Selling an inherited property
Selling an inherited property after a bereavement can be very difficult, emotionally. It’s also a process that few people are familiar with, which can add to the stress. If you’re considering selling an inherited property, or want to find out more about the process, this useful guide will explain how it works and help you consider your options.
What happens when you inherit a property?
When you first inherit a property, you will have some time before you are required to make any decisions about what to do with it.
Before you can do anything with the property, it must go through probate. Probate is the process of the deceased’s estate being settled. Any debts will be settled during the probate process, before any assets are distributed as per the deceased person’s wishes.
What are the initial costs associated with inheriting a property?
Inheritance tax and capital gains tax may be payable, depending on the value of the estate and whether you choose to sell the property.
Most homeowners will have a life insurance policy in place that will clear their mortgage on their death. If, however, the deceased person did not have life insurance, or for some reason the insurance company are unwilling to pay out, there may be a mortgage to pay on the inherited property.
It’s important to keep a property insured, even if it is empty. When you inherit a property, you will be responsible for paying any insurance premiums.
Maintenance and bills
You will also be responsible for any maintenance costs and bills. This may include council tax, utility bills, ground rent and management fees (for leasehold properties).
Is inherited property taxable?
Yes, the whole of the deceased person’s estate (their money, possessions and property) will be subjected to inheritance tax if it is worth more than the inheritance tax threshold. If you choose to sell the property and it has increased in value since you inherited it, you may also be liable for capital gains tax.
Inherited property taxes explained
The whole of the deceased person’s estate (their money, possessions and property) will be subjected to inheritance tax if it is worth more than £325,000. Any inheritance tax due will be paid by the executor of the Will before the property is transferred to you. The current rate of inheritance tax above the £325,000 threshold is 40%.
Capital Gains Tax
If you sell an inherited property and it has increased in value between the time of you inheriting it and the date that you sell it, you will also be liable for capital gains tax (unless it is your main residence). Tax will be payable on the ‘profit’ you make from the sale (the price you achieve from the sale minus its value when you inherited it). The property’s probate value will be used to calculate how much is owed.
If a property is gifted to you while the owner is still alive, but they die within 7 years of transferring ownership, capital gains tax may still be payable when you come to sell. Capital gains tax will be applied on the sold price minus the value of the property at the time of it being gifted to you, rather than the value at the time of the previous owner’s death. Everyone has a personal capital gains tax-free allowance of £11,000, so you will only be required to pay tax on any capital gains above that amount.
If you decide to keep the property and rent it out, you will be required to pay income tax on any profit you make from the rental payments.
Can I avoid capital gains tax?
There are two ways to avoid capital gains tax. Capital gains tax is payable on any increase in value between probate and when it is sold. If you know you’re not going to want to keep the property, you can request for it to be sold during probate so there is no ‘increase in value’ or ‘profit’ to be taxed.
The other way to avoid capital gains tax on an inherited property is to make the property your main residence. This is a great option if you don’t currently own another property, or if the value of the inherited property is worth more than your current home and would suit your current needs.
Shared inheritance – inheriting a house with siblings
Inheriting a house from your parents that you jointly own with your siblings can have added complications if not everyone is in agreement about what to do with the property.
Can an executor sell property without all beneficiaries approving?
If you cannot agree on the best way forward, and all parties are equal beneficiaries, no one party can force the sale of the inherited property. The executor is included in that.
If you reach an impasse, and those who want to keep the property are not in a position to buy the other party/parties out, you can approach the courts and ask them to order a sale. To do this, you will need to demonstrate that you have already approached the other parties (either directly or via a solicitor) in writing, outlining the reason for wanting a sale and giving them an opportunity to refute the reason. It is wise to keep in mind that a court order has the potential to cause a significant family rift, so it is advisable to explore all other mediatory options before resorting to this measure.
Should I sell or rent out the house I inherited?
An inherited property can be an amazing gift from a loved one. It can, however, also bring all sorts of practical, financial and emotional challenges.
Once the property has been through probate, you will have several options:
- Move into the property: If the property you’ve inherited meets your personal needs, you may decide to live in it yourself.
- Rent it out: Keeping an inherited property and renting it out could provide an additional income, however, becoming a landlord does also bring certain responsibilities. It is also important to remember that you will need to pay tax on any profit you make from renting out your inherited property.
- Sell it: For most people, selling inherited property is the easiest route for them and their family. The costs of maintaining a second property can be a significant financial burden, leading most inherited property owners to seek a quick sale.
If you decide to sell your inherited property, you will need to consider the options available to you and select the method of sale that best suits your personal circumstances. Some options for how to sell an inherited house are:
- Selling an inherited property on the open market: Listing your inherited property on the open market is the most common way to sell a house and the best way to achieve the highest price from a sale. Estate agents can provide you with a property valuation, organise viewings, help with negotiations and provide support in any situations that arise once you have a buyer in place. That said, selling your house on the open market comes with no guarantees. It currently takes an average of around 6 months to sell a house on the open market. Add probate to this, and you could easily be looking at well over a year.
- Selling inherited property at auction: Selling a property at auction has the potential to offer a quicker sale than one on the open market and can be a good option if you’re successful in finding a buyer. It is worth keeping in mind, however, that there is no guarantee that your property will attract a buyer on auction day. If your inherited property doesn’t sell at auction, it can be very difficult to sell the property on the open market, as potential buyers may already have seen it advertised at a low ‘guide price’ prior to the auction.
- Selling inherited property to a cash home buyer: If you want to sell inherited property quickly, a cash home buyer can be an attractive option. Once you have been through probate, a genuine cash buyer can buy your inherited property in as little as 7 days. You will need to be willing to accept less than market value for the property, but in return you can expect a quick and guaranteed sale, with none of the hassle or time uncertainty of selling on the open market. If you’re interested in finding out how much a cash home buyer will offer to buy your property directly, simply fill out our estimate form or call our friendly team here at Quick Move Now on 0800 068 3366.
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