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When someone dies without a will, their house is sold by the state in a process governed by the Probate Code through what is called a probate sale. Usually, an estate representative is appointed by the court, who in turn engages the help of a real estate agent. An appraiser helps to set the listing price of the home. Once a buyer makes an offer, a court appointment is set where bidding takes place. The highest bid wins, and the winner must give a cashier’s check for at least 10% of the sale price. The homes in probate sell for much lower than the market value but also come along with a lot of disadvantages. For one, the buyer gets the home as-is and has no idea about the hidden cost of repairs. Also, the process is really long, and can sometimes take up to a year, after winning the bid, before they obtain possession of the property.
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