Home Buying in 01610>Question Details

Dan, Home Buyer in Worcester, MA

What exactly is a license to sell and how long will it take the sellers to get one? Would there be reason?

Asked by Dan, Worcester, MA Mon Apr 6, 2009

that they couldn't get one?

I have an accepted offer on an estate sale and we were close to signing the P&S when the sellers atty said they may need to get a license to sell. I understand this is something to do with the will and how clear it was written. My question / concern is if the P&S is contingent upon them getting this license, what are the odds that they wouldn't be able to get one? How long does this take? We don't want to be stuck waiting for months for their court date to find out that they couldn't get it... Is this typical? Is this something to be concerned with?


Help the community by answering this question:


First, I would have asked this question before signing a P&S. Most likely it will close, sometimes there are slight delays. There can be some complicated issues involved. When involved in a purchase of real estate, I highly recommend hiring an attorney to represent your legal interest.

A license to sell is where permission needs to be received from the courts to sell a piece of property. There are two common situations where this will arise. The first, is when a property is in probate and the administrator/ executor feels it is in the best interest of the estate to sell the property. The second is when a guardian has been appointed to act on the behalf of someone who is incapacitated. Again the courts need to approve the sale.

In both cases, it needs to be shown that the sale is in the best interest of the parties involved.
Web Reference: http://www.thehousewiz.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
Hi Dan:

There's a lot of variables; I would keep digging.

A) Are all the estate heirs/trustees alive? You don't want to have multiple probate issues.
B) Are all the estate heirs/trustees in state? Keeps you from having to go through multiple states.
C) When was the last time the house passed title to a non-family member? If it's over 60 years, that could get complicated.

Those are your early warning detectors.

Web Reference: http://14wolfpenlane.info
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
Hi Dan-

You should ask your agent what the issue is with the estate. I'm sure that they have lots of experience with estate sales and can give you an indication if this is routine (3-6 weeks) or not (12 months).

Good Luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
See, we can add value to a transaction......
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 7, 2009
Thanks guys - I appreciate your input.

I just found out from our atty that they do indeed need to acquire the license. We are bumping out our closing dates to the end of May in the P&S. Thanks for you help, it makes sense now. Keep up the good work! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 7, 2009
Dan- In most cases, it usually takes 30-60 days to receive the license to sell. Be prepared for some slight delays. If you are renting don't give up your apartment, have a plan B in case there is a delay.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 7, 2009
Thanks Matt - that makes sense, however, this isn't really my place to do the digging, is it? I'm the buyer... Am I correct to say that this will end up being a contingency in the P&S that says the sale is contingent upon the seller obtaining the license? I imagine I could counter them and ensure a time frame is put in there (I'll ask our atty, but this seems to me like a good idea)?

From what I've found in our research, the owners have been there since about 1973 when they bought it (for $19,000 - the good ol' days eh?). I am under the impression it was left the owners daughter in a will, but maybe with not enough wording saying they can sell. I think it was just left to one woman (the daughter). They live in Worcester as well. So, it seems pretty cut and dry according to what you've mentioned and others. I think we'll be ok - I'd just hate to do all this to find out they can't get the license... We'll see though. I'll let you all know how it works out in the end.

Thanks again - I appreciate it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
I'm not sure how/ if I can edit my own question, so, I'll respond in an answer :)

Thank you both - I have asked my agent/ atty for some more information. Kevin, we have not yet signed our P&S which is why I ask. I want to be sure we won't be stuck sitting on this for months waiting for the seller...

My agent has talked to the seller's agent who says this can be done within a month - we'll be able to close by the end of may. Sounds ok to me so far. It seems pretty straight-forward. The executrix was left the property when the owner apparently went to live elsewhere. Within the last few months, the owner passed away.

Anyway, thank you all. It makes more sense now.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
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