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