Selling a deceased estate in the Northern Districts

Selling a deceased estate is different from selling your own property. If it is the home of someone close to you, such as a parent, it’s inevitably going to be an emotional process. Depending on the state the home was left in, there may also be a lot of work involved in preparing it for sale.

Applying for probate

Before the executor (who is named in the will) can put a deceased estate on the market, they need to apply for probate from the Supreme Court. This is essentially a court order. It states that the will is valid and the executor has the right to distribute the deceased person’s assets in accordance with their wishes.

The executor needs to do this within six months of the date of death. If this isn’t possible, they need to have a reasonable explanation for a delay. The court usually grants probate within a few weeks or months. At this point, the executor can put the home on the market.

Meanwhile, the executor can talk to real estate agents, get appraisals, and prepare the home for sale.

Preparing a deceased estate for sale

There is no ‘right way’ to prepare a deceased estate for sale – it’s a personal decision. In most cases, there is some work involved. This includes sorting through belongings and carrying out repairs, as well as making the home look appealing to buyers.

Sometimes sellers are under time pressure. This may be because they don’t live locally and need to take time off work to manage the sale. In this case, it can make sense to outsource the preparation work. Specialised house-clearing companies will remove unwanted belongings and ready the house for market very quickly. A local estate agent will have the contacts to help with this.

Alternatively, sellers may wish to take their time, sifting carefully through each room, selling items and distributing others to relatives and charities. As long as probate has been applied for, there is no limit on when a deceased estate must be sold. This is up to the executor. Ideally, though, the house shouldn’t be left empty for too long.

What is the best way to sell a deceased estate?

Generally, estate agents will recommend holding an auction when selling a deceased estate. The market sets the price with an auction, thus reducing the possibility of arguments among relatives about the home’s value.

Another benefit is that all beneficiaries can attend an auction, meaning it’s a completely transparent sales process. If the home sells under the hammer, it’s an unconditional sale. This gives everyone involved some closure and a fast settlement.

Auctions also have the advantage of a shortened marketing period. Selling a deceased estate can be draining for relatives. For this reason, a four-week marketing campaign with a fixed end date is easier on everyone.

Buyers will know from asking the agent that it’s a deceased estate, so there’s no reason to try and conceal this fact. For this reason, deceased estates are often sold ‘as is’ without any staging.

Keeping a few pieces of furniture in each room, but removing personal items, is considered an appropriate way to present a deceased estate as it shows potential buyers that it was someone’s much loved home and is now ready for a new chapter.

Talk to me

If you are dealing with a deceased estate in in Thornleigh, Westleigh, Normanhurst, Pennant Hills and surrounds, and have any questions, please get in touch. As an experienced local agent, I take great care in always offering my clients as much help as possible throughout the sometimes stressful sales process, and to get them the best possible price.


Karen Page
Friendly, caring and attentive, Karen Page is a customer focused professional with a genuine passion for helping people transition through the different stages of their life.