Can you sell a house during probate in Virginia beach?

When a loved one passes away, their assets, including real estate properties, need to go through a legal process called probate. Probate is the legal procedure that validates and distributes a deceased person’s assets according to their will or state laws.

A court will supervise the probate process to distribute the deceased person’s estate. The probate process often involves selling the deceased individual’s home and other property.

This blog post will guide you through the probate process and the basics of sell a house during probate in Virginia Beach.

What is Probate, & Can You sell a house during probate?

Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person. When someone dies, their assets, including property, must be valued, any tax due on the estate paid, and debts paid and then the assets can be distributed to their beneficiaries. The estate is distributed by the deceased’s wishes as set out in their will or, if there is no will, by the intestacy rules. 

A house does not have to go through probate if it is jointly owned with rights of survivorship; in that case, the surviving owner automatically takes ownership of the house. If a house is held in a trust, the trustee can sell or transfer the house according to the terms of the trust without any probate court involvement.

A “ladybird deed” is another estate planning tool that can prevent a house from needing to go through probate. Using any of the above means that the property can be sold anytime, even if other estate assets need to go through probate.

However, if the deed to the property is in the deceased’s sole name, it must go through probate, whether or not the decedent had a will. In that case, the house cannot be sold in Virginia Beach before probate, and important steps must be taken sell a house during probate.

Steps for Selling a House during Probate

Real estate sales in probate are typically more complex than sales of real estate that are not in probate.

Here are the simplified steps for selling a house during the probate process in Virginia Beach. 

Understand Probate

Before proceeding with the sale, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the probate process and its specific requirements in your jurisdiction. Familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations governing probate and real estate transactions.

Consult with an Attorney

Seek professional advice from an attorney experienced in probate and real estate matters. They can provide valuable guidance and ensure you comply with all legal obligations.

Obtain Court Approval

In most cases, selling a house during probate requires court approval. You must petition the probate court requesting permission to sell the property. The court will review the request and evaluate its merits.

Appraise the Property

Hire a professional real estate appraiser to assess the house’s market value. The appraisal report will help you determine a fair listing price.

List the Property

Once you obtain court approval, list the property for sale. You can work with a probate real estate agent or handle the sale independently.

Market the Property

Implement a marketing strategy to attract potential buyers. Utilize both traditional and digital channels to reach a wider audience.

Negotiate and Accept an Offer

When a prospective buyer presents an offer, negotiate the terms and conditions. Once you agree on the price and other details, accept the offer.

Obtain Court Confirmation

After accepting an offer, seek court confirmation of the sale. The court will review the terms and ensure they are fair and in all parties’ best interests.

Complete the Sale

With court confirmation, proceed with the closing process. Consult a real estate attorney or escrow company to handle the necessary paperwork and ensure a smooth transaction.

Distribute Proceeds

Once the sale is complete, the proceeds from the sale will be distributed according to the probate laws or the deceased’s will. The beneficiaries or heirs will receive their share of the funds.

Factors to Consider When Selling a House in Probate

Before listing your property for sale during the probate process in Virginia Beach, you need to consider these important factors:

Legal Requirements: Familiarize yourself with your jurisdiction’s specific legal requirements and regulations about probate sales. Compliance with these regulations is crucial for a successful sale.

Property Condition: Assess the condition of the inherited house. Determine if any repairs or renovations are necessary to maximize its market value.

Market Conditions: Evaluate the current real estate market conditions in your area. Understanding market trends and pricing will help you set a competitive asking price.

Beneficiary Agreement: If multiple beneficiaries exist, reaching a mutual agreement regarding the sale is important. Open communication and consensus among beneficiaries can prevent conflicts and delays.

Professional Assistance: Consider seeking professional assistance from real estate agents, appraisers, attorneys, or financial advisors specializing in probate transactions. Their expertise will streamline the selling process and ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Can you market a property before obtaining a grant of probate?

PR(s) can market a property for sale before obtaining a grant of representation. An administrator has legal authority to sell the property once the grant has been issued. An executor is in a better position but must still have a grant to proceed to an exchange of contracts.

Suppose an executor decides to market a property for sale before obtaining the grant. In that case, the estate agents and potential buyers must be told everything is subject to obtaining the grant. If, for any reason, the grant is not received or is delayed, the sale may not be able to proceed, and the buyers may have to back out.

Generally, it’s recommended that the PR(s) wait until they have obtained the grant before marketing a property for sale. This minimizes the risk of complications or delays, given that the critical steps of exchange and completion cannot occur before the issue of the grant.

The estate administration process takes time and can be complex. It is important to consider this when the property is part of the estate and is to be sold.  It’s recommended that you work with a qualified probate solicitor to understand the legal requirements and obligations involved in the probate process, mainly when selling an estate house or flat.


Selling a house in Virginia Beach while in probate is indeed possible, but it requires careful planning, adherence to legal procedures, and professional guidance. By understanding the probate process, consulting with experts, and following the outlined steps, you can navigate the complexities and successfully sell an inherited house. Remember to prioritize compliance, communication, and transparency throughout the process to ensure a smooth and fair transaction.

HR Property Doctor simplifies home selling, providing a ready market for your property. We learn about your needs and make a quick offer without you making any commitments. There are no hidden fees or surprises. Once ready, we can close the sale in as little as seven days. We purchase with cash in Virginia Beach, so there is no need to worry about financing contingencies. 

Paul Johnson

Paul is a reputable local house-buying professional, also a real estate agent (Virginia). Count on his nearly fifteen (15) years of expertise in being part of resolving any issues that may threaten transactions, being accessible, and answering questions, as well as remaining transparent throughout closing transactions. One of Paul's Favorite Quotes: "To Give Anything Less Than Your Best Is To Sacrifice the Gift."

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