What Repairs Should I Make Before Listing A Probate Property For Sale

If a friend or relative has passed away and you have been made the executor of their estate, it’s your responsibility to manage the sale of the probate property they left behind. This can be a long and complicated process, especially if a will wasn’t made. But with the right approach, you can navigate your way to a successful sale.

This guide will go over some simple repairs and improvements you can make to the property before selling it.

Here at GreatBuildz, we speak with clients every day who are looking for quality home improvement contractors in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura & San Diego Counties. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, pre-screened home contractors, then provides ongoing project support to ensure a stress-free experience.


In this blog, we’ll share some ideas and resources to help guide you in preparing your probate property for a successful sale.

What is Probate Property?

The term “probate property” generally covers all types of property that are in the name of a deceased owner. When a person who owns a house dies without a will to say who it should be transferred to or how it should be treated, the house in question becomes a form of probate property and will need to undergo a probate sale in order to be transferred to a new owner.

Probate Property Body

Why Is a Home Sold Through Probate Court?

A home has to be sold via probate court if there is no will in place to say how the property should be passed on. Since the former owner of the property is deceased, it’s technically in a state of limbo until it receives a new owner. Probate court helps to make this happen.

Probate Property Court

How Long Does it Take to Obtain Probate?

The legal process of obtaining probate can vary from state to state and case to case. It can be quite a long and drawn-out process, and it may take several months or even a couple of years for the full probate process to be completed.

What If the House Needs Repairs?

So what about if the home is in a state of disrepair? It may not sell in such a state and could remain listed for years without attracting interest from buyers. Fortunately, it is possible to carry out repairs on probate properties before they are sold.

Probate Property Repairs

Can Repairs Be Made to the House During Probate?

Yes, it is possible to carry out repairs and renovations on a probate property that is listed for sale. It is the executor’s obligation and duty to preserve the assets of the estate they’re responsible for, and part of this responsibility can include making necessary repairs and improvements to a property that is in poor condition. It’s best to get the repairs taken care of before the home is listed for sale.

Budgeting For Repairs to Make During Probate

Especially if the home you’re planning to sell is in disrepair or a fixer-upper, making a series of repairs will certainly make it easier to sell for top dollar. In order to find the right budget and costs for each of your planned renovations, check out our remodel cost blog here. Depending on the size of your budget, here is a list of improvements that should be made to the house in order of importance. First, make sure all the home’s systems are in functioning order…including the plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and roofing. Next, you should focus on curb appeal and basic interior appeal…so which would include exterior home repair/painting, interior painting, and flooring. Finally, you can significantly improve the home’s value by renovating the kitchen & bathrooms.

If you plan to sell a probate home without doing any repairs, its quite likely that you’re not going to get the best price from a potential buyer. If the property is in disrepair or just outdated, most buyers or investors are going to want a very good price in order to take on these repairs and renovations. You can expect a probate home like this to sell for 10-30% lower than other comparable homes in the area.

If the probate home is in poor condition, its quite possible that a buyer would not be able to secure a traditional loan to finance their purchase, making your property even harder to sell. You will likely have to sell to an investor who will be paying cash for the purchase.

Most Important Things to Repair Before Listing Property For Sale

1. Kitchen and Bathrooms

Probate Property Kitchen

The kitchen and any bathrooms are among the most important rooms in the home. They’re also the most common rooms for Americans to renovate and repair, as there are lots of issues that can arise in these spaces.

Kitchens can have problems with walls, floors, ceilings, and ventilation, for example. Bathrooms may have plumbing problems, mold issues, ventilation deficiencies, and other areas that need repair around the toilet, shower, bath, and fittings.

It’s vital for essential repairs to be carried out in these rooms such as fixing any leaky pipes, repairing damaged counters and cabinets, improving the general aesthetic, and refitting new HVAC systems if necessary too.

2. Home Interior

Probate Property Home Interior

The general interior of the home may also require some repairs and improvements in order to make the probate property ready for sale. There may be issues with walls, doors, windows, floors, ceilings, and other areas too.

The ducting system might require work, along with other key systems like plumbing and wiring. The doors and windows might need replacing or fixing as well, and it may be necessary to have cracks, holes, or damages in walls and ceilings repaired also.

There may even be more serious threats in the house, such as the presence of asbestos which may have to be removed, or structural faults that need to be remedied.

3. Home Exterior

Probate Property Exterior

The outside spaces of the home also may need looking at, especially areas like the yard, the exterior walls, the roof, and any outdoor structures like fences and sheds too. The home’s curb appeal is important to get top dollar when selling the home.

Roofs of older houses, in particular, can have issues like holes, leaks, cracked shingles, and so on, which may need fixing, and you might also need to have professional repair work carried out around the yard.

If the probate home has a swimming pool, you’ll want to ensure it is operating properly, the filter is working, and the pool is not green and filthy with leaves.

The more the probate home is in disrepair, the harder it will be to sell and the greater discount a buyer will want in order to purchase the property.


When it comes to planning and coordinating renovations for your probate property, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – GreatBuildz can help simplify your renovation experience.


GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County and San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish. Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com.

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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