I want to buy a home from an estate sale. How will this affect the purchase?

The seller is the executor of the estate, and she’s still waiting for a grant of probate.



Vancouver, BC

Buying a home from an estate sale presents a few key issues. 

One is that title to the property cannot be transferred into your name until the estate has been probated. For that reason, you’ll want to add conditions to your offer (called subject clauses) that address this. For example, your offer might be subject to the seller receiving:

  • a grant of probate by a specific date, and

  • the assurance of anyone who’s entitled to make a claim against the estate that they’ve waived or released their claim against the property.

Making your offer subject to a home inspection is a smart move, too. Since the homeowner isn’t around to tell you about the condition of the home, getting a professional to look it over can identify potential issues. 

You may also want a written appraisal of the home, to ensure the executor is selling at a reasonable price. This may prevent beneficiaries from challenging the sale on the basis that the executor didn’t ask enough for the property.

You should also be aware of the lengthy timelines involved. It could be several months before probate is granted and you can take possession of the home. If you’re looking for a quick turnaround, an estate sale may not be the right option. 

As always, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a real estate agent and a lawyer or notary public to make sure you’ve covered all your bases. For more on this, see this step-by-step guide on buying a home.

Nicco Bautista

Nicco Bautista

BMO Wealth Management
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in July 2021

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