15 Nov 2018 By WengYee Loke
Probate is a term that you might have come upon if you live in England or Wales. This is the term used when dealing with the assets (property, money and any other possessions) of an individual who has passed away. Probate includes any legal or financial aspects of dealing with the deceased’s assets.
Before the beneficiaries of the will can sell/claim/move the deceased’s assets, they will need to wait for grant of probate.
While England and Wales calls it Grant of Probate, in Scotland it goes by Grant of Confirmation.
Make sure there is grant of probate when buying ‘probate’ property. If it has not, then expect the house buying process to be slower as you wait for solicitors to get everything in order. Unless it’s surviving spouse (person) who is a Joint Tenant on property. Then they won’t need grant of probate before selling off the property.
Probate properties are typically offered with vacant possession. This means there is no upward chain. If you’re eager to move in/get started on refurbishment as soon as possible, a probate property gives you the opportunity to do so. There is no need to wait for existing owners to find their own home to buy before moving out.
This is also gives you the option to set your own completion date without holding to the seller’s timeframe. You should be able to move quickly as you may be able to negotiate the exchange and completion date to suit you.
On our online auction platform, there is usually 20 working days to exchange on a property bought through a conditional auction. Completion occurs 10 working days from exchange. Although it is up to the buyer and the seller if they would like a longer or shorter completion period.
If the property is being sold by motivated beneficiaries, they may be willing to discuss the price. They might prefer having cash in the bank instead of holding out for a sale at the ‘perfect price’.
There are also additional costs when holding onto an empty property. The bills for council tax, insurance for an unoccupied house or garden maintenance do add up. All these costs can be significant up the longer the property is unsold. So it might be in their best interests to let the property go as soon as someone makes a reasonable offer.
Love a bit of personalisation? Then buying a probate property is the perfect opportunity to put your own flavour on the home. Many properties up as a probate sale will still have decor from when they were first constructed/purchased. Not a fan of that floral wallpaper or green carpet? Rip it out and install the feature wall and marble tiles of your dreams.
Cosmetic changes aside, it is also important to look at the structure of the property. Due to the age, there may be structural issues that need to the buyer will need to address. If the property has been vacant for a while, do also check for signs of damp.
If there is more than one executor, there may be delays during the exchange/completion process. As they will have to act jointly, getting everyone to sign documents may take a bit longer.
Some seller(s) may have never lived in the property. So they won’t be able to answer some pre-purchase questions. Of course with the auction legal pack, it can help answer many questions. But don’t expect the seller(s) to be able to tell you what the local school’s waiting list is like or when the pub down the road shuts.
The executor of the estate should look to get the best price possible for the probate property. Selling the property via online auction gives everyone involved the flexibility and certainty needed. Auctions are a great way to show transparency when selling on the open market. This way there is less likely to be a dispute on whether the sale price is fair.
If you have a probate property you want to sell through an online auction, get in touch with us here.
Of if you are looking to buy probate property, have a look at all our available properties.
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