Our guide runs through all the options available; from selling your property to renting, to inhabiting it yourself. From helpful tips on how to make sure that the process runs as smoothly as possible to potential pitfalls to look out for; we’re here to answer all your questions.
Before you start
- Take your time: Giving yourself a few weeks to adjust to the situation may prove valuable in making more measured decisions about how to deal with the property you have inherited.
- Safeguard yourself: if you decide to leave the property empty whilst you work out how you want to proceed, ensure that you have insurance that covers the property being empty for more than 30 days. Turn off all the gas, water and plugs and cancel as many deliveries as you can. Perhaps you, or a neighbour, could check in on the property regularly to check all is in order. Small actions like this can keep your property in good condition for when the time comes to sell or use it.
- Draw up your will: ideally, before you’ve even inherited the property, you would have your own Will drawn up to ensure that if anything happens to you, the property will be dealt with as you wish.
- Are you the sole inheritor? If so the process becomes slightly more straightforward. However, if you have inherited the property jointly with other family members you will need to come to an agreement about how to deal with it that everyone is happy with. It’s prudent to draw up an official agreement so that you won’t find yourself in difficulties should one party change their mind down the line.
Option one: Live in the property
If the property is desirable to you, you may decide that you wish to inhabit the property yourself. As mentioned above, if you are the sole inheritor this is slightly more straightforward; it is your decision alone whether to inhabit the property.
If you do share the inherited property you will have to seek legal advice to draw up an agreement to ensure that all parties are compensated for their part ownership of the property. Again, you will need the agreement of your joint inheritors so it is best to discuss this with them before any decisions are made.
If you are the sole inheritor there are a few things to consider before you go ahead:
• Does the property have any debts? The value of the deceased person’s share is counted as part of their estate. The personal representative or executor for the deceased person’s estate is responsible for settling all financial affairs. They must ensure that all debts and any tax due is paid before they distribute the assets of the estate.
• Does the property have a mortgage? If you inherit a property which has a mortgage, you’ll be responsible for the monthly payments even if you don’t live there. If you are unable to pay these, there is a risk the property could be repossessed. An adviser will be able to help you work out your options or negotiate with your lender.
• Are there any tenants in the property? If you inherit a property that has a tenant you will have to take their legal rights into account. Giving them proper notice is important and it’s important to seek legal advice to help you negotiate their contract if you don’t understand the agreement.
Option two: Sell the property
If you already own a property, or the property is not right for you to live in, you may decide to sell it
If you are selling this with joint inheritors you will need to agree who is going to manage the sale of the property and agree on the minimum price you will all accept.
If you are ready to proceed with the sale you have two options:
- Put the house on the market
- Sell your home to a Private Buying Company such as We Buy Any Home.
If the property is in disrepair, you’ve been saddled with a mortgage that’s in arrears or the property is located far from your residence, you may be reluctant to invest the time and money to put it on the market. In this case, you can opt for a quick sale with a Private Buying Company such as We Buy Any Home.
Whilst We Buy Any Home treats each and every customer fairly you will find that, as within any industry, there are some private buying companies that don’t always act in your best interest.
- The company you are dealing with is a genuine cash buyer: there are a large number of companies out there that will claim to be a cash buyer whilst really just being middlemen looking to sell your details on to others who have the funds to buy with. Ask for proof of recent properties they have purchased from other customers and the contact details of the sellers so you can verify the deal. If they are genuine they should provide this with no issues.
- You are not charged any upfront costs: you should not be charged any fees for surveys or valuations. We don’t charge any fees and neither should any genuine company. Always check this before you get involved.
- It’s not too good to be true: if a company offers you 100% of market value, be extremely wary. They may lower the offer as you get further down the process. Like any business, the property buyer needs to factor in a profit of some kind which would not be possible if they were paying 100% of the market price.
- Trust your instincts: If the company is acting with undue haste, offering you a surprisingly attractive price without much knowledge of your property or are carrying out valuations privately rather than by your local estate agent or RICS qualified surveyors, step away quickly. We Buy Any Home is managed by property professionals with over 30 years experience and we seek to deal honestly and fairly with all buyers. Any of the above behaviours should set alarm bells ringing immediately. Find out more here.
We Buy Any Home offers you a guaranteed sale within 7 days. We also make you the highest possible offer at the beginning of the process and don’t lower this offer as you get further down the line. There are also no fees to pay and we will pay your solicitors fee for the property sale. This can be a great option if you’re looking to make a quick sale and we’ve got plenty of information on our site for your reference.
If you prefer to put the house on the market you will need to prepare the property for sale and then put the property on the market. Make sure you choose your agent carefully and that you trust them to enter your empty property and conduct viewings if you can’t be there yourself.
Remember, if the deceased owned the property in their name, a grant of probate will be required before you can sell the property. This comes in the form of a certificate which will be issued by the court. This confirms the validity of the will and grants you the authority to deal with the estate. Do not underestimate the timescale required to obtain this grant. It can take up to three months. Take a look at our guide on selling a house in probate for more information.
Option three: Keep and rent out the property
If the property is in a good area or is in good condition you may decide that whilst you don’t want to live there, you want to rent the property out.
This is a great option providing:
- You are willing to commit to six months or more.
- You are willing to commit to keeping the house in good repair and making necessary updates and fixes when required
- You have a full understanding of the legalities of being a landlord. There have been changes made recently in favour of tenants of landlords which could leave you open to being sued for up to £3,000. Seek legal advice to ensure you understand your responsibilities to your tenants.
There are options available for you to have full management of the property (a Let-only option) whereby a letting agent handles the legal process of moving your tenants in and doing their inventory or you can opt to go for full management of the property. For those adverse to night time phone calls about broken boilers, full management may be the way to go!
Remember that if you rent the property out you’ll have to pay tax on any profit you make from the rental income. You’ll also need to make sure the property is in full possession of energy, gas and electrical safety performance certificates.
Ultimately making a decision at a difficult time can be extremely difficult. If you need any advice there are plenty of independent advice bureaus you can consult. Equally the experts at We Buy Any Home are on hand to answer any queries you might have about selling your property. Simply get in touch.