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I’ve inherited a property; what do I need to know about selling it

 21st August 2019

If someone has left you a property in their will, you can’t take it on or sell it until probate has been granted. This is the legal process of giving someone permission to deal with the deceased person’s estate and it can take some time to go through the court and complete the probate process.

Recent changes to the probate system are causing quite a few problems in England and Wales, not just due to increased costs, but also because the new system itself is experiencing issues, resulting in delays to granting probate of up to a couple of months.

Source: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/it-glitches-causing-major-grant-of-probate-delays/5070133.article

So, if you are buying or trying to sell a property that is involved in probate, be aware it may take longer than you had planned.

Open Property Group have added our advice when selling a probate property here.

The whole business of selling – which is already stressful if you have lost a loved one - can be made more difficult if you don’t live near the property and the local market is not familiar to you. So it’s worth considering whether you have the time to put into making sure the property is valued correctly, sold by a good local agent and an excellent legal company is on hand to make sure the transaction goes smoothly.

Do I have to wait until probate has been granted before I sell?

This depends how the property is owned.

Essentially, unless ownership was set up so that the deceased’s share legally passed to you on their death, or the property is already registered in the beneficiaries name, you will have to wait for probate to be granted before you can sell the property.

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Should I do up an inherited property before I sell it?

We find that many of the inherited properties we look at need a lot of work doing, as some haven’t been touched for 40 years or more. Whether you should spend time and money updating it before you sell depends on your objectives and who you intend to sell to.

If you are selling to a professional buyer, such as Open Property Group, renovating the property is unlikely to make much of a difference financially and will simply delay the process.

If you want to put the property on the open market, you should understand there are typically three types of buyers:

The best way to work out what to do is to talk to reputable local agents about current demand from buyers and ask a surveyor for a market valuation before and after the property is renovated, as opposed to a full survey. It may be worth asking their opinion on how long the works might take too.

How can a professional property buyer help?

There is nothing to stop you marketing a property prior to probate being granted, but you will have to make the agent and any potential buyer aware that this may take some time and you can only sell when probate has been granted.

Alternatively, you can agree a firm sale to us within days. This will enable you to release your inheritance and move on much more quickly than might be possible relying on a conventional buyer.

If you need any advice on selling an inherited property or are currently going through the probate process and would like to know how soon you could release the property’s value, please contact us today.

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