It took about 80 days, but the infamous “murder house” in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood recently sold in probate court for about $2.3 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. Listing agent Nancy Sanborn of our Beverly Hills office marketed the property, which drew media attention from around the world because of the murder-suicide that occurred within its walls in 1959.
Sanborn didn’t learn until the newspaper reported it that the buyers were civil-rights attorney and TV legal analyst Lisa Bloom and her husband, Internet entrepreneur Braden Pollock. Bloom is the only daughter of high-profile civil rights attorney Gloria Allred.
The three-story view home was designed by architect Harry E. Weiner and built in 1925 for prominent businessman Harry Schumacher of Schumacher Distributing Co. Other owners included German filmmaker Frederic Zelnik and his wife, silent film star Lya Mara.
Nearly 300 people came to the single open house Sanborn’s team held at the property. Multiple private showings by appointment were only given to interested buyers accompanied by their agents. In the end, Bloom and her husband were the only parties who showed up in court to make an overbid that secured the property.
The home went into probate because the last owner–who kept the house empty for decades after the murder–did not have a will. That, according to Sanborn, is the main reason properties go into probate.
After the first interested party presents a bid to the court, a hearing date is set for 30 days out. No counteroffers can be accepted and the home is sold as-is. On the day of the hearing, bidders are invited to appear in court and, if desired, overbid until a final price is reached. For the court to accept a bid, the bidder must bring a cashier’s check for at least 10 percent of the opening bid. Personal checks are not accepted, and both the buyer and buyer’s agent must be present in court. In the case of the “murder house,” only Bloom and her husband attended the hearing, so the house went to them.
Because probate can be a long, drawn-out processes, working with a real estate professional experienced in such sales is a good idea. Sanborn and her team are considered among the top probate specialists in Southern California. To learn more about how the probate procedure unfolds, visit the video gallery on the Sanborn Team website.
A1: There are two opportunities to make your purchase: 1) you make an offer on the property and it is accepted, or 2) you appear in court to overbid the initial offer made by another buyer. In either case, you may find yourself in court bidding against one or more eager buyers.
A2: While you should always check the terms before making an offer, the terms of sale are generally: the property is sold “as-is,” no contingencies, no repairs, including no termite or retrofitting, 30-day escrow, and the seller pays for escrow fees and title insurance fees.
Learn more about buying probate on the Sanborn Team website.
A1: In most cases, the will names an Executor who is designated to handle the distribution of assets, including real property. If no Executor is named, the court appoints an Administrator to carry out those duties. The sale cannot proceed until that person has been identified.
A2: Your real estate agent is there to walk you through every step of the process and ensure that you are following all necessary steps and laws. Once the property is listed for sale, your agent will aggressively market the property to ensure the highest offer is attracted. Probate deadlines are unforgiving, documentation is specialized, and the court’s oversight must be honored, which means a probate sale expert is necessary to have in your corner.
Learn more about selling probate on the Sanborn Team website.
Learn more about Nancy Sanborn on episode two of The Agent Edge.