Preparing to sell a probate property can be a difficult time for all those involved, so we’ve compiled some tips to ensure that the process is as stress-free as possible.
Secure the probate property
When someone has passed away and left a property, the very first thing that you need to do is to make sure that it is safe and secure. You should check that all doors and windows are securely closed and preferably locked. You’ll also need to make sure that all appliances are switched off and unplugged and ensure that there is no running water. It may be easier to switch it off at the mains but bear in mind that if it is winter-time then you may want to keep the heating on and set to low to ensure that pipes don’t freeze up and burst.
At the same time as securing the property you should check the home for any valuables. Valuable items are not just limited things like jewellery but can include documents for deeds or stocks and shares, for example. Any items that you think are valuable need to be properly valued as these are all part of the value of the overall estate. Valuable items are best removed from the empty property to reduce the risk of theft.
Make sure the probate property is insured
We recommend that you contact the home insurance provider as soon as possible to tell them about the death. Be aware that some insurance policies terminate on the death of the policyholder, so you may find the home isn’t insured. If that is the case, you’ll need to arrange for new insurance cover that’s valid for unoccupied properties. Quite often these types of ‘empty home’ policies state that the home must be visited periodically in order to remain valid, so make sure you understand any terms and conditions. You may be too busy or perhaps too far away to do this, which is why we offer a convenient Property Inspection Service, which includes a monthly visit with condition report and photographs.
Value the probate property
It’s important to get the property valued for probate purposes. It’s a good idea to get a few valuations from local estate agents and you must remember to ensure that the valuation is backdated to the date of the death of the occupier. The value of the probate property should be added to the value of its contents and any other assets (including bank accounts, shares and so on) to provide you with a figure for the total value of the estate.
Appoint an estate agent
Although a probate property cannot be sold without a Grant of Probate, you can still find and appoint an estate agent and get the property ready for viewings.
Preparing the probate property for sale is important as you’ll want to put your best foot forward to try and achieve the best possible price. This may include the need to tidy-up the property, undertaking some decorating or clearing the garden. We can help you with this process and can get quotes from cleaning companies and gardeners so that everything looks at its best for viewings. If the probate property has more substantial issues, which might include subsidence, damp, woodworm or Japanese Knotweed, we can help to get the right specialist in to assess the issue and propose a remedy.
Unlike some estate agents, we’ll recommend a sales strategy to suit your individual needs. This may include employing a conventional sales process, or depending on the probate property and your circumstances, it could be beneficial to sell by informal tender (or sealed bids) or even sell by auction.
Appoint a Conveyancer or Solicitor
Once the probate property is on the market, things can sometimes happen quite quickly so it makes sense to ensure that you are ready to move should you receive an offer. Think about the conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor who you would like to use and get them in place, ready for when you accept an offer. Again, we can make recommendations if you need some help deciding.
Empty the property
Once you have sold the probate property, you’ll need to empty the property of its contents in time for when you complete the sale. There will obviously be items of sentimental value that you may want to distribute among the family, but there will also be unwanted items that don’t hold any value to you. One option is to employ a house clearance company to do the clearance for you. At the Probate Property Shop, we work with specialist house clearance companies and can manage the process for you, from getting a quote to completion of the job. Another option you may prefer is to approach a charity or similar organisation who may be grateful for donations and can collect items free of charge.
For more information about how we can help with managing and selling probate property, contact us on 020 3758 7650 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.