Probate property can often to be a sensitive issue for a whole manner of reasons. If you have been left a property in someone’s will, this is likely to be a hard time for you and most people wish to sell the house as quickly as possible to prevent emotional distress and high maintenance costs.
Unfortunately, selling probate property is more complicated than a regular sale. The sale will ultimately depend on the property itself but now, it is reported that one in ten houses on the market are probate sales with many buyers interested in them due to their lower prices and the opportunity to renovate.
What to do
You must firstly remember that you cannot sell before probate is granted, you must wait for the grant to be completed, unless your name is on the deed.
A simple check on the title deeds will usually identify what documents or additional measures are needed for your solicitor to work out the value of the property so you can go ahead and apply for Grant of Probate.
Such documents tend to include the original will, death certificate, the national insurance number of the deceased, some type of identification, utility bills, details of any outstanding debts, bank statements, Building Society statements, mortgage information, details of any shares and pensions and funereal expenses.
Be sure to remember that you do not have to use the same solicitor for the sale of the property as you did for the Grant of Probate.
The Grant of Probate takes around an average of eight weeks, non-taxable estates take a little less at around six whilst taxable estates can take as long as 12 weeks and if it’s an urgent situation, it takes as little as a fortnight.
Many estate agents will put your house on the market whilst probate is being granted but if you do receive an offer before you have probate, then you must wait.
In terms of cost, the legal costs of selling a Probate property are usually the same as it would be for the sale of a standard property.
Admittedly, estate agents’ fees tend to vary considerable between 1-2.5% (internet agents offer lower rates) on average. This usually depends on the type of agency agreement as well as the area in which you are selling and if you sell privately, then this fee will not be incurred.
You must also be wary of other costs, if you aren’t up to clearing the house yourself before you sell it, then you must cover the cost.
In addition to this, if the house is left unoccupied for more than 30-days, you will need to pay something which is known as “vacant property insurance”, as well as accounting for maintenance costs as the house will need to be heated regularly to avoid issues such as damp.
You also may wish to consider renovation costs as probate properties often belong to someone who had lived there for a considerable amount of time without making any changes so the house may be need of restore.
You can choose to do this yourself, or sometimes, buyers will prefer this so they can make the home their own.
When you’ve sold the property, if it goes for a considerable amount more than the probate valuation in your tax return then you may have to produce evidence as to why, though if you had three or more independent valuations or made improvements to the property, it is unlikely you will have to pay any extra tax.
If the property sold within four years of the date of death for a great deal less than its valuation, you are able apply for a tax rebate.