Having to sell the home of a loved one, especially if it’s somewhere you have happy memories, can be poignant. Shelley Byrne, Probate Team Manager of E.L.M Legal Services shares a few pointers on how to make the process less painful…
The lion’s share of a person’s estate is normally their home, but at a time when family and friends are grieving, preparing the property for sale is often the last thing they feel up to. It’s a tough one because, unless you’re a millionaire, with the best will in the world that property needs selling – utilities and council tax bills have to be paid even though the house is unoccupied and then there’s the question of maintenance. Pipes burst and gardens become overgrown in empty properties.
My advice to clients in this situation is to speak to a few local estate agents (at least three) early on, to form an idea of the market – this has to be done anyway, to value the owner’s estate and assess whether inheritance tax should be paid. Then take a look at furniture and other household items – a rough lump sum of their worth will suffice for probate purposes but it’s probably a good idea to get any pieces priced at around the £500 mark professionally valued.
Undertaking that, admittedly often painful process, actually provides a good time to clear the house of any unwanted items too. In fact, some of my clients find selling or giving away a loved one’s things to a new home quite life-affirming.
As for the locks, change them. It’s unlikely the keys have been handed out to every Tom, Dick and Harry in the village but better safe than sorry.
Unless you’re a massive fan of Kirstie and Phil – when it comes to the question of updating a house pre-sale you may judge that you simply do not have the appetite for this. Yes, properties sell for less when the decor is old-fashioned but they often sell fast too, as buyers appreciate a home they can put their stamp on. It’s amazing how much more polished a house looks after a good, deep clean – often that’s enough.
If you do decide to take your time selling the property and don’t live nearby, it can be wise to find an agent to manage it. Also, you’ll have to look at insurance – most insurers will not pay out on a property that has been left unoccupied for over 60 (and in even more extreme cases 30) days.
To discuss this, or any of the other issues around selling probate property, call us now on 0800 019 4557 or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org – we’re your local experts in will writing and probate.
And remember that your loved one’s home is going to a good home – a new owner who will love, cherish and build their own lifetime of memories there.