For Professionals of the Probate and Trust Industry

Month: July 2022

Trashout and Cleanup of Your Properties

You have a situation where the real property you are managing needs to be sold and is full of personal property and trash.  Completing a trashout and cleaning the property costs thousands of dollars.  The estate or trust does not have the funds to pay for these services.  

Your agent may offer you to sell the property “As Is”, with all of the debris and personal property to be included in the sale.  The standard verbiage of the C.A.R. purchase agreement states that “all debris and personal property not included in the sale shall be removed by Close of Escrow or at the time possession is delivered to Buyer”.  This term can be negotiated and addressed in a counter or addendum, stating that the seller will not remove the property’s debris and personal property.  However, marketing a property in this condition will not appeal to owner-occupants, who typically can offer more than investors.  

Investors will use this condition as leverage to offer less.  Since the property is full of debris and personal property, investor buyers may not be able to determine what the floor and walls look like, what damage exists, or if there’s mold and water damage, which will affect their bottom line.  This creates added risk that they are required to take, which does not result in the highest and best offer.

Alternatively, my firm’s network of vendors can handle the trashout and cleanup, and the estate or trust can pay for their services through escrow once the property has sold.  This includes the services of an organizer who will sort through the items, create an inventory list, determine the value of these items, and facilitate the sale of the valuables.   This approach maximizes the property’s value for the estate while minimizing your liability.

For more information about this or other probate real estate related topics, please contact me at 323-606-1919 (call or text).

Relocating Occupants / Tenants from Your Properties

You have a situation where you need to sell real property that’s occupied.  The occupant can be a paying tenant or someone that was not authorized to occupy it.  In some cases, the occupant is one of the estate’s beneficiaries.  The occupant does not want to vacate the property, is unwilling to provide access to the property to show it to prospective buyers, and refuses to allow access to your agent to conduct open houses or any combination of these.

You consult with an eviction attorney, who advises that the eviction process may take at least six months, or more, and there is a cost.  The estate or trust does not have the funds to pay for the eviction, or,  needs the funds from the sale as soon as possible and can not wait for the duration of the eviction.

What to do?

Owner-occupants won’t purchase a property they have not seen, and, won’t be willing to take on the risks of an eviction and the costs involved. You can, and many agents will advise you just to sell the property occupied.  This will require you to sell the property at a substantial discount to an investor. Many agents will tell you they already have investors lined up to purchase such properties, and they do!  But will this generate the best and highest value for the estate?  Would this be acting in the estate’s best interest?  Would you be upholding your fiduciary duty and your commitment to act in the best interest of the estate?

There is another option to consider!  You may offer the occupant relocation assistance for vacating the property within a short period of time.  I have completed these transactions hundreds of times and developed best practices that motivate the occupant to cooperate with me and leave in a short period, usually two weeks.  If the estate doesn’t have the funds available for payment of the relocation assistance, my firm can provide those funds and will obtain reimbursement through escrow once the property has sold. 

For more information about this, or other probate real estate related topics, please contact me at 323-606-1919 (call or text).

Handling Squatters in Vacant Properties

On numerous occasions over the years, I’ve been asked to list properties that have squatters occupying them.  My team and I have been able to deal with this situation without any issues and get the properties vacant.   We bring a copy of the grant deed showing who the owner of the property is and also a letter from the property owner authorizing my team member to handle the situation of removing the squatters.  My team member arrives at the property as early as possible in the morning, usually, around 6am, and then calls the police to arrive.  During these early hours of the morning, the police usually don’t have much activity and arrive fairly quickly.   We show the documents to the police and the police ask the squatters to leave. 

We also have our locksmith present to secure the property/rekey.

Depending on the situation, we may also fence the property and have a surveillance system installed for ongoing monitoring, to prevent future intruders.