Selling the house of a relative you have just lost can be a very emotional process. It’s something that many of us have to go through at some point in our lives and yet nothing quite prepares you for it.
In the case of a parent it might be a childhood home or a newer acquisition that is full of their possessions, but either way it can seem like a daunting task especially for those who are grieving the loss of someone important in their lives.A traditional estate agent however will have plenty of experience to help guide you and make it less of an ordeal.
If you’re not too sure which solicitor to choose they are likely to have someone they recommend that specialises in probate sales. They will then connect with whoever you choose helping to drive things forward on your behalf when appropriate.
The executor of the will, or in the case of no will the next of kin, must send off for a Grant of Representation, sometimes known as a Probate Grant. (More information on this can be found at gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance)
Did you know…You can advertise the property straight away as long as any potential buyers are made aware that an exchange cannot take place until a Grant of Representation is completed. Many people get the grant first however because it can take some time. Even in a straight forward estate it can take two or three months to obtain.
As part of the application process, the executor must complete an Inheritance Tax form detailing all the deceased’s assets and liabilities and this will include a valuation for the property. You should get 2-3 valuations as with any house sale and take the average price given. The price you write on your form can affect what tax you pay on sale completion so it’s important to get good advice on this.
The executors should also, at this stage, check the title to the property. If the property is registered with the Land Registry, this should be a relatively straightforward matter of downloading a copy of the title entries and plan, checking that the property is in the deceased’s name, and that the plan shows the full extent of the property.
Then property must be cleared of all possessions before completion, but a good agent will advise you to at least declutter it and remove personal items. The kitchen and bathroom surfaces should be completely cleared and photos stored away. Key pieces of furniture can be left in place to give viewers an idea of where they would place their own furniture.
At Weekes we deal with many probate sales and have a helpful list of house clearance companies, details of local auctions and knowledge of which charities can do partial or full clearances or just take the odd piece of furniture away.
Tony from Weekes Estate Agents says, ‘a sympathetic and experienced agent will be able to lead you through the whole process. They will take the emotional strain out of marketing the property and can negotiate on your behalf with a clear head, getting you the best price. Look for an independent agency where you will be dealt with consistently by one or two team members who can give you the time you need.’