How Do I Sell My Inherited Property?

What is the first step to selling my inherited property?

First, establish your relationship to the property. Many people don’t know this, but even if you were mentioned in a will as someone who will inherit the property, you are still required to apply for a probate before you can legally sell the house.

Conversely, if you are a key beneficiary- someone given a share of the estate by the direct inheritor, then the process is a lot easier.

What is a probate sale of property?

Before we proceed, it is important to know what a probate is. A probate is the process of acquiring the right to deal with someone’s estate. This includes their property, or vehicle or funds. Do you need one to sell an inherited property? Well, the answer can be tricky.

If you were mentioned in the will as someone authorised to handle the estate– say an executor, you can apply for a probate grant from the probate registry. This confirms your right as the executor to handle the deceased’s estate. You can access their bank account and divide the assets as listed in the will to the beneficiaries.

If there was no will, you (or any member of the family) can file an application to the probate registry. But in this case, it would be known as a ‘grant of letters of administration’.

A probate is not necessary if:

  • You are already a joint owner of the property
  • You have a joint building society (or bank) account
  • The amount of money left in the account is extremely insignificant

What if I am a beneficiary?

If you are a beneficiary, you won’t need to pay inheritance tax on the deceased’s estate. However, you won’t receive any inheritance until all the deceased’s debts have been paid off.

If the total estate value is more than £325,000 (IHT threshold), 40% of the excess will be paid to the taxman. So, before you can get the property, all such payments must be completed.

What if I am selling to pay inheritance tax?

In a situation where the deceased’s inheritance tax needs to be paid by selling the property, the executor can apply for a probate. The house can be put up on the market before the probate is approved, but there can be no final sale until the process is finalised.

On the other hand, if you would prefer to keep the house but are concerned about tax payments, you can decide to pay in instalments. Once a year, over a period of 10 years.

How to go about selling the inherited property

After completing all the legal mumbo jumbo (of course, with a reliable solicitor), and you have total access to the property, the next step is to sell.

You can sell through a trusted real estate company or via a quick cash sale. Why quick cash?

The issue of repairs

If the house is in a deteriorative condition, it is most likely you will need to carry out repairs before a real estate company can put it on the market. This usually costs a lot more, so most people opt for a quick cash sale instead.

If the property is far from your home, monitoring the whole renovation process can also be a hassle. The idea of quick self-sale can also mean homeowners get to sell the property on their own terms.

How do you work with a real estate company?

If the inherited property is in relatively good condition and you are prepared to place it on the market via a listings site or real estate agency, then you can contact one.

If you need to brush up or renovate the home, you can do so to improve its appearance. Be careful of overdoing the refurbishing or you end up wasting money on projects that don’t add value to the property. A simple clean up and retouching with paint should suffice.

The real estate company will do a re-valuation on the property to ascertain its current market value before putting it on the market. Due to changing economic conditions, adding a mark-up may be necessary. However, if the competition is stiff in the neighbourhood, you could leave the price at the exact value.

Why go through a real estate company?

Access to buyers

Established real estate companies have a database of ready buyers to take your property off the market. You may eventually sell faster through their networks.

Work with an experienced team

Inherited properties come with a lot of baggage and it may take long to complete it on your own. Real estate companies have been tackling such issues for decades. They have solicitors with experience and contacts to make all the legal aspects seem like a walk in the park.

Knowledge of the market

One of the common mistakes of quick cash sales is overpricing or under-pricing the property. If the property is over-priced, you risk not being able to sell it and if it is under-priced, you lose potential profit. Working with professionals helps you tread this delicate balance carefully so you can make a quick sale and also earn what is rightfully yours.

How do I protect my vacant property?

As the house is empty, it is exposed to issues such as squatters or vandals. While you can have security personnel check in from time to time, it is advisable to buy an empty house insurance. This way, the house is protected in the event of damage by intruders.

Do you have an inherited property to sell? Let us take the hassle away from you.

Contact us via 0800 020 9561

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Published on 1st June 2017

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