7 Things You Need to Know to Sell a Probate Property in Chicago

Inheriting a home can be a mixed bag of emotions. While it might symbolize a sentimental piece of your family’s history, maintaining it can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you have no plans of using it. If you find yourself grappling with such a situation in the Windy City, selling the property could be a viable option. This article will guide you through the crucial steps and things you need to know to sell a probate property in Chicago.

What is Probate Property?

Before diving into the nitty-gritty, let’s clarify what probate property is. Probate is a legal process that occurs after a person’s death to distribute their assets, including real estate, in accordance with their will or state law. Probate property is real estate that is part of an estate undergoing this legal process.

Key Steps to Sell a Probate Property in Chicago

Here are the seven bullets you’ll want to pay close attention to:

  1. Consult Legal Counsel: Navigating probate laws is complex and varies from state to state. It’s crucial to consult an attorney who specializes in estate or probate law.
  2. Appraise the Property: This involves determining the fair market value of the home. Choose a certified appraiser to get the most accurate valuation.
  3. Inventory Assets: Make a list of all personal property, from furniture to jewelry. This inventory will be crucial during the probate process.
  4. Pay Off Debts: Before selling the property, ensure that all debts and taxes associated with it are cleared.
  5. Obtain Court Approval: Before listing the property for sale, you need court approval. This process may vary depending on whether the decedent had a will or not.
  6. Choose the Right Selling Strategy: Auction? Traditional sale? Cash sale? Decide the best strategy for your needs.
  7. Close the Sale: After the property is sold, proceeds are usually distributed among the heirs after paying off any outstanding debts or taxes.

Consult Legal Counsel

The maze of probate laws can be baffling. It’s always smart to consult a lawyer who specializes in estate or probate law. This ensures you’re complying with local and state laws and can help you avoid costly mistakes. Keep in mind, Illinois probate laws might differ from those in other states.

Appraise the Property

Your next step is to find out how much the property is worth. Hire a certified appraiser who specializes in the type of property you’re selling. The fair market value will give you a reasonable starting point for negotiations with potential buyers.

Inventory Assets

Don’t underestimate the importance of cataloging every item in the property. This not only assists in clearing the home later but can also affect the total value of the estate. Who knows, there might be hidden treasures you’re unaware of!

Pay Off Debts

It’s crucial to settle any outstanding debts or taxes associated with the property. If debts are not settled, the sale proceeds may be used to cover these, which could potentially reduce the money inherited by the heirs.

Obtain Court Approval

Even if the decedent had a well-detailed will, you’ll still need court approval to sell a probate property in Chicago. This generally involves submitting a petition for probate, unless a simplified procedure is available for smaller estates.

Choose the Right Selling Strategy

Once all the legal hoops are jumped through, the next big question is how to sell the property. While traditional selling methods can work, they may also be time-consuming and stressful. A quicker alternative would be selling the property for cash to a reliable buyer.

Close the Sale

Finally, when a buyer is found and all parties agree on a price, the sale can be closed. Note that proceeds from the sale are used to pay off any remaining debts or taxes first. What remains is then distributed among the heirs.


Selling a probate property in Chicago doesn’t have to be a stressful ordeal. With the right guidance and steps, you can efficiently navigate the complexities of probate laws and potentially turn an otherwise burdensome property into a valuable asset for you and your family. Remember, when in doubt, professional advice is worth its weight in gold—or in this case, property.

Don’t hesitate to consult professionals at each stage of the process, be it legal advice, property appraisal, or selling strategy. Your future self will thank you for the due diligence you do today.


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