How long does it take to sell a house through probate?

Once you have obtained a Grant of Probate or a Letter of Administration, you can sell the inherited property straight away.  If you sell to a cash buyer like Property Saviour, we will complete the purchase within 10 days, or a timescale that suits you.

For most Executors and beneficiaries inheriting a house after death of a loved one can be a very stressful experience because most people do not have prior experience of inheriting a house from your parents. Often an inherited house with no mortgage can be marginally easier to deal with, as you have no banks chasing for mortgage payments or requesting monthly updates on progress of selling deceased estate property.

Whether you are selling a jointly owned inherited house, acting as a first time Executor on behalf of a sole beneficiary or siblings, this guide will go through steps required to sell your inherited property – as hassle free as possible.

If your inherited property has a mortgage then you must keep up with payments or potentially the bank can start repossession proceedings, which no doubt they will expect you to pay for once it transpires that deceased has passed away.

An Executor has a legal duty to:

How long does an Executor have to sell a house in UK?

There is not a prescribed timescale by when an Executor must sell a house, however, he/she will have to follow a process that includes:

There are several steps involved when it comes to obtaining a Grant of Probate when you are considering selling a probate property. With mounting pressure from debtors such as utility firms, solicitors, council tax office and the fact that property may not be insured as an empty property, it makes sense to sell the probate property to a specialist such as Property Saviour.

How to sell a house after probate?

We can guide you through the process of selling your probate property whether that’s dealing with the probate office, and helping you obtain a Grant of Probate, offering to buy your inherited property for cash, paying your legal fees and reimburse you for empty property insurance.  Once you have obtained a Grant of Probate or a Letter of Administration, we can complete the sale within 10 days, or at a date that suits you.

With our free house clearance service, you can sell the property in its current condition.  You can also pay off your probate bills and beneficiaries get their inheritance without any delay, as your loved one would have wanted.

How long does a probate sale take?

It can take several months with a buyer that requires a mortgage and that’s if the Executor can answer all queries relating to the property.  As an Executor will not have intimate knowledge of the property and can’t misled the buyer, he/she may not be able to respond to buyer’s solicitors’ queries.  This gives the bank a reason not to lend, resulting in an abortive sale and additional costs in terms of empty building insurance, probate costs, potentially mortgage interest payments and council tax.

That’s why it makes sense to contact Property Saviour, as we can help you achieve a hassle-free cash sale without the delay.

How long after probate can a property be sold?

You can sell a probate property straight away once you have obtained a Grant of Probate.  Property Saviour understand that an Executor might not be able to answer all queries relating to sale of inherited property.  That’s why we are specialists in buying probate properties quickly for cash.  A sale can be concluded within 10 days or at a timescale that suits you.

Can I sell my house while in probate?

You can’t legally sell a property without possession of a Grant of Probate or a Letter of Administration.  This is because a Grant of Probate or a Letter of Administration gives you the legal authority to sell a house on behalf of the deceased.  You can however, agree a sale of property at a fair value for cash with Property Saviour – and once you have obtained Grant of Probate, we can conclude the purchase within 10 days or at timescale that suits you.

Do you need a Grant of Probate to sell a property?

The answer depends on your circumstances for instance if a loved one has passed away and a surviving husband, wife or partner would like to sell the property, a straightforward check on the title deeds normally can identify what documents or additional steps are needed to sell the property.

  1. If the property is in joint names and one of the owners is still alive then invariably the house can be sold without having the Grant of Probate.  

  2. If the property is held in the deceased’s sole name or, if held in joint names and both owners have passed away, then Probate or Letters of Administration are needed to sell.

Do you need a Grant of Probate for Tenants in Common?

If the property title contains a ‘restriction’ under the names of the owners in this format “No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate, except a trust corporation, under which capital money arises is to be registered unless authorised by an order of the court.” then the property appears to be held as Tenants in Common or otherwise pursuant to a trust. In this case you would need to appoint the second trustee to receive the sale money with the surviving partner and sell the house. The proceeds can easily then be kept by the two trustees pending the Grant of Probate post-sale.

Do you need a Grant of Probate for Joint Tenants?

If you have no restriction then the house was held as “Joint Tenants” and so the title automatically passes to the co-owner with no the need for probate. All you would be required to provide to us to sell the property is a certified copy of the death certificate.

What is the difference between Probate or Letter of Administration?

Probate gives effect to the Will from the deceased and an Executor named within the Will obtains the Grant of Probate.

Without a Will, the UK Government rules determine who is to benefit from the deceased’s estate. These are not straightforward. An Administrator is appointed to manage this and is usually one of the beneficiaries.

In both cases the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration give the Executor or Administrator power to deal with the estate and sell the deceased’s assets including any real property – houses or flats. The Executors would therefore appoint the lawyers and estate agents on the sale. When the house is sold, and the other assets are collected, the money from the estate can be distributed to the beneficiaries.

How is a Grant of Probate issued?

Before the Grant of Probate is accessible a tax return must be submitted to HM Revenue and Customs confirming the amount of inheritance tax payable.

The return gives information on the deceased’s assets at the date of death, including details of any property (houses or flats) as well as the value. An application is then made to the Probate Court for the Grant of Probate.

Is it possible to sell before Probate is granted?

You might be wondering, will you have to wait for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration before placing the house on the market or accepting offers?  The answer is:

  1. If you sell a jointly owned property where one owner is still living, then as noted above you can sell before the probate is granted.
  2. If this is not the case, then you will need to obtain a Grant of Probate. The good news is that we can buy your inherited property at a fair market value as soon as you are ready to sell.  We will pay all your conveyancing fees too.

How long is Grant of Probate taking at the moment?

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our clients were applying for a Grant of Probate and agreeing to sell their inherited property to us. It took around six weeks to obtain.

The current timescale can be up to two months to obtain a Grant of Probate. Once you have applied for a Grant of Probate, we can make you a cash offer on your property, and as soon as you have obtained, you can sell without delay within 10 days or quicker.

What are costs when selling an inherited property?

  1. Professional Executor fees – if your loved one appointed a professional Executor, you could end up paying an hourly fee and naturally the longer it takes for the property to be sold, the more it will cost. We’ve seen eye-watering fees being charged.  It is always worth checking if estate will be charged a fixed fee or an hourly fee.
  2. Council tax – this can be as much as 200% of normal rateable value while the property is empty pending a sale. It is no wonder beneficiaries feel this is an unfair tax.
  3. Mortgage interest costs – interest and charges will be added daily to the balance.  In the worst case, if repossession proceedings have started, it can add thousands to the cost.
  4. Upkeep and maintenance of the property. See our detailed guide on ensuring your empty inherited property remains secure and free from theft, vandals and squatters.
  5. Empty property insurance – often your inherited property may not be insured or the cover has been invalidated due to property being empty for more than 28 days in a year. You will need to buy specialist cover for an empty property.
  6. Conveyancing fees can add at least £1,500 or more. We pay this fee if you decide to sell to us.
  7. If you sell inherited house privately to Property Saviour, then this fee will not be paid.
  8. You may also have to pay for clearance of the property as it is your responsibility to clear the property.  If we agree to buy your property, we offer you a free house clearance.

What documents will you need for the sale of a probate property?

To prove your ability to sell, we will simply require original or an official copy of your Probate or Letters of Administration plus the usual identification documents from the Executors e.g. passport and utility bill.

The Executors or Administrators of the estate would be the parties who will be required to enter into the contract to sell the property and complete the enquiry forms. The information you have on the property might be limited but most buyers will want some replies to basic enquiries whilst they will understand that your knowledge as Executors could be restricted.

We used another solicitor to apply for Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration.  Do we need to use them for the sale also?

You do not have to. As they have a captive audience, they may try and charge you a higher price for dealing with the sale.  According to Property Industry Eye, a well-respected industry online magazine, “UK Conveyancing sector is not fit for purpose”.

You may find that by instructing another solicitor on the sale you will get better value and hopefully a better level of service. If you sell to us, we can recommend a solicitor that can act quickly to sell your probate property.

What if I am selling a probate property with a short lease.  Can I extend it as an Executor?

It is possible for the executors to serve a Notice of Claim to extend a lease in accordance with the statutory procedure contained in the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.

However, please note executors only have a period of 2 years from the date of the Grant of Probate to do this.

This is on the belief the property is residential and the deceased had himself owned the property for 2 years and all other statutory qualifications had been met.

We will buy your property probate with short lease without any issues.

The Executors have two courses of action.  They could extend the lease themselves or maybe more likely sell the property with the benefit of a Notice of Claim that could then be assigned (transferred) into the buyer on sale. This would stop the buyer needing to wait 2 years before extending the lease themselves.

Can an Executor of a Will sell property without all beneficiaries approving?

The Executor has the power to sell a probate house without approval of all beneficiaries as Executor is appointed as a legal guardian of the deceased’ estate and to deal with all matters relating to a deceased’ financial affairs.  It may well be possible to challenge the Executor’s decision, but you will need legal advice on this matter.

What areas of the country do you cover?

We provide a specialised probate property buying service in all of England.

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