The disposal of of probate property creates unique practical and emotional challenges as it is often in a poor state of repair and may be situated many miles from those involved, so managing security, house clearance, regular inspection for insurance and the sale or lettings process can be particularly difficult and stressful, especially when dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Our aim is to provide the support to make things as stress free as possible and to ensure that the right steps are taken to ensure that the very best sales or let price is achieved on behalf of the beneficiaries.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
General household insurance will not cover you beyond a certain time period if the property is empty, so it is vital that you get advice from your insurer to make sure that you are covered for all eventualities (We can even put you in touch with a broker with specialist knowledge in this field, should you wish).
Most “empty home” policies will require regular inspections (usually monthly but some more frequently) and if the property is too far away to make this practical, we can take care of this with our optional Property Inspection Service, which includes a monthly visit with condition report and photographs. The cost of this is £50 a month (for one visit/report per month).
We can also help with other insurance criteria that may be in your policy such as getting quotes for draining down the central heating during winter, isolating the electrics, upgrading the locks or fitting CCTV if required.
To ensure that the probate property achieves the best possible market price it is essential that the right steps are taken to prepare it for sale or let – hence our Property Management Service.
THE PROPERTY REPORT
- We will inspect the property and advice you of any immediate works required to protect the property, at the same time we will:
- Provide a full valuation report covering both sales and lettings options
- Provide a POTENTIAL REPORT looking at options such as modernisation and the potential of the plot overall for development.
- Provide a property clearance quotation
- Depending on if you want to sell or let, we put together a MAP of the next steps and detail any associated costs.
In most cases the property will need to be cleared at some point, which can be done once the family have identified everything of sentimental and financial value that they wish to keep. We work with specialist house clearance companies and can manage the process, from getting a quote to completion of the job. Where necessary, we can also get quotes from cleaning companies and gardeners so that everything looks at its best for viewings.
Sometimes there are structural issues that are likely to get picked up in the buyer’s survey or mortgage valuation, such as subsidence, damp, woodworm, Japanese Knotweed, to name but a few. It is better to address these at an early stage, to prevent a sale falling through at a later date, and we can help getting the right specialist in to assess the issue and propose a remedy.
Probate property can also have significant development potential, such as adding an extension, converting into flats or adding a separate dwelling in a large garden. We can introduce you do architects and planning consultants with expertise in maximising the value of this important asset.
We recommend a Bespoke Sales or Lettings Strategy to suit your individual needs.
Below are the main options:
Selling by Private Treaty
Most estate agents set a Guide Price for your property, advertise it at that figure, and ask potential buyers to make an offer. This is called selling by Private Treaty and is an excellent way to sell property that is in good condition, but it may not be the best way to sell a probate property that has structural issues or other such issues.
Selling by Informal Tender
(or Sealed Bids)
This is often the best way to sell property that needs modernisation, is in a poor state of repair or has potential. It works by setting a deadline by which potential buyers must submit their formal written offers, along with all evidence that they are able to proceed (mortgage in principle, bank statements, etc). We market the property with an Open House to maximise interest and create a sense of competition. After the deadline, once bids are submitted, you can choose the highest offer from the buyer who is in the best position.
Selling by Auction
There are circumstances when selling by auction is the best option, for instance when a property has structural issues that will make it hard to mortgage, considerable development potential, or for one-off properties that will generate very high levels of interest. There is the certainty of knowing that when the gavel falls, contracts have exchanged, with completion 28 days later. It is more expensive than other alternatives – we charge 2.5% plus VAT, plus auction costs – but the competitive environment can get excellent prices for the right properties.
Getting seen in the right places
We visit the property to prepare our property report and our recommendations for what steps need to be taken to make the property secure and ready for sale or let.
Once we are instructed by you, we appoint a dedicated Customer Service Representative who will arrange for a police-approved key Safe to be fitted at the property, and for local trades and property professionals to provide quotes for any works we have agreed with you. Once you have approved those estimates, we manage access to the property to get all works completed and evidenced.
When everything is ready, we visit the property to take measurements, videos and photographs, and write to get your approval to begin marketing and to set a date for the Open Day.
Once we have offers, we discuss them with you, and once formally approved by the executors we start the conveyancing process with the solicitors.
We follow-up as the sale proceeds, update you on progress, and can even help by reading the meters and, of course, hand over the keys to the new owners on completion.
If you instruct Sefftons Assist to sell your probate property via private treaty or informal tender, we charge 1.5% plus VAT as commission on a sole agency basis, which is payable on completion, on a “no sale, no fee” structure.
Our fee includes our help in obtaining quotes for works that need carrying out and acting as a key holder for trades and professional services. It does not include the cost of those services, which we will obtain quotes for your approval.
Best of all, for this you get both the expertise, support and access to our unique buyer database as well as extensive marketing through Rightmove, Zoopla along with targeted social media marketing.
The only additional costs are for the cost for the optional Property Inspection Report (£50 plus VAT per month for one visit per month) and the Energy Performance Certificate (£99 plus VAT).
If you decide to sell by auction then our fee is higher, to cover the extra costs involved, so 2.5% plus VAT and auction costs (which we would agree with you before proceeding).
Should you decide to retain the property as a beneficiary.
We can assist with:
- Ensuring the property meets current legal requirements to let
- Obtain Gas and Electrical Safety Certificates at an additional cost
- Obtain costs and manage any works required to let the property
Once the property is ready to let, we offer a let only or fully managed service. With fees from just 8% plus VAT of the monthly rent or for Let Only, a one of fee equal to a full month’s rent.
To discuss our lettings services further, please contact our Lettings Manager at email@example.com.