Problems buying a probate house

Problems buying probate houseExperiencing problems buying a probate house, or worried you might have them? Let’s take a look at what is involved in the probate house sale process.

When a property for sale is part of a deceased estate, the estate’s executors will need to obtain a Grant of Probate before the sale can be completed.

We take a look at some of the problems that can arise in the sale or purchase of a probate property as well as some of the potential advantages.

At Lockings Solicitors, we deal with estate administration and property sales for clients in East Yorkshire and beyond. Our probate solicitors understand how hard it can be to deal with estate administration after the death of a loved one and you will find us to be considerate and helpful.

We have many years of experience in probate and conveyancing, to include dealing with complex situations and high value estates. This means that we will manage problems and legal issues effectively and work to wind up an estate and any related property sale promptly and efficiently.

If you ask us to represent you in a probate matter, we will make sure that we keep you updated as to the progress throughout. Our communication is always clear and we will provide you with a price estimate at the outset. We have flexible availability and will meet with you at a time and in a way that is convenient to you. Our probate team provide a high level of personal service and will do all they can to make the process as easy as possible for you.

We offer a free initial chat to enable you to ask us about the probate and conveyancing processes as well as any other queries you may have. You can ring us on 01482 300 200, email us at or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly.

Potential problems in buying a probate house


The main drawback in purchasing a probate property is the risk of a delay if the Probate Registry is slow in dealing with the application for a Grant of Probate. When dealing with an estate administration, the estate is valued first and if Inheritance Tax is payable, this is calculated and paid. Once this has been done, an application is submitted for the Grant of Probate or, if the deceased did not make a Will, a Grant of Letters of Administration.

The Probate Registry is currently taking several months to deal with applications. If they have additional queries, it can take longer than this before a grant is issued. For this reason, we recommend considering waiting to agree a sale until the grant is received. The upside of this is that it avoids the risk of any delays beyond your control causing a buyer to pull out. The downside is that you are waiting to get started. If you do agree a sale before the grant is received, your buyer needs to understand they will need to wait for the grant before completion can take place. A popular middle ground with number of our clients is for us to get your property sale ready (we get the title to the property and send you the property information forms for you to complete) so we can issue a draft contract as soon as the grant is received and a buyer is found.

Lack of property information

It is generally the case that the executor or administrator of an estate has limited personal knowledge of the property they are selling. A seller will ordinarily fill in detailed property information forms for the buyer, but in the case of a probate property sale, the information provided will usually be minimal. For example, a buyer will not usually be given information about who maintains boundary structures such as fencing or walls and whether these have been moved in recent years.

The property will be sold with ‘limited title guarantee’ instead of the usual ‘full title guarantee’, reflecting the fact that the seller has limited knowledge about rights and other issues. Buyers of probate properties will need to make their own investigations if they have any concerns.

Unregistered property

Although more than 85% of property in England and Wales is now registered at HM Land Registry, occasionally a home that has been in the same ownership for a lengthy period could be unregistered. This can cause a problem if the title deeds cannot be located.

We can deal with reconstituting the title if the deeds have been lost and applying to HM Land Registry for the property to be registered, which will need to be dealt with before a sale can take place and could therefore cause a delay. This is another reason why our sale ready offering (see above) is particularly popular in probate sale properties. Instructing us at an early stage allows us to get on with this whilst the grant of probate is awaited.

Unoccupied property

If a property is unoccupied for a lengthy period, there is a risk of some deterioration. Sellers need to make sure the right insurance is in place and take steps to maintain the home as necessary so that it holds its value.

Potential benefits of buying a probate property

A shorter chain and quicker completion

Once a Grant of Probate has been received, a probate property seller can often move quite quickly to complete. They will usually have had several months to clear the property and as there is no onward purchase, the chain may be short which can also help completion take place promptly.

Flexibility on dates

The seller is also likely to be flexible as to completion dates, as they are unlikely to be occupying the property and will not have a related transaction to tie in.

An ideal property

Probate properties can be quite sought after if they are in need of work and the price is right. Many people like the idea of putting their own stamp on their home and buying a property that is ready for some renovation gives them the best opportunity to do this.

Potential for access between exchange and completion

In some cases, an executor may be prepared to give a buyer access to the property between exchange and completion, subject to undertakings, to carry out work. This is an advantage with a probate property that is unoccupied.

Selling a probate property

If you are selling a probate property, it can be less stressful than selling the home you are living in, although it is often an emotional wrench. At Lockings Solicitors, we are able to deal with both the estate administration, to include applying for a Grant of Probate, as well as the conveyancing transaction, meaning we provide a seamless service.

Contact our East Yorkshire probate solicitors

To take up our offer of a FREE initial chat, call us on 01482 300 200, email us at or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. As well as helping local clients in Beverley, Hull and York, we also act for clients from across East Yorkshire.

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