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Probate Sale With Court Confirmation: How It Works in Michigan

old house going probate sale with confirmation

A probate property sale with court confirmation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. This type of sale can be lengthy and filled with uncertainties that only investors are ready to take. That said, here’s what a probate sale with court confirmation is all about.

What Is A Probate Sale?

A probate sale simply means selling a decedent’s property to settle creditors and heirs. It could be any possession from homes, vehicles, to jewelries. But we’d stick to property sales in this article.

Learn More: Everything You Need to Know About Probate in Michigan. Ordinarily, a probate court supervises the whole process while the appointed representative handles selling the property. The court settles creditors from the proceeds while ensuring the deceased’s heir(s) get their own fair share. Selling a probate property begins as soon the court appoint an estate representative — the handler.

An independent appraiser values the home, allowing the court to set a competitive price. According to ListWithClever, probate properties can sell for as low as 40% off fair market value of regular houses. After the appraisal, the personal representative or probate attorney appoints a real estate agent to handle listing and selling the house. Once that’s done and an offer is accepted, the court commences the sale with confirmation. It gives all interested parties a chance to bid one last time before confirming the first offer on the property. We’ll get into the details next.

The Workings Of A Probate Sale With Confirmation

It Starts With An Intestacy

When a person dies intestate — without writing a will — their estate enters into probate. Here, a probate court distributes the property to rightful heirs, even if they were estranged at the time of death. A personal representative or attorney is then appointed to control the sale and identifying heirs. The deceased’s closest relative or a friend is usually appointed to this role  in an intestacy. However, if the deceased left a will, they’ll name who they trust as the will’s executor or their personal representative.

Anyhow, once the court verifies the personal representative’s eligibility, selling the house in probate can begin. The aim of a probate sale by confirmation is to get the best price to clear debts and share proceeds with heirs.

Continues With An Agent Appointment

The probate sale enters fulls drive when a real estate agent lists the home on the multiple listing services (MLS). He his appointed by the estate estate administrator to also handle showings to clients. Offers still have to go to the estate administrator or attorney — so they (agents) don’t handle negotiation in a probate sale. In case you’re appointed as an estate’s administrator, don’t panic about the workload. A personal representative mostly assumes a managerial position — hiring and supervising professionals like an estate agent or tax assessor.

“A judge oversees probate, but you’re responsible for doing the footwork.” – Chron

Once you accept an offer, it doesn’t end there — it’s actually just the beginning of a sale by confirmation. First, you must file an application for a grant of probate to sell the house. And it’s here the time-wasting begins, taking anywhere from 6 weeks to 9 months to complete. It involves the probate court settling any disputes among the heirs, co-executor, or a person challenging the will. And then you must locate and inform all the deceased’s creditors and heirs about the sale.


Probate properties are so cheap because they sell as-is. In other words, the deceased’s property is listed on the local market in the same condition  — without any repairs or contingencies. However, unlike selling as is, sellers don’t have to disclose the house’s underlying issues. Essentially, there’s no effort to market a probate sale house. But, on the bright side, it’s the reason you can buy probate sale houses at prices far below fair market value.

And a caveat is that you’ll lose your deposit — more on that soon — even if you back out after discovering considerable damage to the house. It’s better to lose a deposit than pay hundreds of thousands of dollars if you discover structural defects after closing the deal. Also, a gentle reminder, the court sets the listing price — not the representative or real estate agent. However, a neutral appraisal is carried in conjunction with the agent, estate’s representative, and an independent home appraiser.

Receiving Offers


As soon as the house hits the market, anybody can send an offer. However, buyers must also submit a 10% non-refundable (if accepted) check deposit of their offers. This deposit isn’t the down payment, but it will add up to the final home sale value. And a caveat is that you’ll lose your deposit even if you find damage to the house after an inspection. It’s better to lose a deposit than pay hundreds of thousands of dollars if you discover structural defects after closing the deal.

Also, in a probate sale, you can’t request contingencies of any kind. Nonetheless, you can and should do a home inspection. A probate house could’ve been abandoned for years, with issues that may cost you more than the value of the house. That said, the estate’s representative accepts the best or highest offer and waits for the sale confirmation by the court.

The Waiting Game

Reiterating my earlier statement, a probate sale with court confirmation officially begins after accepting the first offer from the listing. The next step of action is for the judge to choose a court hearing date for the sales confirmation or trial. Once a court date is set, all interested parties can come in to bid again. N.B: The representative or executor can continue accepting offers on the house for 30-45 days until the court hearing.

Let the Bidding Begin

The property will now be open to bids during the court hearing in an auction-style bidding war. In Michigan, law requires bidders to exceed an accepted bid by  and pay $500 or $1000 extra. In the absence of bids from interested parties, the judge confirms the sale. But that’s not all…

If someone outbids you and then you make a higher counteroffer, you’ll pay a cashier’s check of 10% for that new offer. Because of this, it’s wise to go into the auction with a clear mind of the maximum amount you want to bid. Smart investors go to the auction with a 10% cashier’s check of the maximum amount they intend to bid.

Ways to Sell A House By Probate Sale With Court Confirmation

Sell By Yourself

Earlier, I mentioned the executor hiring a real estate agent to sell the probate house. However,  if you feel you can carry out the footwork yourself, it’s completely legal.

Learn More: How To Sell My House By Myself In Michigan.

Find A Seasoned Real Estate Agent

If you want to successfully buy or sell probate house, you’ll need a top local agent who’s also experienced with probate sales. A good real estate agent will not only have the location of houses on probate. But also they know the defects of anyone in the local area. What they won’t promise is closing the deal on the house fast. And this advice goes to even investors and house-flippers.

Sell Fast for Cash

If you’re looking to sell your house for cash in Michigan, Cash for Michigan Houses will take it off your hands in no time. Actually, we’ll get it off in under a week. All you have to do is make a request, and we’d prepare the valuation. We’ll send a cash offer for your house, usually under 24 hours with no, hassle, fees, or obligations. Once you accept the offer, we’ll get right away with the deal and get your cash in your hand.


Buying a house on probate sale with confirmation could get you as much as a forty percent slash off fair market price. Although winning buyers pay a 10 percent deposit in addition to their down payment, its time factor is what makes it so tricky. It could take several months to years to finalize buying a house through probate sale with court confirmation. If there are no bids, it could be as fast as 30-45 days, but this is an exception. However, you need to be watchful of buying a bad property to save money or make wasted times worthwhile. Sometimes, it pays to lose your cash deposit in a probate sale rather than buy a rundown house.

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