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Do You Need Probate to Sell a House?

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Losing a loved one is never easy, and the thought of having to navigate the complex world of probate can feel overwhelming. As an executor, one of the most common questions you may ask is whether you need probate to sell a house.

When my dear aunt passed away last year, I found myself in this exact situation. Her estate included her beloved cottage in the Yorkshire Dales, and as her executor, it fell to me to figure out the next steps. I quickly learned that in most cases, probate is required to sell a house that was solely owned by the deceased.

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What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process of dealing with someone’s estate (property, money and possessions) after they die. If the deceased left a valid will, it will name an executor who is responsible for administering the estate. This involves:

  1. Valuing the estate
  2. Paying any inheritance tax due
  3. Collecting in assets
  4. Paying any debts
  5. Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries


To gain the legal authority to carry out these tasks, the executor needs to apply for a Grant of Probate. This is an official document issued by the Probate Registry confirming that the executor has the right to deal with the deceased’s estate.

When is Probate Required to Sell a House?

Probate is generally needed in the following circumstances:

  • The property is in the deceased’s sole name
  • The property is held as tenants in common (each owner has a distinct share)


However, probate may not be required if:

  • The property is held as joint tenants (the property automatically passes to the surviving owner)
  • The property is held in a trust


It’s important to note that even if probate isn’t legally required, some buyers (and their conveyancers) may still insist on seeing the Grant of Probate before proceeding with the purchase.

The Probate Process for Selling a House

Here’s a brief overview of the key steps involved:

1Register the death and obtain copies of the death certificate
2Locate the original will (if there is one)
3Value the estate, including getting the house valued
4Apply for the Grant of Probate
5Put the house on the market (you can do this before the Grant of Probate is issued, but you can’t complete the sale without it)
6Once you have an offer, exchange contracts and complete the sale

In my aunt’s case, the process took around 6 months from start to finish. The key was to keep the lines of communication open with the estate agent and the buyer, keeping them informed of the progress with the probate application.

Do You Need Probate to Sell a House
Secure the property and inform the insurers that it is vacant.

Tips for Selling a Probate Property

Selling a house during probate can be daunting, but with a little knowledge and preparation, it doesn’t have to be an ordeal. The key is to surround yourself with experienced professionals – a good probate solicitor could be a very useful ally.

What can you do to expedite the probate process with land registry?

Based on the information provided in the search results, there are a few key things you can do to try to expedite the probate process when dealing with the Land Registry:

1. Request an expedite from the Land Registry. There is an expedited application process available where you can ask the Land Registry to fast-track your application in certain urgent circumstances, such as:

– The delay is causing problems unrelated to the land transaction itself
– The delay is putting a property sale or other transaction at risk (e.g. a refinancing deal or development)
– The delay is holding up another dependent transaction

To request an expedite, you need to provide evidence clearly showing why it is urgent, such as a copy of the sale contract showing expiry dates or an explanation of the hardship being caused by the delay. Conveyancers can request this through the Land Registry portal.

2. Ensure the application is complete and accurate. Any errors, omissions or outstanding information requests will delay the process. Provide all necessary documentation and details upfront to avoid the Land Registry needing to issue requisitions for more information.

3. Respond promptly to any requisitions. If the Land Registry does request any additional information, reply as quickly as possible to minimize further delays.

4. Consider using the Land Registry portal. Applications submitted digitally through the portal have a faster average processing time (5.1 weeks) compared to paper applications (16.4 weeks).

5. Manage expectations on timelines. Even if expedited, first registrations are currently taking the Land Registry 12-17 months on average to process. So, plan for potential lengthy waits.

In summary, requesting an expedite with appropriate evidence and ensuring the application is complete are the main things you can do to try to speed up Land Registry processing times during probate. However, significant delays may still occur, given the current backlogs.

Selling Your House: Estate Agent vs Property Saviour

When it comes to selling your house, you have a few options. You could go the traditional route and list with an estate agent. Or, you could consider a more modern approach and sell directly to a cash buying company like Property Saviour.

Having been in the property industry for over two decades, I’ve seen the pros and cons of both methods. Let me share my insights to help you make the best decision for your situation.

The Estate Agent Route

Selling through an estate agent is the most common method. They’ll value your property, advertise it, conduct viewings, and negotiate offers on your behalf. Sounds great, right? Well, there are some drawbacks to consider:

  1. Fees: Estate agents typically charge a percentage of the sale price, which can be anywhere from 1-3%+VAT. On a £200,000 property, that’s £2,000-£6,000+VAT out of your pocket.
  2. Timescales: The average time to sell a property in the UK is around 6 months. That’s a long time to wait, especially if you’re in a chain or need to sell quickly.
  3. Uncertainty: Even if you accept an offer, there’s no guarantee the sale will go through. Buyers can pull out for any reason, leaving you back at square one. In fact, around 1 in 3 sales fall through.


I remember a client who came to me after trying to sell through an estate agent for over a year. They’d had two sales fall through due to buyers’ mortgage issues. They were frustrated, stressed, and just wanted a quick, certain sale. That’s where Property Saviour came in.

The Property Saviour Solution

At Property Saviour, we take a different approach. We’re cash buyers, which means we can buy your property directly from you, without the need for estate agents or lengthy chains. Here’s how it works:

  1. Quick and Easy: We can make you an offer within 24 hours and complete the sale in as little as 10 days. No waiting around for months on end.
  2. Certainty: Once we make an offer, that’s it. We won’t reduce it or pull out at the last minute. You can plan your move with confidence.
  3. No Fees: We cover all the legal fees, so you won’t pay a penny. What we offer is what you get.


Now, you might be thinking, “That sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch?”. Well, the reality is that we can’t offer you the full market value for your property. We typically offer around 70-75% of the market value.

But for many of our clients, the speed and certainty of the sale more than makeup for the slightly lower price.

Take the case of Mrs. Johnson, an elderly lady who needed to sell her house to move into a care home. She’d been trying to sell through an estate agent for months but kept having sales fall through. She was worried about the mounting care costs and just wanted a quick, stress-free sale. We were able to offer her a fair price and complete the sale in just 2 weeks, giving her the peace of mind she needed.

Making the Right Choice for You

Ultimately, the decision of how to sell your house comes down to your individual circumstances and priorities. If you have time on your side and want to aim for the highest possible price, an estate agent may be the way to go. But if you need a quick, certain sale without the hassle and fees, Property Saviour could be the perfect solution.

Whatever you decide, make sure you do your research and choose a reputable company to work with. At Property Saviour, we pride ourselves on our transparency, professionalism, and unwavering client commitment.

We’re always happy to answer any questions.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you sell your property quickly and easily, give us a call or request a callback. We’re here to help you make the best decision for your situation and achieve a successful sale.

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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.

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. 

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.

Sell with certainty & speed

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