How To Sell A House In Probate In Pennsylvania

I get it – selling a house in probate is not something you ever thought you would need to do.

For one, it’s not enjoyable.

Anytime you are dealing with judicial systems and court proceedings, you can bet that it will be lengthy and expensive.

And secondly, you’re probably already overwhelmed with the grieving process to begin with.

Combine those two together and it could make for the perfect storm.

But what if I told you there is a better, quicker and easier way to sell a house in probate in Pennsylvania?

In fact, many homeowners or heirs don’t even know that this option, the way I’m about to show you, even exists when it comes to selling a house during probate.


In this article I will share:

  1. What exactly does probate mean for selling a house
  2. How it might be possible to sell the house before probate finishes
  3. The one little trick that could save you thousands during probate
  4. A 95%+ effective strategy to get an offer on your house in probate
  5. The secret that lawyers, litigators, creditors and realtors won’t tell

If you’re one of the millions of executors, heirs or inherited property owners in Pennsylvania going through probate, then you’re going to want to understand everything I’m about to explain in this article.

But before we get to all of that, why would you even listen me on this topic?

Do I even know what I’m talking about with probate and real estate?

Well, for one, I’ve done what you’re trying to do.

I’ve saved owners thousands of dollars by selling their inhertied homes before probate costs stacked up. And I’m going to show you how it’s done…entirely for free!

You won’t even need me by the end of this. 😁

Because I’ve done so many of these, I’d like to think that I’m quite an expert at home buying and real estate sales for all kinds properties (foreclosure, probate, liens, etc.). Many publications trust my expertise and knowledge on this subject. I can share many tips and tricks related to selling a house in probate!

I’ve been featured in (hereherehere and here), the Washington Post and on Architectural Digest for many years now.

Okay. You’re ready to trust me now? Great!

Let’s jump in!


  • Don’t let probate suck all the time, money and energy from you. You’re already trying to grieve – take it one step at a time.
  • Be proactive. Selling your house in probate can be a difficult and time consuming. There are alternatives to speed things up and minimize your costs.
  • Weigh the pros and cons! It’s a important decision. If you’re already set on selling the house, find out next who you should sell the probate home to.

What Constitutes “Probate” Property In Pennsylvania?

Probate property in Pennsylvania can be defined as any real or personal property that is left behind by a deceased person.

So what does that really mean?

If someone in your family, or a close friend or relative, has recently passed away and they happen to still own real or personal property – then it’s possible that a probate may be required.

In Pennsylvania, a critical factor in determining whether a probate is required, is whether or not a will has been established.

sell house fast probate pennsylvania

If the deceased person wrote a will, then the instructions are clear on how the assets, personal and real, are to be distributed. Probate is typically not required in this situation – although in certain cases it may still be.

However, many times the deceased do not leave a will. This is referred to as intestate. Without clear, unamibgouous instructions on how the assets are to be distributed to heirs, a probate proceeding is needed.

Probate property is typically any house, home, real estate or building that is in scope of the probate process for a particular person. In reality, many other types of property could also be the subject of the probate proceedings (fine art, coins, precious metals, stocks and bonds, etc.).

Can My House Be Sold While In Probate Pennsylvania?

Yes, you can sell a house while it is in probate in Pennsylvania.

Despite what you might hear from lawyers, lenders, realtors and any other party who is going to benefit financially from your probate – you certainly can sell the house while it is in probate to speed up the process and lower your overall probate expenses.

Many seller’s opt to sell the property quickly because cash is easier to divide between heirs and closeout the probate process. Deciding to sell the house is one thing, but getting it done quickly can be a whole other reality.

Selling a house while it is in the middle of a probate can also present unique challenges:

  1. Creditors might start to claw back some of the equity
  2. Other parties might surface who believe they are rightful heirs
  3. Insurance companies and lawyers will do anything to lengthen the process

At the end of the day, selling a house in probate can be a great option. Regardless of the situation, cash is always easier to divide among interested parties. Additionally, selling a house in probate requires all other debtors, creditors and liens to be extinguished which benefits the entire estate.

Probate House Sale Process: 2024 Pennsylvania

Selling a house in probate in Pennsylvania typically follows an 8-step process.

selling a home in probate pennsylvania

8-Step Probate Process Pennsylvania

1. Filing a Petition for Probate:

The process begins with the filing of a petition for probate in the local court jurisdiction. Typically, this is in the county where the deceased person resided at the time of their death.

2. Appointment of Executor:

If the deceased person left a will, the court will appoint an executor or adminstator as named in the will. If there is no will or no named executor (i.e., intestate), the court will appoint an administrator to oversee the estate.

3. Inventory and Appraisal:

The executor or administrator is responsible for preparing an inventory and appraisal of the decedent’s assets, including the homes, cars, assets and other personal property. This may involve hiring professionals to assess the value of the property.

4. Creditor Notifications:

Notice of the probate proceedings must be given to creditors, providing them with an opportunity to file claims against the estate. The executor or administrator must publish notice in a local newspaper.

For example, mortgage companies and other lien holders are going to be interested in being paid off as part of the probate proceedings.

5. Paying Off Debts:

The estate’s debts, including any outstanding mortgages on the house, must be paid from the estate assets. The executor or administrator is responsible for managing this process.

This is typically a strong driver for heirs deciding to sell the house. If the property had a mortgage, then the heirs are going to now be responsible for paying that. Or, as you many choose to do, they can sell the house and be done with it.

6. Selling the House:

If the deceased person’s will directs the sale of the house or if it is required to satisfy debts, the property may be sold. The proceeds will be used to pay debts and distributed according to the terms of the will or state law.

Despite popular belief, the house can be sold during this time in the probate. It is not required to wait for the entire estate to finish probate (all the way through step 8).

7. Distribution of Assets:

Once debts and expenses are paid, the remaining assets, including the house, are distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will or, in the absence of a will, according to the state’s intestacy laws.

If you decided to sell the house in Step 6, then this will make the rest of the probate very simple for attornies, beneficiares and other parties related to the deceased person.

selling a home during probate pennsylvania

8. Final Accounting and Closing the Estate:

The executor or administrator must provide a final accounting of the estate’s financial transactions to the court. Once the court approves the accounting and is satisfied that all matters are resolved, it will issue an order closing the estate.

How To Sell Your House In Probate Pennsylvania

selling a house in probate pa

Option 1 – Hire A Real Estate Agent

Some property owners prefer to work with a real estate agent who specializes in inherited property. These probate realtors often have the skills required to sell the house through a traditional listing process which will maximize the home’s exposure and generate buyer interest.

If the house is in disrepair, the listing might struggle to get offers – just like any other listing would. This is often why hiring a real estate agent is a poor choice for probate homes.

Many times, the property has been neglected for years. This happens because the deceased owner focused on their health and life which was more critical at the expense of their own personal property.

This situation prolongs listings, requires multiple price reductions and creates an overall subpar experience for the heirs and executors of the estate.

If your inherited home or probate house is in anything less than “okay” or “good” condition, then you might want to avoid listing the house with an agent.

Option 2 – Sell It Yourself

Another option is to just sell the place yourself. In Pennsylvania, you don’t need to be a licensed real estate agent to see your own house. If you’re comfortable navigating the probate court and process, then you might have what it takes to also navigate the sale of the home itself.

What can often happen during probate is that the beneficiaries become totally consumed with the court proceedings and legal processes. This leaves them very little time to focus on selling the house.

What’s more?

They are also likely still grieving.

Who would want to put more work on their plate while they are still processing the deceased person’s lose and working on recovering from that grief.

selling a house during probate pennsylvania

So unless you have the time to market the house, clean it up, repair it and negotiate with sellers…then you might want to avoid selling the house yourself.

Option 3 – Sell To A Probate Home Buyer

Selling your house during probate to a local, reputable cash home buyer is going to be your best option.

Here’s why:

Home buyers are professionals who not only understand the probate process in Pennsylvania, but also can help the executor and estate navigate and complete the process while minizing costs.

Cash home buyers also buy houses “as is”. This is a huge benefit for heirs and family members who cannot make repairs or invest further into the home. No repairs and no cleaning means a quicker close and faster process overall.

Additionally, probate house buyers are reasonable and flexible companies. They are in the business of buying and selling real estate. This means they can accomodate changes to your plans, revisions to closing schedules and also any other small nuances. In fact, many probate house buyers even offer to cover closing costs and make sure all of the homes belongings make it to the rightful heirs.

If you are in the middle of a probate and need to sell the house to make the process finish faster, then consider reaching out to a local home buyer for a cash offer:

Sell Your House Fast For Cash In Pennsylvania

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How Long Does It Take To Sell A House In Probate?

According to a reputable Pennsylvania law firm, probate sales can take up to a year and half to complete. For one, requesting to be scheduled in a probate court is difficult. To make matters even more complicated, some probate cases are plagued by complex nuances such as inheritance tax, family dynamics or even stubborn executors.

Probate in PA | Matthew D. Gilbert

Selling a house in probate does not neccessarily need to take this long.

If the executor can find the right buyer, as shown above in the three selling options, then completing the sale can actually occur a lot quicker than the overall probate process.

On average, it could take multiple months or even years to find a buyer by listing the house with an agent. Again, this varies on the condition of the property, the listing price, and the real estate market locally in PA.

While it is true that the probate court process will take longer than a traditional home sale, finding a reputable cash house buyer can speed up the sale and get the estate results much faster.

FAQs – Selling A House In Probate In Pennsylvania

What’s the fastest way to sell a house in probate?

The fastest way to sell a house in probate in Pennsylvania is typically through a direct sale to a home buyer. Selling to a home buyer eliminates the need for traditional listing, marketing, and waiting for potential buyers. This method streamlines the process, expedites the sale, and ensures a quicker resolution for all parties involved. At the end of the day, it also lowers your total legal cost of probate.

Is it possible to sell a house before probate court proceedings complete?

Yes, it is possible to sell a house before probate court proceedings complete in Pennsylvania. However, it is crucial to obtain court approval for the sale. This involves filing a petition and providing the necessary documentation. Selling to a home buyer can still be advantageous in this situation, as it often results in a faster and more straightforward approval process.

Do all heirs have to agree to sell property in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, the agreement of all heirs is generally required to sell property in probate. However, if the property is sold through a home buyer, it may circumvent potential conflicts among heirs. Selling to a home buyer is a collaborative process that can help avoid disagreements, making the sale smoother and less intrusive for everyone involved.

Is there inheritance tax when selling a house in PA?

Yes, there may be inheritance tax when selling a house in Pennsylvania. Inheritance tax is levied on the value of the decedent’s property transferred to heirs. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional to understand the specific implications and obligations related to inheritance tax in your particular case.

The findings and information in this article are focused on Pennsylvania, however, it is applicable in many locations nationwide!

Best Way To Sell My House In Probate In PA

Signature Properties provides the easiest and simplest way to sell your house in Pennsylvania. We buy houses through fair and honest cash offers.🙂 Whether you are avoiding the bank from foreclosure, coming into an inheritance, going through divorce or any other situation – we have real estate solutions to get you the outcomes you desire when you sell your house to us. We help homeowners with costly home repairs, mounting liens, code enforcement violations and even vacant homes. Are you trying to sell your house in surrounding areas or other counties and states near Pennsylvania? We buy properties in New Jersey and Delaware as well as many other towns! In fact, we buy homes all over Pennsylvania. Selling a house in probate in Pennsylvania can happen quickly, easily and cheaply!