Wednesday, March 30, 2011

5 Ways to Get a Probate Home in Show-Selling Shape

Probate property is sold "as is." That means no painting, no repairs or fixes or tweaks to charm the potential buyer (painting and fixing could mask a defect in the house). The usual suggestions a real estate agent might offer for getting a home in "show-sell" shape may not apply. However, there are always things that can be done to help get a home ready to be sold, even when it’s a court-supervised sale.

  1. Work on curb appeal. Make sure that the lawn is mowed and all trash and debris are removed from the property. Trim overgrown trees and plants and rake around them.
  2. Have all the windows in the house washed inside and out. Let the sun shine in! Also remove damaged window coverings and heavy drapery.
  3. Remove stained and worn carpets. If you decide to leave the existing carpets in the house, have them cleaned professionally to remove odors. (Remember, a buyer may be sensitive to odors you can’t even smell.)
  4. Have a cleaning crew scrub the house, including all the nooks and crannies such as cabinets, shelves, closets, built-in drawers and utility room.
  5. Remove all personal property from the home, especially family heirlooms, photos, old clothing, etc.

If you have questions about preparing real property for sale through probate or trust, The Sanborn Team is happy to provide answers. Call us at 310-777-2858.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pricing it right for 2011

Pricing it right for 2011

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s time to mention (again) the importance of right-pricing for sellers who are serious about selling their property.

Emerging from the long-haul misery of a depressed market, we’ve noticed that there’s a little “magical realism” circulating among some sellers. Now that things are improving, these sellers seem to think, prices should bounce right back to where they were in 2006.

We don’t think that this market, or today’s buyers, will welcome higher prices. In fact, price seems to be one of the major factors keeping buyers away from new listings. With plenty of foreclosures and short sales still on the market, buyers are looking for opportunity they can afford.

Buyers are doing their home-work. They’re spending time searching online, studying values and making lists of essential and optional features. They know what they can afford – and how they’ll pay – and they’re ready to act when all the pieces fall into place.

Sellers might take a page from the buyer’s book: think like a buyer. Search the market as if you’re buying, not selling. Visit open houses and look at properties for sale that are similar to yours. Note particularly how long a property has been on the market because that often says something significant about the price.

There’s a right price in every market. The right price for 2011 is slightly below market so it attracts sellers and agents in good number and may even land the home in multiple-offer territory.

If you have questions about pricing, or about any aspect of selling real property, The Sanborn Team has more than 30 years of experience (through all kinds of markets) to help you. Give us a call at 310-777-2858.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Sanborn Team has another overbidder in probate court!

Our listing at 3342 Maceo was confirmed in court this morning. We had an overbidder who bid $15,000 over the first overbid amount. The original buyer really wanted the house and bid up another $5,000! It ultimately went to that buyer, who was very happy. The Sanborn Team was even happier since we were able to get more money for the estate.

The Sanborn Team works very hard to get the most we can for the executors, administrators, conservators, and probate attorneys who represent the estates we sell. The continual overbidding in court is truly a testament to our aggressive marketing plan for each of our properties. We continue to market our listings right up until the actual court date.

The Sanborn Team has more than 30 years of experience selling real property through probate and trust. Call us anytime for all of your real estate needs! For more information about our probate listings, please visit our website at

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Housing Market Index Encouraging

While The Sanborn Team focuses on the resale of existing homes, especially real property sold through probate, trust and conservatorship, we keep a close eye on what's happening in the new-homes market as well. Trends in new construction tend to have a ripple effect on employment, local economies and, sooner or later, home sales.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released its Housing Market Index on March 15 with a note of cautious optimism. Builder confidence is up to its highest level since "May 2010, when the survey period corresponded with the final days of the federal home buyer tax credit program," NAHB says. The West showed the highest gains.

What this uptick in the HMI means is that builders believe home-buyers will begin making new-home purchases in the coming months.

While the NAHB is far from enthusiastic about the market's immediate prospects, this new report suggests to us that home sellers need to be even more on-target with their pricing as competition from new homes gains momentum.

The Sanborn Team has been selling real property on the Los Angeles Westside for more than 30 years. If you have questions about pricing or timing your home sale or about any aspect of probate and trust real estate, visit our website, or call us at 310-777-2858 today.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Probate court date on 3/24 for 3342 Maceo St. !

Date: 3/24/11
Time: 8:30AM
Place: 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles - Dept. 11
First Overbid Amount: $198,950

Attention Investors and Contractors!! Here's a great opportunity to come to court and overbid on this property.

Charming two bedroom one bath house with enclosed front porch. Probate Sale. Court Confirmation required.

The Sanborn Team is here to help you with all of your real estate needs! We specialize in Probate and Trust properties that require court confirmation such as this one. For more information about us and our probate listings, please visit our website at:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Neighborhood expert vs. probate expert: finding the right agent to sell your home

For decades, one of the staples of real estate marketing has been neighborhood expertise. It makes sense, really: you want your agent to have local knowledge that he or she will use to appeal to the right buyer for your home.

But when it comes to selling real property through probate, trust or conservatorship, technical expertise is critical. These transactions operate by a stringent set of rules, with few allowances for the agent who guesses wrong or "just didn't know." Your neighborhood expert may not have the knowledge of court proceedings, disclosures or documentation that can make or break a deal.

The Sanborn Team recognizes that both local knowledge and technical knowledge are essential to successful probate and trust sales. That's why we have built an extensive Southern California network of real estate professionals who are respected neighborhood experts. We work closely with them to assure that local representation and technical representation work together to the full advantage of the client.

Our role is advising, guiding and informing all of the parties to a sale who require our expertise, including buyers, heirs, probate attorneys, accountants, fiduciaries, executors, trustees and other real estate agents.

The Sanborn Team has been selling probate and trust real estate for more than 30 years. Please visit our website at and call us with your questions at 310-777-2858.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Overbidders in Probate Court!

Several of our probate listings have gone to court in the past couple of weeks. And we've been amazed at the number of overbidders who have gotten the property over the accepted offer!

This month alone, the following properties went to an overbidder in court:

1652 W. 222nd Street, Torrance
1310 N. Hoover, Silver Lake
5755 Kelvin Avenue, Woodland Hills

The Sanborn Team has always worked on assisting executors, administrators, trustees and probate attorneys in pricing properties to generate as much buzz as possible. And once we have an accepted offer and a court date is scheduled, we continue to market the property. Our goal is to get the highest dollar value for our clients.

Call us anytime for all of your real estate needs! Please visit our website to find a wealth of information on probates and to view our current listings:

Friday, March 04, 2011

My Client Cannot Be in Probate Court to Bid on a Property. What should I do?

Just this past week this question came up twice. Two buyers were expected to over-bid on a property.

The first buyer contacted us prior to the sale date. We were able to provide the buyer with detailed instructions on what the attorney for the estate would require in order for someone to bid on the buyer's behalf. Every attorney has his or her own guidelines, but in general most agree that the Power of Attorney needs to be specific to the property that is being sold.

The second buyer sent his real estate agent to court and did not contact us prior to the hearing. The estate's attorney was able to speak to the agent prior to the hearing and establish the ground rules under which he could bid. In this case, the agent had a Power of Attorney specific to the property, but he wanted to enter the name of the buyer as an LLC. This was not acceptable to the attorney, who stated that the name of the buyer for the purposes of the sale had to be an individual, not an LLC.

The bottom line? If you are buying real property through probate or trust, or if you are a real estate agent representing such a buyer, be aware that the court has no flexibility when it comes to overbidding. A phone call in advance to the estate's attorney or the probate real estate agent could save the sale and get you the property you want.

No one wants to get in the way of an over-bid in court.The Sanborn Team spends a lot of time working with buyers and agents to assist them in getting ready to over-bid. We send out instructions to the agents so they know how to counsel their clients - and we're always happy to answer questions about court proceedings. The goal of the Sanborn Team is to see that every property sells for the maximum price.

The Sanborn Team has more than 30 years of real estate experience specializing in the sale of probate and trust properties. For more information about us and to view our probate listings, please visit our website at

Cash-only homes on the rise

I recently read an article in the business section of the LA Times about how all cash buyers are grabbing homes in record numbers.

Nearly 100% of the Probate and Trust properties we list require buyers to pay all cash. This is because they are being sold "as is" with no contingencies, i.e. financing, inspections, appraisals or any approvals. And in most cases the Seller will not do any repairs including termite and retrofit. Who can afford such a deal? Investors that's who! We have definitely seen more investors and investor groups making offers as well as coming to court to overbid.

As the article points it's incredibly difficult to qualify for jumbo loans from lenders who are still reeling from the mortgage fallout. On the up side, unemployment is at its lowest since April, 2009. Since jobs are so directly related to the real estate market, we are hopeful that things will level off.

To read the article in its entirety, please click here:

The Sanborn Team has been selling Probate and Trust Real Estate for over 30 years. Please call us for all of your real estate needs! To find out more about us and our Probate listings, please visit our website at:

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Property of the week!! 5162 Etheldo Avenue

Light and bright three bedroom, 1.75 bath home in Culver City P.O. Hardwood floors in most rooms. Family room with fireplace and brand new carpet. Sliding glass doors lead to grassy backyard. This is a very charming house with tons of potential! A must see! Probate sale. Court Confirmation required.
The Sanborn Team has been selling Probate and Trust properties for over 30 years. To find out about why we are the experts, please visit our website at:

Is paperwork different in a Probate Sale?

With a keen insight of the marketplace and familiarity of the Probate Code, The Sanborn Team handles the sale of real property through Probate & Trust accurately and promptly. As you may know, the sale of property through Probate & Trust is not the same as the sale of property outside of the court system. Probate and Trust sales require special disclosures, listing agreements and purchase contracts.*
Since the seller of a probate has usually never lived in the decedent's or conservatee's house, they are not required to fill out certain disclosures that express the condition of the property. These disclosures are:

  • Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement
  • Earthquake Hazards Report
  • Statewide Buyer and Seller Advisory
  • Local Area Disclosures
  • Seller Property Questionnaire
  • Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure

Also, the listing agreement and purchase contract are different as well. Probate & Conservatorship listings must be on the Probate Purchase Listing Agreement and all offers must be on Probate Purchase Agreement.

You may also know that when it comes to the sale of real property through probate and trust, not all agents are created equal! Lack of experience can only lead to the trustee/administrator to fail finding the best buyer and fail to provide the correct paperwork that protects the trustee/administrator. Although to many real estate agents the sale of probate seems similar enough to a traditional transaction, this sale takes a comprehensive understanding of the court requirements.

The Sanborn Team brings you and your clients over 30 years experience of marketing and selling Probate and Trust properties. To find out about why we are the experts, please visit our website at:

* These forms are created by the California Association of Realtors