Selling an inherited house with or without a will can be a long, expensive process – especially if the property is empty while the will is being settled or the legal processes are being completed. Even simple wills can takes 9 – 12 months to settle. More complicated wills with money to collect from investments, savings and pensions or wills with money to pay in inheritance tax or debt can take considerably longer to be read.
Whether a person has written a will or not; before a beneficiary can sell an inherited property, they or an executor acting on their behalf must obtain legal confirmation of their authority to sell the property or transfer ownership of the inherited property. If a will has been written, the authority is called a Grant of Probate. If the deceased did not leave a will, the authority is called a Grant of Letters of Administration. Both documents grant the beneficiaries or executors legal authority to close bank accounts, sell shares and investments and sell or transfer property.
Even a straightforward estate with named beneficiaries and no legal challenges or debts to pay from the estate with the application submitted by a solicitor, can take two to three months to obtain authority to sell an inherited property while various legal and taxation checks are made. It can take even longer if the application is made by the beneficiary rather than through a solicitor, if inheritance tax is due or there are any other complications affecting the inheritance.
An inherited property cannot be sold until the authority has been granted or the property has been transferred to the name(s) of the person or people who intend to sell the property.
Keeping an empty inherited property secure (paying for empty property insurance, the cost of regular visits to the property as required by most empty property insurances) while paying liabilities (council tax, mortgage repayments etc) and keeping basic amenities such as electricity and water connected (to prevent weather related damage and to conduct viewings in an uncompromising environment) while ownership is transferred to beneficiaries then while a sale is found, agreed and completed can be expensive, time consuming and emotionally draining process that can easily take 12 – 18 months to complete.
We list properties as soon as an application for the ‘Grant Of Probate’ or ‘Grant Of Letters Of Administration’ has been made so that all the processes involved in selling a house (estate agents finding a buyer; sellers agreeing a sale; sellers’ solicitors creating a contract; buyers arranging financing and surveys; buyer’s solicitors performing searches and collecting legal documents; sellers emptying a property etc) can be undertaken while the application is being considered so that contracts can be exchanged as soon as the legalities are completed and authority is granted.
Our auction process is an ideal solution to settle disputes between beneficiaries about property value and we can also advance some cash from the sale (particularly useful for people who may have inherited property with outstanding finance owed against the property and want to settle the debt from the equity in the property to avoid interest payments) as soon as a sale is agreed and a deposit taken from a buyer to sellers using our 28 Day Fixed Option sale.
All auction listings are protected by a reserve set by buyers and by our ‘no sale, nothing to pay’ policy. For more information about how we will work with your executor or solicitor to save you money by selling your inherited property faster, use our call back form or phone us on 0800 612 8659 any time of day or night, any day of the year. We will phone you back ASAP in office hours (please state a preferred time to call you back between 8:30am – 7pm, if required).
What’s the difference selling an inherited house to selling other houses?
As well as the emotional distress of clearing a property ready for its new owners, the legal processes can be more complicated (especially if there is an outstanding finance or other secured loan against the property OR if the value of the property is to be shared between siblings or other family members).
There can be long delays before you are able to sell the property if you wait for a will to be read before selling the house. All the time the property is empty, any mortgage repayments or other repayments on a loan secured against the property plus any other continuing expense will need to be paid by the beneficiaries or deducted from the estate.
How Can National Residential Help Sell Inherited Property Faster?
We will sell your house during probabte and our panel solicitors will accelerate probate to make sure it is resolved before the conveyancing completes.
We will liaise with solicitors, the executor and creditors to ensure all legal steps and securities are in place so that the property can be sold before the will is read to prevent the property being empty for a long term (which can easily exceed 12 months when it takes 9 – 12 months for a will to be settled* plus 90 days for a sale* and 77 days for conveyancing*).
We can also prepare the property for sale as part of our fixed sale options (clear, clean, repair and decorate as required) or sort out problems to ensure the property reaches its best price (e.g. extend leaseholds or negotiate with occupants/tenants to vacate the property) or provide a cash advance based on the equity in the property.
* National averages, June 2019
Is it Something Our Solicitor Can Do?
Your own solicitor may be able to apply for Grant of Probate and to process the other legal aspects that we take care of though they are likely to be far more expensive than using our panel solicitors.
However, most estate agents will not advertise a property for sale until the probate is resolved so the processes would still run consequtively rather than concurrently AND the sale and completion is likely to take longer using a traditional estate agent rather than our fast track options.
By using separate professionals to get the same job done, you are likely to pay more in fees AND more running an empty property for longer.
Running costs include utility bills (to prevent supply being cut off), insurances – e.g. empty property insurance, council tax, maintenance costs (a neglected garden can attract unwanted attention), and interest on any secured debt against the property.
We provide a single point of contact throughout a complicated process so that the experience is as transparent and stress free as possible for our clients during what is often an emotional and difficult time in their lives.
Phone us on 0800 612 8659 to discuss ways that we can help you avoid a repossession order or send us your details using our contact form 24/7 and we will phone you back ASAP in office hours (or at a time to suit you).