax free. So although her house sold for less than we originally thought, she actually got more in the end.

We wouldn't wish a story like this on any buyer or seller. But because of the court requirements of the conservator sale, and because we were prepared to market the property, whatever its condition, it turned out to be a win for both parties.

There is no reason to work with another agent when it comes to your Probate and Trust Real Estate Needs. The Sanborn Team is dedicated to making sure you and your clients receive the maximum amount possible for a piece of real estate. We never undersell any piece of property.

Call us today to learn more about our services 310-777-2858 or browse our website at

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Recent Court Date


Calling all Investors, Developers & Builders

1408 Wildwood ~ Eagle Rock Hills

This is a wonderful opportunity.

Perched above the hills of Eagle Rock this is a small cabin on over 18,000 sq ft of land. Surrounded by California Oak trees, this property is for those who want to build their dream home!

Court Date: Monday March 17, 2008

Location: 111 N. Hill St Los Angeles

Time: 8:30am

Department: 11

OPENING BID: $305,000

Call the Sanborn Team for more details: 310-777-2858

If you are interested in probate sales, please visit our website at

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

BEWARE! Disclosures Required for a Probate and Trust Sale

Which disclosures require the seller's signature

when selling Real Estate through Probate or Trust?

As the executor, administrator, trustee or conservatee of a piece of real estate, you are exempt from certain disclosures that are required in a traditional real estate transaction. It is very important that you are aware of which disclosures are required for you to fill out and execute and which disclosures you are exempt from completing.

We recently heard a story in which the executor of an estate was represented by a real estate agent who was not familiar with the ins and outs of probate and trust sales. The real estate agent instructed the client to fill out the C.A.R. (California Association of Realtors) Transfer Disclosure Statement. The Transfer Disclosure Statement is a document used in traditional real estate sales -- a statement made by the seller about the condition of the property.

In fact, in this case, the client was exempt from filling out this form. Since the executor never occupied the property, the California Association of Realtors does not require her to complete this form. Properties sold through probate and trust are typically sold "as-is."

Unfortunately, as a result of poor advice from her agent, the executor completed the form, thereby opening a "can of worms." About six months after escrow closed and the buyer took possession, the buyer sought to sue the executor for not disclosing information about the property. Once the executor had disclosed some information about the property, she was then obliged to disclose all information about the property; the completion of the form had effectively removed her exemption. If the executor had not filled out the Transfer Disclosure Statement, this would never have occurred.

So a reminder: if you are selling real estate through probate and trust, please take the time to review the C.A.R. Disclosure Chart and be sure you (or your client) do not sign forms that are not required.

And... please remember we are Real Estate Experts in the field of selling real estate through probate and trust. Please feel free to contact us with any questions. or 310-777-2858

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Upcoming Court Date!

Upcoming Court Date
February 26, 2008
14451 Sayre Street ~ Sylmar, California
3+1 Single Family house on a large corner lot.
Perfect for an investor or someone looking to Save and Fix!
Opening Bid: $315,500
Court location: Van Nuys Court House
6230 Sylmar Ave., Van Nuys - Department: A
For further information
please visit our website or call the office at 310.777.2858

Friday, February 15, 2008

Probate Real Estate Sale vs. Trustee Sale

What is the difference between a Probate Real Estate Sale and a Trustee Sale?

The recent news regarding real estate sales has buyers' heads spinning. One of the things that we have noticed is that buyers are very confused on the difference between a Probate Real Estate Sale with court confirmation and a Trustee Sale.

The main difference is that when you purchase a piece of real estate through a Probate Court proceeding the buyer will receive CLEAR title.

When a property is purchased at a Trustee Sale the buyer takes title subject to liens. For example, if the prior owners are delinquent on their property taxes, that lien will become the obligation of the purchaser of the property. The lien will not be brought current through the Trustee Sale.

Please be aware that prior to purchasing any property you need to understand what, if any, liabilities you may be assuming.

The Sanborn Team works on taking the mystery out of Real Estate.
Please call us at 310-777-2858 or visit our website

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Buying Probate & Trust Real Estate

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you're thinking about buying your first home - especially when it's a probate or trust real estate property. But, armed with some information about the trust and probate purchasing process and a great real estate agent to assist you with years of experience, you will soon be well on your way to home ownership.

Here are some tips for first-time buyers:

  1. Your Agent is Your Ally: your real estate agent will help you understand every step in the process of buying your first home and will guide you, from beginning to end. Your agent represents your interests in your home search, in negotiations, and throughout the sale and escrow process.

  2. Take Time. Ask Questions: Remember, when it comes to your house, there are no stupid questions. If you have concerns, don't understand something, or need more information about any aspect of the real estate process, your agent will help you. Your agent should be informed and available to answer any questions you may have.

  3. It IS complicated! It’s easy to feel concerned, intimidated or nervous about the whole buying process, but don't worry, everyone is! Real estate transactions are complex and it's important to work with an experienced real estate agent.

  4. Renter's Reality: The money you're putting in your landlord's pocket is only helping your landlord buy more property! You could be putting your money toward building equity for your future.

Although probate and trust real estate properties tend to be more complex than the traditional sale, as long as you work with an experienced agent, you will be successful in the transaction.

This is why it's crucial to work with real estate agents who are experts in assisting buyers and sellers in probate and trust transactions.

We are your probate and trust real estate experts! Visit our website at or call us at 310-777-2858 to find out more!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Upcoming Beverly Hills Bar Meeting

As sponsors of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Elder Law Section,
we would like to remind you of a wonderful upcoming program.

Speaker: Randy M. Spiro

Topic: Pitfalls in Dealing with Successor Trustees as the Elderly Client becomes Incapacitated

Date: Thursday, February 14, 2008

Registration: 12pm

Presentation: 12:30-1:30pm

As your Probate & Trust Real Estate Specialists, we will continue to support our clients!

For further information about probate and trust real estate, please visit our website at

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Disclosure Regarding Death on Property

Disclosures Regarding Death

Most of the time when someone hears that real estate is being sold through probate, they assume that someone died in the unit. In some cases, the decedent may have passed away in the property or they may have died in a hospital or care facility; in other cases, the owner may still be alive and requires the sale to fund their ongoing care--a conservatorship sale.

California has specific laws for disclosures regarding death. In 1983, a case made it statutory that the administrator/executor does not need to disclose a death if it occurred more than 3 years prior to the sale.

If a death occurs on the property within the 3-year period, and the circumstances of the death are material (it was a gruesome or offensive death, or affected the reputation of the property), it must be disclosed.

Deaths more than 3 years past

If the buyer asks if there have been any deaths, the administrator/executor must disclose all known deaths on the property. This is only if the buyer asks.

As a buyer, if you have any concerns or questions regarding death on the property (and not everyone does), you should always ask, in writing, to the administrator/executor. If the death occurred more than 3 years earlier, it’s better to ask than to find out after the close of escrow.

For more information on what disclosures are required for a Probate Real Estate Sale, please visit our website at or call us at 310-777-2858 to receive a free up-to-date California Association of Realtors disclosure chart.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What is an Administrator of an Estate?

Q. What is an Administrator of an estate?

A. An Administrator is a person or entity appointed by the court to administer an estate when no will exists. When a person passes away without a will, the court will have to appoint a person to be in charge of dealing with the person's assets, such as a house. When a house needs to be sold and there is no will, the property has to be sold through the probate process.

Q. What is an Executor of an estate?

A. A person named in a Will and appointed by the Court to carry out the decedent's wishes. This person is usually named as the seller of the real property.

To find out more about Probate Real Estate and Probate Real Estate Terms, please visit our website at or call us at 310-777-2858.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Till Death Do Your Equity Part

We recently came across this article in the California Association of Realtors Magazine and thought it would be useful to you.

"Till Death Do Your Equity Part "
By William Cuthbertson, MBA

You’re at the escrow office finalizing the purchase of your new home, when you’re asked, “How do you want to take title?” You’re told, “There are three primary forms of property ownership in California available to married couples: tenants in common, joint tenants with rights of survivorship, and community property with rights of survivorship.” Armed with that information, you’re even more confused. What will you do?

If you’re like most married property owners, you’ll probably choose joint tenancy. However, if you don’t have a particularly unique legal situation, and you’re a savvy home buyer, community property with rights of survivorship (CPWROS) may be your best option.
Why? Because you want the best tax treatment possible for your surviving spouse in the event they decide to sell the property after your death.

In 2001, it became legal in California for married property owners to take title as CPWROS. Doing so allows married property owners to take advantage of the same automatic title transfer rights provided upon death for joint tenancy title holders, while also benefiting from the improved tax treatment allowed by virtue of holding title as community property.

The tax advantage of CPWROS occurs because of the way tax law adjusts the reported cost of a sold property whose title has changed due to the death of a spouse. In tax talk, this reported cost is called tax basis. In this situation, the tax basis for the entire property in the hands of a surviving spouse is generally stepped up, to an amount equal to the fair market value of the property on their deceased spouse’s date of death.

Consequently, if the property is sold for fair market value, there would be zero gain to report. Whereas, if the property had been held under joint tenancy, only the half share of the property attributed to the deceased spouse would have increased to fair market value, potentially resulting in a much less desirable result.

Property title changes for already held property can generally be accomplished quite easily. If you are uncertain how to proceed, you should contact a competent legal and/or tax advisor.

Death and Taxes
Consider these two examples and their resulting differences.

Common Assumptions

Purchase Price (Original basis): $500,000

Fair Value: $1,000,000

Gain Calculation for Joint Tenants

Sales Price: $1,000,000

Stepped Up Taxable Basis: - $750,000

Gain = $250,000

Gain Calculation for Community Property with Rights of Survivorship

Sales Price: $1,000,000 Stepped Up Taxable Basis - $1,000,000

Gain = $0

The difference in these two examples results from the manner in which the taxable basis is adjusted at death between the two property titling forms.
William Cuthbertson, MBA, is a San Juan Capistrano-based Certified Financial Planner™ professional, and also is enrolled to practice before the IRS and state taxing authorities.

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If you have any questions about holding title, please be sure to consult your attorney or CPA. If you have any questions about probate and trust real estate please contact us, your Probate Realtors at 310-777-2858 or visit our website at

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Didn't Know My Neighbor Died!

The Sanborn Team represents conservators when they sell real estate that is owned by a conservatee.

Since all sales of real estate that are in a conservatorship are sold through the probate code, they are probate real estate sales. This can be confusing, and we often get calls from concerned neighbors thinking that their neighbor has passed away when in fact they are alive and well.

We currently have a home listed in the Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles and we received a call today asking what happened to the owner. We were thrilled to report that she was alive and receiving great care and that the monies that will be received from the sale of her real estate will go for her continued and future care.

For further information about conservatorships, please visit our website at or call us at 310.777.2858.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Probate Real Estate Term: "AS-IS"

It is very common to see probate and trust real estate connected to the term “As-is.” Simply stated, what you see is what you get, and many times there is no negotiation on repairs for the real estate.

Administrators/executors and real estate agents have an affirmative obligation to disclose KNOWN defects to the buyers. For example, it may be known that the front door sticks and is difficult to open. The administrator/executors will disclose that to you. However, since they have never been in possession of the property they cannot be expected to have the knowledge of the defects or condition of the main systems of the property, such as the roof, the plumbing or the heating system (unless there is some obvious symptom, such as water stains, dripping, or roof tiles in the back yard).

“As-is” means that the executor/administrator has not investigated the condition of the property or had it investigated by a professional inspector--for example, a structural pest inspection or general physical inspection--and that the purchaser of the probate and trust real estate is responsible for requesting and performing any investigation he/she so desires. If the buyer does not elect to perform such investigations, then he/she, and not the executor/administrator will assume liability for any defects subsequently disclosed.

For more information about buying probate and trust real estate, please contact us directly at 310-777-2858 or visit our website at

Monday, January 21, 2008

Get a Home Inspection: Tip for Buying Probate Real Estate

Most of the time when buyers find real estate for sale through probate or trust, there is not a seller to explain the condition of the property and its important systems, such as roof, plumbing, and electrical, and or even minor things, such as the garbage disposal.

Normally, during purchase negotiations, the buyer and seller agree not only on price but also on contingency periods. But when real estate is sold through probate or trust, often the seller will not accept any offer that includes contingencies--even investigation contingencies.

Since probate and trust buyers will not be able to make their offer contingent upon a satisfactory inspection, they can avoid costly "surprises" by hiring a professional inspector to conduct a general inspection before they make an offer on the property. The inspector examines the condition of the home, so the buyers know what they are buying and what repair expenses they need to anticipate.

A home inspection can cost anywhere between $400 and $700 (the price can be substantially higher for apartment buildings). The price is based upon the size of the house and if there is a pool or spa. The inspection will include plumbing, electrical, roof and overall physical condition of the property. The buyers should be present at the inspection and should freely ask the inspector questions.

This inspection is just the starting point. It maybe necessary to hire other inspectors that specialize in specific problems to find out what will need to be done to alleviate significant and future problems with a property.

To find out more about purchasing probate real estate, please visit our website at or call us directly to set up a free consultation 310.777.2858.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Anatomy of a probate real estate sale

Unlike the majority of real estate transactions, in a probate sale the estate is accepting a bid and the accepted offer is that one that is confirmed in court. This can be a very confusing concept to buyers and their agents. We at the Sanborn Team spend a great deal of time counseling both buyers and their agents on how a probate real estate sale takes place.

With a probate sale, a bid is accepted and a court date is set. The attorney who represents the estate prepares a petition for the court and the court sets the actual hearing date. Once the hearing date has been set, the Sanborn Team publicly announces the sale of the real estate property through the multiple listing service,, local publications and our our website to allow for any other interested parties to bid on the house.

The court date is usually within 6-8 weeks of the accepted offer, but the time does vary and there are no hard and fast rules. For example in downtown Los Angeles the probate sales are held every day. In the regional courts the days of sales vary. At the court, the sale of the property is announced and at that time there is an opportunity for any interested party to come and bid on the property.

The initial overbid is determined by the Probate Code, but subsequent bids are set by the judge. Any buyer who overbids on the real estate will be purchasing the property under the same terms and conditions as the original buyer. Once there is an overbid the real estate is sold in an auction with all interested parties being able to bid. When a final bid has been reached the judge announces that the property has been sold. The final bidder needs to provide the court with their exact vesting (how they will be holding titile). From that point on the buyer needs to close the escrow and they will be the proud owners of their new home.

If you have questions about purchasing Real Estate through a probate proceeding please call
The Sanborn Team at 310-777-2858 or visit our web sites
where we work on taking the challenge out of purchasing real estate through a probate proceeding.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hot New Listings!

Check Out Our New Probate & Trust Real Estate Listings!

5601 Ostrom, Encino Village

4+1.75 Traditional Charmer! Located on a cul-de-sac, this home features wood floors, fireplace in living room, serene and grassy yard. Listed for $595,000

17510 Sherman Way #207

Spacious 2+1.75 condo. Features include formal entry, fireplace in living room, spacious eat-in kitchen, washer and dryer inside, 2 spacious bedrooms At an amazing price of $299,000

1016 West 51st Place, Los Angeles

Opportunity Knocks! Two houses on a lot. One house is a 2+1 and the other house is a 1+1.
Listed for $350,000

1552 N. Avenue 46, Eagle Rock

Located in Eagle Rock, walking distance to Occidental College, this 1+1 Spanish is a charmer. Why pay rent when you can own a house?
Listed for $399,000

1558 N. Avenue 46, Eagle Rock

Located in Eagle Rock, walking distance to Occidental College, this is a Triplex. One 2+1 and two 1+1. Back unit is a great owner's unit with a private courtyard. Spanish Charm Galore!
Listed for $599,000

To see all our Probate & Trust Real Estate Listings, please visit our website at

January 15 Beverly Hills Bar Meeting

Upcoming Beverly Hills Bar Meeting
Trust & Estates Program
"Issues and Updates In Trust Administration"
Jacqueline A. Patterson, Attorney at Law, Haney, Buchanan & Patterson
Linda Retz, Attorney at Law
Tuesday January 15, 2008
Registration/Lunch: 11:45 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
Program: 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
LAWRY'S 100 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills (1/2 block North of Wilshire Blvd.) Free underground parking.
For further information or to register please visit
The Sanborn Team is the official sponsor of the Probate and Trust section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. To learn more about our services please visit our website at