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Can You Sell a House Before Probate?

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When dealing with the estate of a deceased loved one, one of the most pressing questions is whether you can sell a house before probate is granted.

This article will comprehensively address this question and provide practical advice on what you can do while waiting for probate, the role of solicitors, and the pros and cons of selling via auctions and estate agents.

Table of Contents

Can You Sell a House Before Probate?

You can’t complete the sale of a property without probate, but you can agree on a sale price.  Once you have obtained probate, you can complete the sale within two weeks.  We can assist you with expediting your probate application while the legal process is underway.

One of the first steps you would need to take is to apply for a Grant of Probate.  This is a relatively straightforward probate process.  You can do it yourself and save yourself thousands in legal fees.

Probate is the legal process for dealing with the financial affairs of the deceased, including bank accounts, property and any other belongings.  Before the Executor can claim, transfer or sell any of the deceased’s assets, they will need a Grant of Probate.  If you are a family member with access to important documents such as bank statements, original deeds, original Will, life insurance policy and anything else, it could make the life of an Executor a lot easier and avoid problems later. 

This process gives an Executor legal authority to deal with estate administration and includes:

Can You Sell a Property While Waiting for Probate?

You cannot legally complete the sale of a property before probate is granted. Probate is the legal process that gives the executor or administrator the authority to manage and distribute the deceased’s estate, including selling any property.

However, you can take steps to prepare for the sale:

  1. Marketing the Property: You can market the property and even accept offers from potential buyers. It is important to disclose that the sale is subject to probate to avoid any misunderstandings.
  2. Preparing the Property: Ensure the property is in good condition to attract buyers. This might include cleaning, minor repairs, or even refurbishment if necessary.

You can agree to sell the property to a cash buyer such as Property Saviour which means as soon as probate comes through, we can complete!

Sell with certainty & speed

Real-Life Example: Dolly's Assisted Sale

To illustrate the process and benefits of selling a property before probate, let’s look at a real-life example:

 

 

Dolly’s Case Study

Dolly inherited a property that required significant repairs and updates. She was unsure how to proceed, especially given the complexities of probate. Property Saviour stepped in to assist with the sale.

We managed the refurbishment of the property, marketed it effectively, and secured a buyer quickly. This not only increased the property’s value but also alleviated the stress and financial burden on Dolly.

AspectDetails
Property ConditionRequired significant repairs and updates
ChallengesComplexities of probate, financial burden
SolutionProperty Saviour managed refurbishment and marketing
OutcomeQuick sale at a maximised value, reduced stress for Dolly

You can read Dolly’s full story here.

What Can You Do While Waiting for Probate?

While waiting for probate, there are several steps you can take to expedite the sale process once probate is granted:

  1. Check Property Registration: Ensure the property is registered with the Land Registry. If it is not, locate the physical deeds, which a solicitor or bank may hold.
  2. Valuation: Get the property valued to understand its market worth and set a realistic asking price.
  3. Choose a Selling Method: Decide whether to sell through an estate agent, auction, or a quick property buyer like Property Saviour. Each method has its pros and cons, which we will explore below.

Is Probate Quicker with a Solicitor?

Using a solicitor can often speed up the probate process.  But not always!

Solicitors are experienced in handling probate applications and can help avoid common mistakes that cause delays. They also have access to government portals that can expedite the application process. However, solicitors’ fees can add to the overall cost, so it’s essential to weigh the benefits against the expenses.

what does a Grant of Probate look like
Grant of Probate or a Letter of Administration (if there's no Will) is a key document empowering Executors to sell properties.

How long does it take to get the Grant of Probate?

We are waiting up to two months for a Grant of Probate application to be issued.  The reasons for the delay are a huge backlog of cases and some staff still working from home.

There is little interaction; you cannot chase an update and wait for your turn.

The good news is that you can agree to sell the property before probate to Property Saviour.  With our cash offer, we will be ready to buy your property once you get your Grant of Probate.  As soon as you can legally sell, the whole process can be concluded within two weeks.

The other bonus is that we will pay £1,500 towards your legal fees and a further £1,500 towards your probate bills, such as utilities and council tax.  This will be added to our offer price.

Inherited a house with a mortgage?
Executors sell inherited properties with limited title warranty. This puts off buyers. Executors don't have full intimate knowledge of property. We can help.

What are the challenges of selling a house before probate?

Selling a house before probate is granted can be a monumental task.  Let’s face it.  It is a one-off event that you need to be prepared for.  That is why we have broken down our guide into an actionable list:

Is your inherited property at risk from theft, squatters and vandalism?

The indications are an overgrown garden with peeling paintwork, an unattended probate property, and a lifetime of treasures. Someone dies, and their property becomes a target for thieves, vandals or squatters.

You will not know this, but your empty house will not be fully insured after the first 28 days of becoming empty!  You will need to buy an empty house insurance.  This could cost a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds, depending on property type and location.

There are certain conditions of probate house insurance which involve maintaining the safety and condition of the property. Follow our probate house maintenance tips to keep your inherited property safe and in good condition.  Alternatively, we can do this for you!

According to the English Housing Survey 2020-2021, property left to beneficiaries is the largest form of wealth inheritance.

Therefore, you must protect your inheritance by having full peril, empty home insurance.  It is best to speak to a specialist broker.  Be warned: empty property insurance is not cheap. It will require you to comply with several conditions, including draining down the property, regular maintenance and attending the property once a week.

Suppose your inherited property has been sitting empty for a while. In that case, you might only qualify for a restricted cover such as fire, lighting and aircraft hitting your property, meaning that theft damage will not be covered.  It is worth checking with your current insurance company.  

If you decide to sell your empty inherited house to Property Saviour, we will reimburse you in full for your insurance coverage.  Just mention it during our call, and we will add it to our offer price.

How to apply for a Grant of Probate?

You can apply for a Grant of Probate yourself by clicking on this link to the official UK government website.

pros and cons of selling a house by auction
Condition of property puts off mortgage lenders' surveyors. Above 'unloved' property that we bought without any issues within two weeks.

Dealing with final demand letters of action from utility and mortgage companies?

When you are looking to sell probate property, you will face several statutory payment demands.  These can include:

  1. Final demand letters for payment from utility providers for gas, electricity, and water
  2. Intended court action from the local council for non-payment of council tax


Councils often charge as much as 200% of the rateable council tax amount for an empty property; therefore, selling a property quickly at a fair price makes sense.  The councils are least sympathetic to this situation, and their mad bureaucracy means court proceedings being issued.

You may have to pay the bills to get rid of constant letters landing on the doormat as a last resort!

Did you know?  We can quickly exchange contracts and release funds if you need to settle probate bills.  Please call us if you are thinking of selling without all the hassle. We can be reached on 0113 320 6700.  We buy across England and Wales, all types of properties in any condition.  This is why sellers trust us.

How not to get carried away during the regular maintenance of your probate property?

Even an empty probate property requires regular maintenance. The main benefit is to deter burglars who prey on empty houses to steal copper pipes.  But how do you know you are not getting carried away during your regular maintenance and end up with a full-on house refurbishment on your hands?

Maintaining and selling an empty probate property can become tricky if you live at the other end of the country.  The good news is that we buy any inherited property regardless of its condition.  It is better to sell it as it is than wait.  Once you have your Grant of Probate, the sale can be concluded within 7 to 10 days.

Here are our suggestions for the maintenance of your empty probate property:

  1. If you live near the property or have a trustworthy, friendly neighbour who can help you with this, we strongly recommend pulling the blinds or curtains at night.  Turning on the lights and leaving a radio or television on can also give the impression of an occupied property.
  2. Ensure that the property has anti-snap locks.  If not, you need to upgrade them.  Standard locks leave the property vulnerable to thieves who can break in easily while the property is unoccupied.
  3. If you have a front or backdoor of a house made entirely of glass, or at least 50% of it is glass, consider replacing it with UPVC or a composite door. This is because this is an easy way for thieves or squatters to smash the glass and move into the property.
  4. Consider installing Ring or similar internet-enabled CCTV cameras or an alarm that alerts you in rereal-timeIf you can, leave a car on the drive or ask a friendly neighbour to park on your drive.  This will deter any potential thieves.
  5. Consider turning off gas, electricity and water on the property.
  6. Check the ceilings for signs of dampness or water ingress from the roof. We recommend checking the drains to ensure they are not blocked with leaves or debris from the roof to ensure that you do not end up with rising dampness in your walls.
  7.  Cut the grass regularly and cut any trees or bushes – at least once a month in the summer and potentially every two months in the winter.  This gives the probate property a ‘lived-in’ feel and look. Speak to the neighbours as they can recommend a local gardener who can do this for you and send you the bill.
  8. Drain down the property as it can cause a flood if pipes burst due to too hot or too cold weather! Water can escape through burst pipes in both summer and winter.  This will be an insurance requirement:

If you decide to sell your inherited house to us, we will take care of all the maintenance issues on your behalf.  Contact us today for your free, no-obligation valuation.

Now that we have covered our tips to keep your unoccupied property in top condition let’s talk about how not to get carried away with a full-on house refurbishment.  It is so easy and tempting to think you can install a new kitchen or a bathroom without considering whether you have the time, expertise, or money to do it.

Whether you decide to upgrade and add modern touches to your probate property is a personal decision that depends on:

Alex sold his property to settle his affairs due to terminal illness
We've got geniune reviews such as Alex who sold his property due to terminal illness. Funds raised helped his family.

Selling via Auctions and Estate Agents

These are the pros and cons of property auctions and estate agents:

 

FactorAuctionEstate Agent
SpeedQuick – Often within 10-12 weeksSlower – Average of 6 months or more
CertaintyHigh – Sale is legally binding once the hammer falls (<1% fall-through rate)Lower – Around 35% of sales fall through
PricePotentially lower than other methods due to the condensed marketing periodPotentially higher due to broader market exposure over a longer period
FeesAround 2.5% of the sale price plus advertising costs to an auction house1-3% commission on sale price
Market Exposure4-week marketing windowExtensive marketing through online portals, agent’s database, etc.

Selling your probate as it is

You could instruct an estate agent to sell your probate house.  However, the process could be a long-drawn affair with numerous viewings and potentially some low offers!  During this time, you could end up with huge bills to pay.  Plus, you have fees to pay the estate agent.

Not all ‘We Buy Any House Companies‘ are compassionate when you are trying to sell a probate property. 

It pays to deal with a probate house buyer like Property Saviour.  Whether you are responsible for dealing with tenants, we will do our best to make a difference and take care of everything from initial advice to completion.

If you are looking to sell your inherited property quickly, we can help. We are cash buyers and have funds at the ready. We can help with a Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration and have the money in your account within a few weeks.  We also pay £1,500 towards your legal fees.  We are here for you at this difficult time.

We will buy your probate house quickly for cash.  Benefits of selling your probate property to Property Saviour include:

You can relax after selling your probate property to us.

Sell with certainty & speed

auction hammer

Property Saviour Price Promise

  • The price we’ll offer is the price that you will receive with no hidden deductions.
  • Be careful with ‘cash buyers’ who require a valuation needed for a mortgage or bridging loan.
  • These valuations or surveys result in delays and price reductions later on.
  • We are cash buyers.  There are no surveys.
  • We always provide proof of funds with every formal offer issued.
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We'll Pay £1,500 Towards Your Legal Fees

  • No long exclusivity agreement to sign because we are the buyers.
  • You are welcome to use your own solicitor. 
  • If you don’t have one, we can ask our solicitors for recommendations.
  • We share our solicitor’s details and issue a Memorandum of Sale. 
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Sell With Certainty & Speed

  • Our approach is transparent and ethical, which is why sellers trust us.
  • 100% Discretion guaranteed. 
  • If you have another buyer, you can put us in a contracts race to see who completes first.
  • Complete in 10 days or at a timescale that works for you.  You are in control.
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