How to Sell an Inherited House

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How to Sell an Inherited House
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When you inherit a house, you may wonder what to do with this new asset. Selling an inherited property can seem complicated, but with some preparation, it does not have to be.

There are steps you can take to make the process smoother. This blog covers the key things to know if you plan to sell a house you have inherited.

Can I sell an inherited house?

Yes, you can sell a house you inherit. The property legally transfers to the beneficiaries named in the deceased’s will when they pass away. As the new legal owner, you can sell the inherited property whenever possible.

You must wait no minimum time before putting an inherited property on the market. You can begin preparing the keys and deeds for sale once you have them. However, it is wise to take your time and consider your options before making firm plans.

Common reasons to sell an inherited house

There are a few common reasons someone may opt to sell an inherited property rather than live in it themselves:

The location isn’t practical

Sometimes, an inherited house is in an area where you need connections and plans to relocate. Moving into the property only makes sense with family ties, a social life, job prospects, or other factors rooting you there. In this scenario, the most practical approach is selling the house.

You already own a home

If you already own a home you are happy with, taking on another property may not appeal. The responsibilities and expenses of a second home could outweigh any benefits for you. Selling the inherited house releases the equity for other uses without the burden of owning an extra property long-term.

The property needs significant repairs

Inheriting a run-down, damaged, or even derelict building can seem more of a hassle than it is worth if you do not plan to live there. Restoring the house to a liveable standard can require substantial money, time and effort. For some beneficiaries, this is not feasible. Putting such a property on the market provides an alternative means of benefitting from the asset.

You need the money

One of the most common motivations for selling an inherited property is needing money to pay off debts or other plans. Unlocking the equity from the house provides funds without taking out a loan. While selling may not be the only option, it is often the quickest and most straightforward way to access the value for financial reasons.

How to sell an inherited house

If you decide the best option is to sell the house you have inherited, here are the steps to take:

  • Gain access from the executor

The executor of the will should contact you, but if you are still waiting, contact them. This individual is responsible for carrying out the administration of the estate of which the property forms part. They organise access to the property along with the keys and deeds. You cannot sell the house until this formal transfer of ownership has been completed.

  • Clear out contents

In most cases, furniture, personal effects, and other contents will still be left in the building. These need to be removed before putting the property on the market. The beneficiaries named in the will split these items according to the instructions left behind. If you plan to sell quickly, consider an estate clearance service to empty the house swiftly.

  • Research local property values

Before marketing the inherited property, it helps to research the prices of comparable nearby buildings. Compare sold homes’ size, layout, condition, and location to ascertain a fair asking rate. If you lack experience in pricing properties, engage an agent or valuer on a separate valuation based on market evidence.

  • Handle funding probate if applicable

If the previous owner had any outstanding debts or taxes due, the sale proceeds may need to cover these first. An accountant can explain if fundraising from the property is necessary. It may influence how you proceed with the sale. Also, clarify if any equity needs to go to other beneficiaries.

  • Apply for relevant consents

Check what permissions you need before proceeding. Planning consent, listed building consent, or other approvals may be required to update the property. Builders should determine if permits are mandatory, too. Apply promptly because delays could impact timescales later on.

  • Consider probate or conveyancing solicitors

Specialist lawyers well versed in property sales involving an estate can ensure the transaction is completed smoothly while complying with all legal requirements. Ask friends or search sites for recommendations. Look for transparency about their fees, too. This cost comes out of your sale proceeds.

  • Hire estate agents or sell independently

Weigh up your marketing options. High street agents charge commission but handle everything from photos to listings, viewings, and negotiations. DIY selling sites let you pay as you go for ads. Alternatively, you can sell directly to home renovation companies, who often pay cash fast but typically offer 20% under market value.

  • Navigate viewings and offers

Prepare paperwork about the property history in advance to share with prospective buyers. Be responsive so interested viewers can come promptly while enthusiasm is piqued. Have an approach for assessing offers if multiple come in. Are you mandating sealed bids by a set date or considering incremental increases?

  • Conveyancing and exchange of contracts

Appoint a conveyancer once you have an agreed price with a buyer to proceed with the legal process. They handle local searches, prepare contracts and facilitate the exchange. Both parties are legally committed to set dates for compensation payments if either withdraws. The buyer pays a deposit, too.

  • Completion day and keys handover

This final stage sees the remaining funds transferred into your nominated account, usually on the pre-agreed completion date. Estate agent representatives typically meet the buyer when the keys are handed over. Ensure you record meter readings and redirect posts, too. Now, only the final accounts and estate administration remain.

Is it more complicated to sell an inherited house?

In some ways, inheriting brings additional administration before selling is possible. However, this does not mean the process has to be substantially more complicated or stressful. Understanding the extra steps and allowing more time for them helps everything go more smoothly.

Appropriate preparation is vital when estate property is involved. Seeking professional guidance around conveyancing, tax liabilities, and probate intricacies prevents hitches. Being organised from the start keeps everything on track regarding the essential timings and paperwork.

In other aspects, selling an inherited house is much like any other property transaction. Refurbishments, agents, viewings, surveys and the exchange of contracts all follow standard house-selling procedures. The only difference is confirming your right to sell as the beneficiary. Once ownership transfers via probate, it is no different than selling a house you previously resided in.

Things to consider when selling an inherited house

To wrap up, below are a few tips for offloading property received as inheritance:

  • If you do not intend to live there yourself, be pragmatic rather than emotional. Consider it a business transaction focusing on the asset’s value to you.
  • Get valuations from both estate agents and auctioneers. They may differ sometimes by tens of thousands. Understand your actual options.
  • Do not automatically accept the first offer! Subsequent buyers could willingly pay more. Weigh up the risks and costs of continuing to market it, too.
  • Keep other beneficiaries informed if the sale proceeds impact their inheritance. Be attentive and ensure fairness in how funds get split.
  • Seek tax planning advice about capital gains, income tax and inheritance tax you may owe. Every scenario differs regarding costs, so specialist input helps maximise how much you keep.
  • Be wary of ‘quick sale’ property investors who aim to acquire the house below retail prices. Join landlord forums to understand typical tactics that are deployed.

We specialise in buying property inherited through probate at We Buy Any Home. Get in touch today if you want more support with selling an inherited house.

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