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What happens if the seller dies before you close?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2022 | Real Estate |

When you are buying a home and getting close to your closing date, the whole process feels so worth it. You get excited about finally owning this home you love.

But what happens if the seller dies before you reach the closing date? According to Edina Realty, it depends on the seller’s estate.

Married seller

If the seller has a spouse who also owned the property, then you should be able to move along as planned. The spouse will have to provide a death certificate and finalize the closing documents, but it should not have much of an impact on you.

Single seller

In the event the seller does not have a spouse or other co-owner, then you are at the mercy of the probate process. You will need to wait for the legal process of transferring the house to the new owner, which is likely to be a child or other relative of the seller.

If the seller included something in his or her estate plan about the sale of the home and a situation such as you are in, it could help. You may be able to move along rather quickly with the closing. However, there is a waiting period once the personal representative takes over the estate, so that will slow things down by at least 30 days.

There is the possibility that the seller’s heirs will inherit the home and not want to sell it to you. If this happens, your contract is still valid, but they could try to fight it in court, which may produce long delays.

In almost any situation where the seller dies before closing, you should expect some delays. The probate process is not always fast and can have bumps along the way. You will probably have to push back your closing date, so plan for that to happen.


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