Probate/Estate | Tom McClellan | BHHS Florida Realty Skip to main content
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Tom McClellan

Sales Professional
Cell: (941) 720-1500
Office: (941) 720-1500

IX                      Choosing an Experienced Probate Realtor Services

“If you are involved in probate proceedings, the two things you need most are a good Probate Estate / Real Estate Attorney and a good Probate Real Estate Realtor. 

The Realtor needs to understand probate law and codes special requirements working with Real Estate. They require the ability to work closely with a probate attorney and ask important questions like "Homestead filing, Creditors notices, Heirs signing and if a Confirmation hearing is required and terms.

Of course, I am going to tell you about me, If you are considering a Realtor now or in the future, I want you to remember me.  Being a full time Realtor since 2001, I started working with Personal Representatives (PR) in 2005 and more extensively since 2017 making a commitment and dedicated much of my focus to become expert probate realtor.  Also I have had the unfortunate personal experience as the PR for family and a friend.  I am an active member of National Association of Realtors (NAR) Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES).  Knowing the Manatee-Sarasota County Florida market and the special requirements regarding probate sales will help keep the process moving forward.  I and our team have a genuine passion for answering questions and solving issues arising from selling or buying probate real estate.


Probate Real Estate Services and Selling Summary:

Prepare the Home:                                                                Provide Service Contractor Resources for:

  1. Help make the process less stressful
  2. Provide Information and Research
  3. Provide Service Contractor Resources


  1. Home Valuation
  2. Inspection of the home
  3. Condition review and value added plans
  4. Market Analytics
  5. Rental Market and Property Management
  6. Cash Advance Estate Probate sources
  1. Secure: Doors, Windows, Pool, Rodents
  2. Grant approved access to the Home
  3. Personal Property: Distribute, Dispose, Sell and/or Donate-Gift
  4. Scheduling: Bids, Work
  5. Property Preservation: Mow, Pool, Clean
  6. Repairs
  7. Renovation-Remodeling


  1. Eviction: Tenant, Squatter


In Selling the Home: (-see Quick sale vs Full Market Value at end of this section)

  1. Organize & help through the Probate home selling process
  2. Listen to your goals and work to obtain them
  3. Be a Real Estate Source of Information
  4. Provide Service Contractor Sale Resources
  5. Price to sell for the maximum benefit to the Estate
  6. Prepare: Sanitize, Curb appeal, Staging, Clean
  7. Estimate Net Proceeds (Equity)
  8. Advertise: On-line web, Social, Print, etc.
  9. Marketing: Office, Photos, Virtual Tours, Signage, etc.
  1. Screen out unqualified Buyers
  2. Pre-Approve Buyers ability
  3. Negotiate terms of an offer
  4. Show the home to prospective Buyers
  5. Schedule Buyers, Realtors, Contractors, Inspections
  6. Communication, reduce surprises
  7. Sell for top dollar in the quickest time

          In A Little More Detail:

  1. Less Stressful: Take the burden of what to do next, when to do it and schedule to complete.Take photos when necessary.
  2. Information:Beyond the value and market analytics today, what work is value added, home safety issues, and security.
  3. Resources:

    • Attorney
    • CPA/Accountant
    • Financial Planner
    • Realtor
    • FIRPTA-Foreign
    • 1031 Exchange
    • Lender
    • Title Company
    • Inspections
    • Staging
    • Property Manager
    • Contractors licensed
    • Secure
    • Property Preservation
    • Handyman
    • Repairs
    • Renovation



  4. Home Valuation:(aka: CMA, BPO, Desk top valuation).Usually will be needed for the Estate:Court/Judge, your Attorney, Taxes, Insurance, Heirs and Equity available.Show similar homes that sold, are pending and active (competition).Also homes in the area have done that may not be similar to yours.This is not an appraisal, only licensed appraiser can provide them for a fee (normally $350.+).
  5. Inspections:Not only the initial inspection to determine value and condition, but follow up weekly (if vacant) for security and approved work completion.
  6. Market Analytics:Market inventory helps let you know if we in a Seller or Buyer market.What trending.Better to Sell today or Rent out.What Buyers today are looking for in a home and community, financing terms (interest rate, approval requirements) , appraisal issues, insurance requirements, repair costs.Give a history and predict what may be coming up that will affect the home.
  7. Home Condition:From ready to go to just need cleaning to some TLC (tender loving care).What can be done to add value, make the home sell quicker and attract the right buyer.Included is the HOA, Community with their amenities, hazards and distractions.
  8. Rental Market:From annual to seasonal renting.What potential ROI is (return on investment) and cash flow.From tenant verification (credit, criminal and what you can and cannot do), interviewing potential tenants, collecting rent including past due, making repairs, renewing leases, evictions (following Florida law procedures).Some HOA and Condo Associations have restrictions and approval process that must be followed.
  9. Cash Advance on Inheritance:There are companies/people that provide cash for an agreement for part of the estate at closing. –(seeVIII)
  10. Secure:Not just doors, but make sure windows are lockable, if a pool, meet the Florida requirements for safety while un-occupied to be less liable for accidents, and if rodents occupy the home (rats, squirrels, raccoons, etc.) block entry paths.
  11. Home Access:Provide approved access for contractors, utilities, neighbors, family members, heirs and beneficiaries when needed.


  12. Personal Property:Inventory and take photos when necessary of items left in the home that will need to be cleared out.Distribute to Family, Heirs and Beneficiaries that the decedent wished to go, sell via estate sale, garage sale or auction more valuable items that are not wanted, gift/donate items to repurpose and finally dispose of anything of little or no value remaining.
  13. Schedule:Valuation, Inspections, Bidding and Work to be done.
  14. Property Preservation:Grass grows quickly from late spring to early fall needed cut weekly.Most contractors require annual contracts so the winter months off set the high maintain period.Utilities need to be on (electric, water) but some items can be off at the electrical panel.Check for any water leaks (consider main home shut off).If there is a pool, weekly chemicals are required to keep in blue and fresh.Homes get dusty and follow up general cleaning is sometimes needed.
  15. Repairs:From touch up paint to flooring replacement, it’s a home and unfortunately things break or out live its useful life and needs to be addressed.A roof more than 10 years old can be an insurance issue.Pressure wash does a lot, colorful landscaping, , remove odors (Buyer turnoff), in Florida, HVAC needs to work (comfort and prevent mold).The list can become extensive.
  16. Renovation-Remodeling:By a licensed and Insured contractor.There are times new windows, garage door, updated kitchen or bath, flooring, appliances will bring top dollar to a property vs a fire sale.Popular are Green and Smart home amenities.
  17. Eviction:Unwanted tenant will not move, a squatter has taken over the home, these legal issues requiring (attorney, court and sheriff) with of documentation making it become time consuming and costly.A quicker action and overall less costly can be offer cash for keys.


Selling the Home:

  1. Organize and Help:    Be your eyes and ears, discuss an order to progress through the process, schedule (with your input) what needs to be done,
  2. Listen to Your Goals! What do you want to accomplish with the home and set goals to get there?
  3. Source:                        Lender, Title co., Inspectors, Photographer, Stager, -see IX #3
  4. Service Contractors:   Final cleaning/sanitizing, staging, property preservation functions,
  5. Maximize Value:        Whether looking for quick cash; 60-70% of the home value, but cash in 2-3 weeks or full maximum return and marketing.
  6. Prepare the Home:    Buyers 1st impressions are within 5 seconds, they will know if the will like the home or not: “Curb appeal”.  2nd is when entering the front door, takes about 8 seconds to form an opinion.  Needs to be bright, clean, uncluttered, no negative odors, highlight features and not ignore faults, but down play them.  Provide information; home, community and local attractions.  
  7. Estimate your Net Proceeds: Based on what is owed towards the home (mortgage, taxes, HOA fees, judgements, liens, etc.), then taking the market value of the home to give you a gross net equity.  Subtract any other costs to sell and close the home to = your net equity (proceeds).
  8. Advertise:                   Online Real Estate websites, into Social Media, Print; magazines, newspaper, flyers, community bulletin boards,

  9. Marketing:                  Through the office and 1800 Realtors, on-line to the top 2000 Realtors in the area, Signage, Virtual tours, professional Photos, Open houses, etc.
  10. Screen Un-Qualified Buyers: They are called “lookie loos”, either they cannot afford or are not even interested in buying, but likes to look at homes and getting ideas for their place.  On a rare occasion, case the home to comeback and burglarize.  Neighbors are good (have friend or relative looking) and bad, most just want to see the inside, what they have, how they lived and confirm rumors.
  11. Pre-Approved Buyers:            Financial Loan approval subject to the property condition, appraisal and title.  If paying cash, proof has assets on hand that can be liquated by the closing date.
  12. Negotiate:                  Price is important, it not everything.  Buyer may ask for additional items or repairs-replacements, assistance with their closing costs and pre-paid items, timeframes (may keep your home off the market limited other good buyers from seeing it) include ways of easily backing out and keeping the deposit,
  13. Show the Home:       To qualified prospective Buyers highlighting the great amenities
  14. Schedule:                    Showings, Inspections, Appraiser, Surveyor, Contractor estimates, Work to be done, Buyer final walk-through,    
  15. Communicate:            How you want to be communicated with:  Phone, Text, Email, Social Media, in Person (if available).  How often:  weekly, when something happens, only when we have a contract. 
  16. Sell for Top Dollar:     SALE PROCESS (Quick or Full Market Value)

The process of selling real estate (real property) through probate or trust is a series of court-regulated steps that must be carefully monitored and managed. Deadlines are unforgiving, documentation is specialized and the court’s oversight must be honored throughout the Pricing, Marketing, Offers, Negotiations and Sale of the property.

In addition to the personnel of the court, the sale generally involves the PR or Administrator of the estate, the attorney representing the estate, a real estate Realtor® representing the seller (the estate), one or more buyers who place bids with the court and the buyers’ real estate agent.  Each of these individuals must follow the guidelines and deadlines of the court.

Because of the involvement of the court, probate and trust sales have a vocabulary all their own (see XV glossary). They also involve various disclosure documents and contracts that are not used in other real estate transactions.

If you are selling or buying real property through such a transaction, your Realtor® should be experienced in probate and trust sales and be able to explain the language, the documentation and the steps in the process. Clear communications are vital.

The real estate agent markets the real property to the public as aggressively as possible to attract the highest offer. This generally involves a number of approaches, including signage, newspaper advertising, listing on one or more real estate websites and hosting open houses for other real estate agents and potential homebuyers. The real estate agent will also schedule appointments to show the property to interested parties who inquire directly.