How to Sell a Probate Property

Mon 17 Oct 2016 by Ellie Pierpoint

Written by Ellie Pierpoint

If you’ve been left a property in someone’s will, this can be a difficult time. Most people will want to sell the house quickly for emotional reasons or to prevent high maintenance costs, but selling a house in Probate is a little more complicated than a regular sale. Here we’ve outlined everything you need to know about selling a Probate property…

What is Probate?

Watch this short video from which.co.uk to get a quick overview of what Probate actually is.

Do Probate properties sell well?

It all depends on the property itself but demand is increasing and according to a recent survey, around one in ten of the houses coming onto the market now are Probate sales.

Many buyers are interesting in buying a Probate property due to their slightly lower prices and opportunities for renovation.

Can I sell before Probate is granted?

The short answer is technically no. Unless your name is already on the deed (if you are the spouse of the deceased for example), then you will have to wait for the Grant of Probate to be completed.

Luckily this usually only takes around 8 weeks and many people will put the house on the market during this time, but be aware that if someone makes an offer, you’ll have to delay completion until you’ve received the Grant of Probate.

How long does it take to get the Grant of Probate?

Circumstances Time Taken
Non-taxable estate (no Inheritance Tax due) Around 6 weeks
Taxable estate (Inheritance Tax is due) Around 12 weeks
Urgent situations (e.g. for court cases) As little as 2 weeks

What documents will I need for Probate?

There are some documents that you will need to give your solicitor for working out the value of the estate in order to apply for Grant of Probate. These may be found in the deceased’s files, or you or your solicitor will have to request them from the various organisations. These include:

• Original will
• Death certificate
• NI number of deceased
• ID (passport/driving license)
• Utility bills and details of outstanding debts
• Bank statements/accounts
• Building Society statements/accounts
• Credit card statements
• Property deeds
• Mortgage information
• Details of any shares and savings
• Details of any pensions received/due
• Funeral expenses

Do I need to use the same solicitor for Probate and sale of the property?

You are under no obligation to continue using the same solicitor for the sale of your property as you did for Probate. A good website to visit is Best Value Probate, where you can read more about the Probate process, find a Probate solicitor, and then come to us for conveyancing work when you’re ready to sell.

Does it cost more to sell a Probate property?

The legal costs of selling a Probate property should be the same as for selling a standard property.

What extra costs should I be aware of?

If you’re not doing it yourself, you’ll have to pay to have the house cleared before selling, and if it’s left unoccupied for more than 30 days, you will need to pay for “vacant property insurance”. You’ll also need to factor in maintenance costs, particularly in winter when the house will need to be heated regularly to avoid damp.

Another cost to think about is valuations. In order to get the inheritance tax correct on your property, you’ll want to commission a minimum of three independent valuations.

Should I renovate the property?

Probate properties usually belonged to people who have lived there for a while without making changes and so are often in various states of disrepair.

Some people choose to renovate the property and this is entirely up to you but unless the house needs serious work, it would make more sense financially to put it on the market as it is at a reduced price, as the cost of maintenance and renovation might exceed the extra money gained from the repairs.

What if the sale price is different to the Probate valuation?

If your property sells for a great deal more than the Probate valuation in your tax return, you might have to provide evidence of why this has happened. If you have at least three independent valuations or have made improvements to the property, you shouldn’t have to pay any extra tax.

If the property sold within 4 years of the date of death for much less than it was valued, then you can apply for a tax rebate.

To find out more about selling a Probate property, call our experienced team on 0800 038 6699.

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