Selling a Property After The Death of a Relative


Written by: Edward Feather on 29th November 2022

Old Parchment Lease And Hourglass Timer

Selling your parents’ house after their death is a difficult and emotional process to manage. Selling a property can be complicated under any circumstance, but even more so whilst grieving for a loved one. If you’re the executor of a relative’s estate, we’ll aim to help you in this article by explaining what a probate property sale is, what it means for you, and how to sell an inherited property.

What is a probate sale?

A probate sale involves a property previously owned by someone who has died. The deceased homeowners may have named a person, or people, to deal with their estate (money and property) in their will. The named are the executors, who are responsible for paying off any debts, valuing the estate, and paying any inheritance tax due. If you’re the executor, you don’t have to sell the property you’ve inherited. But if you choose to, you’ll need to organise the sale.

 Before the property can be sold, you must be granted probate. A certificate will be issued by a court to confirm you have legal authority to deal with the estate.

How soon can you sell a relative's property?

You won't be able to sell the property until probate has been granted. The house can be brought to the market for sale and marketing can begin, but a sale can't complete until you have probate, which usually takes 6-8 weeks on average in the UK. If you’ve inherited a property to sell, try to get the process started as soon as possible, as any applicable inheritance tax is due within 6 months of the person’s death.

What is inheritance tax?

Inheritance tax is a tax payable to the Government on your deceased relative’s estate. In the UK, 40% tax is applied to anything over £325,000. If you’re the child or grandchild of the person who has died, the threshold increases to £500,000.

Inheritance tax must be paid by the end of the sixth month after the homeowner has died. Many executors try to sell probate properties quickly to enable them to use funds from the sale to settle the tax payment. For this reason, online property auctions are a common method for selling probate homes.

How to sell an inherited property at auction

If you don’t want to retain your inherited property to live in yourself or rent out, online property auctions are the quickest and most secure way to sell. Probate properties tend to need some cosmetic updating or renovation work, particularly if your relative had lived there for a number of years. Buyers visit online property auctions with a view to buying these types of homes, so if the home successfully sells, you can be certain you’ve achieved the best possible price on auction day.

The speed of sale is often a priority for sellers of a probate property, which is why so many are brought to auction. When a property successfully sells at auction, the winning bidder is legally obligated to purchase it as soon as the virtual hammer falls. Contracts are exchanged, and the buyer’s commitment to the sale is secured. Sales typically complete within 28 days. 

The process of selling a probate property at auction is the same as any other property type. View our guide to find out how selling a property at online auction works.

How can we help?

At Pugh, we’ve been helping executors sell their inherited properties for more than 25 years. We’re here to support you through the process, helping you to decide the right course of action for your circumstances.

Call us today on 0345 505 1200 for a no-obligation chat about selling a probate property at online auction.

About the Author

Edward is an experienced property auctioneer with over 15 years' property auction experience and considerable knowledge of the North West property market. 

Edward joined Pugh & Co in September 2018 from SDL Auctions in Chester. He was also a Director at the Cheshire and North Wales franchise of the Auction House business, based at estate agent Humphreys in Chester, before its acquisition by SDL in 2016.