Buying Probate Property at Less Than Market Value in Arizona


Buying probate property is very different from buying traditional real estate. Probate properties typically belong to a deceased person’s estate and tend to be sold for less than market value. Since probate property is considered an asset, it must go through probate court along with other items left behind by the decedent. 

While any asset from an estate (like collectibles, cars, or jewelry) can be sold, “buying probate assets” usually refers to real property. The main responsibility of an estate’s personal representative is preserving the assets in the estate, so they may be properly distributed to beneficiaries. So, probate assets are often sold as a necessity to pay off debts. 

What You Should Know About Buying Probate Property in Arizona

  • Probate property is often sold at a budget-friendly price, but the process can take several months
  • You can go to your local courthouse to access probate property information in your area
  • Probate homes are often listed “as is,” meaning that the estate won’t pay for any repairs to the property
  • In some cases, speaking with a probate attorney can be helpful when you’re in the process of purchasing probate property

Buying Probate Property in Arizona

Real estate property is sold in probate court when a person dies intestate (without a legally valid will). In this case, the state will take over and administer sale of the property (often with pre-approval for sale). If the property is pre-approved, the buying process can be quick. In other cases, it can take a long time to finalize a probate property purchase.

Buyers are often tempted by the affordable prices of probate homes, but keep in mind that they’re usually sold “as is with no repairs.” In other words, the estate will have no interest in renovating the property. For this reason, it’s smart to get an appraisal and home inspection before buying probate real estate, as you would before purchasing any other property.

How Long does Buying Probate Property Take?

If the home you are seeking to buy doesn’t have pre-court approval for purchase, you might have to wait a while to complete the sale. Once the estate representative (also called an executor) accepts your offer, the court must approve the sale, which can take a month or more. In some cases, buying probated real estate can take several months.

How to Purchase Probate Real Estate

Probate real estate property can be a great bargain for potential homeowners or investors. Since the property is often sold as it is without improvements, many choose to purchase the property to fix up or sell for a profit. When the court sells a property, it’s sold like an auction. The court in your area might have properties listed on its website. If you’re approved to purchase the home, you’ll typically be required to pay with a check or cash.

Once you identify the professionals involved with the estate, such as probate attorneys, develop relationships with them. That way, they will keep you in mind for the sale and know how to contact you. While there are private services available that offer information on probate property, they are often unreliable. You will be better off researching on your own or contacting a probate attorney for assistance.

How Working With an Attorney Can Help

Houses in probate are worth considering if you’re looking for a good deal on your next home. However, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you start. Probate law can get confusing, especially when you’re dealing with a complex or large estate. Speaking with a probate attorney can help you if you’re on the fence about whether pursuing probate property is the right option for you. They can also help if you need assistance with selling probate real estate. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Probate in Arizona

Here are some common questions on probate-related matters:

Q: What does the probate process involve?

Probate is the court-supervised process of administering a deceased person’s estate. During these proceedings, the will must be “proved,” a personal representative will be appointed, outstanding debts will be paid off and the remaining funds go to the heirs of the estate. As mentioned before, some cases involve real property that is sold under supervision of the court.

Q: Does every estate in Arizona have to be probated?

No. If the estate has no assets, it usually won’t require probate. Some assets also don’t require probate, such as community property with joint tenancy or right of survivorship, annuities with at least one beneficiary, payable-on-death investment or checking accounts, transfer-on-death designations with at least one beneficiary, IRAs, pensions, or retirement plans that name at least one beneficiary, and assets in a revocable living trust.

Q: How can I find probate property for sale in Arizona? 

Your local courthouse will have information on all probate properties nearby. Just go to the courthouse and ask an associate where you can find probate properties or estate sales within your price range, preferred location, and available within your ideal timeframe. They should be able to point you in the right direction and provide you with the listings relevant to your criteria. 

Q: What are the different categories of probate?

Not all probate processes are the same. When a person passes away with a valid will that hasn’t been contested, an informal process is required and can settle as quickly as a few short months. Informal probate proceedings don’t require much supervision from the court. 

If the will validity is contested or a dispute exists over the personal representative appointed for the estate, formal probate proceedings are necessary. The formal process involves the court stepping in to resolve estate-related legal issues. Lastly, some estates will have to go through supervised probate, where the court oversees the entire process. This can extend the length of the probate proceedings considerably.

What to Do if You Need Help With Probate in Arizona

The law concerning estate distribution and probate property can be confusing. If you have any questions about buying or selling probate property in Arizona, speak with a probate attorney today. 

Call Our Probate Team at (480)467-4365 to discuss your case today.

Contact Probate Attorney Ryan Hodges

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