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Jan 2, 2024 Selling a Probate Property

The death of a parent or close family member is likely to be one of the hardest times of anyone’s life. Unfortunately, this may often be accompanied with having to clear and sell the property they lived in. The combination of grief, the emotional experience of sorting through family possessions and the large amounts of paperwork involved in settling their affairs can make this an even more difficult time. Selling a house in these circumstances is called selling a probate property. This article gives some guidance on what applying for probate involves, and the process of selling a house in probate. What is probate? Probate is the granting of legal authority to an Executor or family member to administer and disperse the Estate of the deceased, which can include property, money, possessions and other financial assets. If the person died with a valid Will, a Grant of Probate is needed. If they died without a Will, you will need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. Collectively these are known as the Grant of Representation. The Grant of Probate gives the recipient the right to sign contracts on the deceased’s behalf, such as those that are needed to sell property. How long does it take to get a grant of probate? It will vary, depending on the Estate of the deceased. If there is no inheritance tax due, probate is usually granted within 6 weeks. If the estate is taxable, then grant of probate could take up to 12 weeks. The documents you’ll need for probate The original Will and any codicils. Death certificate National Insurance number of deceased ID (passport / driving licence) Utility bills and details of outstanding debts Bank statements / account Credit card statements Property title deeds Mortgage information Details of any shares and savings Details of any pensions received / due Funeral expenses Valuing property for probate Before applying for probate you will need to have the property valued, even if you are not selling the house. As a house will usually represent the majority of an Estate’s assets, the value of the property will be an important part in the probate application. The valuation will also be essential in determining the level of inheritance tax you will need to pay. butters john bee can help with this, with a free, no obligation valuation from one of our trained professionals. They will conduct the valuation sensitively, appreciating that this is a difficult time for family members. Selling a house in probate There are strict rules as to what you are allowed to do when preparing a house for sale while applying for probate. Can you market a property before probate? An estate agent can make the property available for sale before probate has been granted, and conduct viewings with potential buyers. The Executor can also accept an offer while waiting for probate, and agree a sale, but not proceed further. If a house is in probate can it be sold? Property sales can be agreed ‘under’ or ‘in’ probate, which means that a Grant of probate is being applied for. However, until probate is granted contracts are not able to be exchanged or any funds from the Estate used to pay for expenses. Potential buyers should be made aware that the property transaction may be subject to delays because of probate issues. Can you sell property after probate? Yes. As soon as the Grant of Representation is received, the executors or next of kin can exchange contracts and complete the sale. How long does it take to sell a house through probate? It will depend on a number of factors, but property sales are likely to take longer than normal transactions. As mentioned above, applying for probate can take up to 12 weeks. This can however give more time for family members to sort through the possessions of the deceased, sell or disperse furniture and fittings. Let us help you value your property for probate If you find that you need to sell a house in these circumstances, please get in touch with us and we will provide a free property valuation for you. Our team will also, if required, be able to market the property and organise viewings. [form id="d306dece-a95c-11ee-9126-6aee4e67df98"]

Aug 2, 2022 10 ways to add value to your home

How to set your home apart from other properties If you’re thinking of selling your home what can you do to set your house apart from all the other properties for sale? If you’re looking to make the move up the property ladder it’s important to explore the different ways you can maximise the value of your existing home. Here are some ways you can do this: Fix structural defects First things first, fix all major structural problems. That means: Cracks to walls Missing/broken roof tiles Leaking roof Growing damp Do this before moving on to making cosmetic enhancements. Fixing these issues may be pricey but ensuring these are taken care of is crucial in terms of adding value. Then fix all existing minor structural problems. While these don’t directly affect the value of your home, they can put potential buyers off. Fortunately, they’re easy fixes. Examples include: Door handles/locks and catches that don’t work Dripping taps Loose tiles Cracks in ceiling/plasterwork Windows First impressions You need to get buyers through the front door and first impressions can be lasting. The outside of your home must look its finest. Consider a fresh lick of paint, cleaning the windows, unblocking the gutters and clearing the driveway. Hang mirrors in the hall because a cramped, cluttered corridor is often the first thing potential buyers will see. Hanging mirrors can visually enlarge a corridor or hall and reflect light, brightening it up. Thinking of selling? Read our guide How to Sell Your Property. Attract the right buyer Try to establish your most likely type of buyer. A family? A professional couple? Once you know who your viewer will be you can decide on how best to present a spare room. You might decide to showcase it as an office for professionals, or a play room for a family. Other options include a gym, reading room or games room; how you sell the space is up to you. Add space to the property Adding an extra bedroom or bathroom is one of the most effective ways to boost your property’s value. There are a couple of ways to do this and the easiest one is often a loft conversion. It’s a cheaper and more practical option than converting a basement, but you still need to make sure that the benefits will outweigh the costs. Another way to add space is a conservatory. Although not a bedroom or bathroom, a well-built conservatory can add around 5% to the value of your home. If you decide to go all-out and add an extension, they can add around 10% to the value. Unless you use it all the time, transforming the garage into an extra room is also a great way to increase space. Make sure the new room is properly linked to the main body of your house for the most financial gain. Pave your front garden If you live in an area where parking is difficult (common in more urban areas) consider maximising every inch of exterior space. As well as paving over a front garden you will need to drop the kerb to allow cars up and onto the drive. This project is likely to need planning permission, so make time for this. Put in central heating If you don’t already have this, it can add a lot of value to a property. It can cost between £1,000 and £3,000* but could boost your home’s value by £5,000. Bring the outdoors in Create flow between your garden and the home, place some plants and greenery around the rooms or simply light up your garden with some twinkly lighting to make it look appealing. Make sure your garden looks its best too by trimming the grass and cutting back any overhanging trees or bushes. Update windows and doors You should opt for windows that suit the age and style of your property. Don’t choose metal windows when they should be wood and vice versa. If the windows need replacing, it’s a worthwhile investment. Double glazed PVC windows can also add value to a property and are easy to maintain, secure and very energy efficient. It might be surprising, but a front door refurbishment can add value too. It’s all part of the first impressions your house makes on a potential buyer. You can smarten it up with a new doorknob, brass letterbox, or new door number (choose stainless steel for long lasting shine). Invest in the kitchen, keep the bathroom simple Whether we’re preparing dinner, hosting parties, doing homework or watching television, the kitchen is one of the important rooms in the house. Many buyers look out for the perfect kitchen when searching for a new home, and valuation surveyors place a great deal of importance on it. Your aim is to create an attractive and hygienic looking kitchen, with excellent work surfaces and easy access between its three main areas: the sink, fridge and cooker. Ensure all equipment that’s installed is up to date but take care that your choices won’t be outdated in 10 years’ time. Other kitchen features worth considering include: Lighting – ensure there’s plenty of light throughout Extractor hood – to remove cooking smells Flooring – it should be hygienic, easy to maintain and fitted properly Your bathroom’s important but you don’t need a big overhaul to make a difference to the space. New taps, towel rails, shower heads and a glass door or screen instead of a standard curtain will suffice. Be sure to add decorative touches for a wow factor – fake plants that require no maintenance can look great in a bathroom setting, as can candles and colourful bath mats. Plan accordingly Plan for any projects you are undertaking to add value, especially if you are hiring a builder. The bigger the building company, the faster the job will be done, but the higher the price. Hire a smaller firm to save on costs and factor in the extra time it may take them to complete the job. Listen to friends, colleagues or family who are singing the praises of their builder or contractor. That way you are more likely to trust the work they will do and their way of doing it. A note on planning permission Applying for planning permission doesn’t mean you have to spend the money on an extension, it’s simply another way of adding value to your property. It erases any doubt in the buyer’s minds on whether the council would allow the work to be done on the house in the future. *Prices are correct as of July 2019 Selling your home? Let butters john bee help. We can answer your questions about buying or selling so go ahead, contact us today.

Aug 2, 2022 How Much Is My House Worth? Your House Valuation Explained

What is a House Valuation? And What is Considered During the Valuation Process? There are a few different reasons why you might need to know the value of your property, including for property insurance, investment analysis, selling, and taxation. We’re going to take you through the valuation process for selling your property. Before you can put your house on the market, you need to have it valued. But what exactly happens at a valuation? How is a property valuation done, and what steps should you take afterwards? Read our guide to finding out what your property is worth. Selling your home? Get in contact with us today. How important is a property valuation? So, you have made the decision to sell your home. An accurate valuation is vital if you want to get the best price for your property. It tells you what your property could be worth if you decide to sell and takes into account numerous factors including: What similar properties in the local area are selling for The condition of your property The current performance of the national housing market Can I get an online house valuation? It is possible to get an estimate online, but having an experienced agent visit your home and prepare a valuation of your property is always recommended. They will have received specific training to assess your home. You will get an accurate valuation from someone physically seeing your property rather than the limited information an online valuation takes into account. If you would like to get an idea of the value of home, use our instant valuation tool now. How much does an estate agents’ valuation cost? So, you have made the decision to sell your home. An accurate valuation is vital if you want to get the best price for your property. It tells you what your property could be worth if you decide to sell and takes into account numerous factors including: A chartered surveyor's valuation (a service you would usually get when buying a home) usually costs around £250. A HomeBuyer Report costs around £400. When a lender needs to check the property you are buying is worth the price you are paying, they conduct a mortgage valuation survey. The cost varies depending on the lender and is based on the size and value of the property. It can range from £150 to £1,500. What happens during a house valuation? An agent will arrange a valuation appointment to come and view your property. They will walk around it, with you if you prefer, and make notes on the rooms. They will take measurements and ask some questions. These may include: When were the windows last replaced? How old is your boiler? Is the property leasehold? If so, who owns the leasehold and how long is left on it? What special features make your house unique? Is it a sole or joint ownership? Are there any issues with the home e.g. structural or maintenance? What do estate agents look for during a house valuation?   Agents conducting a house valuation will be looking at how your home compares to similar properties in the local area, such as the condition of the property, how much refurbishment or modernisation it requires, and if it has any unique features. They may also ask about neighbours and local amenities, but their expert local knowledge will have already helped them to know information like this about your local area. We advise you to answer all questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge to help the agent to assess your home’s value. At butters john bee, we also like to get to know you and why you are looking to move which helps us to understand how we can best help. Does the estate agent take photographs during a valuation? Most agents don’t take photographs at the valuation appointment; this can be arranged later, giving you time to make the necessary arrangements and make your property look its best. We've created a simple guide packed with useful information on how to prepare your home for viewings. Avoid putting your house on the market before it's ready to go. Adding value to your home doesn’t have to be expensive! How should I prepare my home for a valuation? There is a difference between a home valuation and a viewing. The valuation is being undertaken by a professional estate agent, not a potential buyer. So, don’t worry about trying to make your house a show home yet. A good agent will see your property’s potential, despite minor clutter or small jobs you may want to finish before the house goes on the market. At butters john bee, we like to give you some information to look over before your valuation, so to find out more about this please talk to your local branch. Does the estate agent take photographs during a valuation? Most agents don’t take photographs at the valuation appointment, this can be arranged later giving you time to make the necessary arrangements and make your property look its best. Need more information on how to prepare your home for viewings? Read our guide here. Avoid putting your house on the market before it's ready to go. Adding value to your home doesn’t have to be expensive! What questions should I ask during my home’s valuation? Most questions you will want to ask are about the current condition of the property. You will want it to be in its best shape for selling, but it can be tricky to know how much it is worth investing in it to do so. Some frequently asked questions from house valuations include: Should I complete any small decorative jobs before selling? Should we re-carpet or not? What fixtures and fittings are we required to leave? A butters john bee agent is expertly placed to provide advice and will know what demand is like for your type of property in that area. They will be able to advise you on what to do and what not to do when getting your property ready for the market. How long does a property valuation take? The length of time a valuation takes will differ from property to property. It will, of course, take longer to value a three bedroom detached house than a one bedroom flat. If there are any unique features to your home, these may take a little longer to evaluate. To make sure the valuation is accurate, try to have a clear enough schedule that won’t rush an estate agent. Allow up to an hour but standard valuations normally last around 15-20 minutes. What happens after a valuation? Your estate agent will be in touch with a value if you haven't been given this during the valuation. You don’t need to do anything immediately and even if you do decide to sell your home, butters john bee can guide you through each step and tell you how the whole process will work. How quickly will I know how much my house is worth? butters john bee want to get you moved. Our agent aims to provide an accurate valuation of your property at the valuation appointment, which will be confirmed after the appointment. We can make a recommendation on how it should be marketed and make sure you are 100% happy with our thoughts. With over 100 branches nationwide we can help you buy or sell. Get in touch with us today. Request a free valuation If you want to know how much your property is worth, butters john bee offer a free, up to date, no obligation valuation carried out by one of our team of professionals. It gives you a better idea of what price you could achieve for your home. [form id="d306dece-a95c-11ee-9126-6aee4e67df98"]

Aug 2, 2022 Choosing A Removals Company

Congratulations on the move! Whether you are relocating, moving into a bigger home nearby or downsizing, it’s time to think about the moving day. Even if you live in a smaller property, or don’t own many things, it’s always worth hiring a professional removals company to help you move your belongings to make things less stressful on moving day. Of course, there may be things you might want to pack up yourself, but there is a certain art to packing and transporting the more fragile items, so they are well protected during transport. They can also calculate how much weight they can carry safely, so you can avoid getting hurt. How do I choose a removals firm? Check that your removals company is a current member of the British Association of Removers (BAR); because this means they have the correct training, expertise, experience, insurance, and professionalism to properly carry out the removals process, giving you peace of mind. For those who value recommendations and reviews, Which? Trusted Traders endorsement scheme can help find you a removals company which you’re comfortable with. Companies included in their scheme have all been carefully audited, involving credit, reference, and admin checks. It’s also a good idea to speak to your local butters john bee branch. We have expert local knowledge and can point you in the right direction of local firms we trust. Is hiring a removals company expensive? Various factors can affect the total cost of hiring a removals company, particularly what’s being transported, as well as how far they need to travel and how many staff are required. A quality firm will lay out their charges in detail and explain how you may be able to lower the cost. You could receive a discount if you provide your own packing materials and help with the packing. How many moving firm quotes should I get? Try and get at least three quotes from different firms; try and contact those who will visit your property instead of those who just provide an over the phone estimation, so they can inspect your property and see if there’s anything that might affect the moving process, such as tight stairways, hallways and outside access. When dealing with companies that cannot visit your property, be as up front as possible when listing your possessions (and don’t forget anything!). Will I need insurance? Make sure the removals company you choose has sufficient insurance and check what the process of claiming on their insurance is after the move (if you need to). If you own any objects of high-value, find out whether they require special packing and if they’re covered by insurance. In an effort to save money you might be tempted to pack some things yourself, whilst we would always encourage you to save money where possible, we do advise leaving the fragile items to the removers. Remember that anything you pack yourself isn’t covered by the firm’s insurance. How do I instruct a removals company? When you’ve chosen your removals company, create and send a briefing sheet to them to make sure you’re all on the same page come moving day. The sheet should include: Challenging items i.e. a piano or larger sofa/table Special items i.e. photos, antiques, and valuables – so they know what to take extra care of Large items that require dismantling i.e. wardrobes and beds Any carpets and curtains that you wish to take Objects you’ll be moving yourself – so they know what to ignore Room layouts – so they know which boxes belong in which rooms butters john bee can help get you moved We can market your property using our unique blend of expert staff and technology. Get in touch today and see how we can help you.

Jan 2, 2021 The Housing Market in 2021

It’s been an interesting year for the housing market, with impact from the coronavirus pandemic and numerous Government backed solutions to help people onto the property market. If you are wondering how these factors will affect you, what the housing market might look like in the next few years, or if it’s a good time to buy or sell, read our insights on the current housing market and predictions for the future. Is it a good time to buy or sell a house? Three developments in early March 2021 had a real impact in the sales market: The Chancellor’s announcement of the stamp duty extension His announcement of a 95% mortgage guarantee scheme  The end of home-schooling for many families as schools reopened The effects of these factors were a surge in buyer demand through March and into April, as more households decided to move, and the London property market in particular showed a 57% increase in the number of people looking to buy and a 21% increase in the number of tenants looking to move compared to February. (source: propertyindustryeye.com) As things currently stand, in June 2021 there is a current “imbalance between incipient demand and available supply of houses” according to the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Andy Haldane. (source: The Guardian) For sellers, there is the benefit of the stamp duty extension if the plan is to sell up and buy another property and the rise in buyers looking to buy is a great chance to market your property, however demand is incredibly high, creating fierce competition. Rightmove reported that housing market demand was 52% higher in April 2021 compared to April 2019. And despite this increased demand, stock is still low, with Zoopla reporting a 21% decline in the year to mid-May compared to the 2020 average. (source: todaysconveyencer.co.uk) What will the housing market look like in 2022? Heading into 2022, it is expected that the level of buyer demand will remain higher than previous years. First-time buyers are also expected to be much more active in the market. As UK lockdown is likely to be long over, businesses will confirm how their working practices will operate in the coming years, providing people with more certainty over where they should live in relation to work. Office-based workers who now have a longer-term option for working from home will be able to look at property for sale in a far wider range of locations. Stronger house price growth is likely to return in 2022 supported by a period of sustained economic growth and a projected drop in unemployment by the end of this year. Housing market prediction for the next five years In 2020, UK house price growth increased by an average of 7.3%, despite the economy contracting by -10% (source: thisismoney.co.uk). Over the next five years as the rate of economic growth seen in late 2021/early 2022 will likely subside, house price growth is likely to follow suit, easing in the next few years. UK house prices are projected to increase by 4%, 3.5% and 3% in the next three years. Over the five years to 2025, prices are forecasted to rise by 21.1%. How fast are houses selling? The UK housing market has recorded £149 billion worth of property sales in the first 15 weeks of this year. That’s almost more than double the value of homes sold in the same period in 2020 and 2019. The current level of sales would not normally be seen until the end of June, meaning the current market is running around six weeks ahead of a typical year. Research also shows that one in every 50 homes listed for sale between 1st January and 15th April 2021 was sold. This is up from one in every 100 homes during the same period in 2020 (source: propertyreporter.co.uk). In Wales, the BBC reported that some homes were even being bought before a viewing, something which of course isn’t recommended. What locations are houses selling in? As the above BBC report states, Wales has seen the biggest house price growth in the UK, up by an average of 11% in the past year and is one of the areas where supply and demand are imbalanced. House price growth was 4% in March 2021, down from 4.5% recorded in January 2021. The latest data shows (as of May 2021) the top five busiest house sale markets are in Glasgow, Bristol, Nottingham, Stoke, and Middlesbrough. Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, and Leicester are each registering house price growth in excess of 5% year-on-year. What kind of houses are selling? There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed buyers’ perspective on the type of property they want. An independent survey from Market Financial Solutions surveyed 1,282 UK-based homebuyers (those in the process of buying) and existing homeowners between 23rd and 27th April 2021. 34% said COVID-19 has changed their perspective on what they want and need from their main residence. 42% stated their views on where they wanted to live changed. 46% were keen on a flat or house with more space. In the first half of April 2021, the number of homes available to buy was 30% lower than the level recorded during the same period in 2017-19. The total number of homes listed for sale in the year to date is 19% lower than average levels recorded in 2020 even after the global pandemic saw a 50-day market closure in England (longer in Wales and Scotland) last year. Three and four-bedroom houses have been in highest demand as people look for more space and upsizing opportunities. Due to high demand from buyers, the supply of new homes has dropped significantly, bolstered perhaps by the 95% mortgage availability, and help to buy schemes on new builds. [H2] What is the average price houses are selling for? According to Rightmove, the average asking price reached a record high back in October 2020 when its data showed sellers asking for an average price of £323,530, an increase of £16,818 more than the previous year. In May 2021, the Nationwide House Price Index reported that the average house price was around £238,831, which was the fastest growth within a year for nearly seven years (source: The Financial times). Rightmove’s latest House Price Index for May 2021 reported a new record as the average price of property coming to market jumped by 1.8% (+£5,767), to a third of a million pounds (£333,564). The increase in demand from home buyers has put pressure on property values, with the number of homes sold for over asking price reaching the highest level since 2014. Data from NAEA Propertymark shows that 16% of properties sold for more than the asking price in March. No doubt this is influenced by the current stamp duty holiday. What should you do if you want to buy a house now? As we have shown, buyers are incredibly active on the market at present. The number of sales agreed reached the highest for the month of March since 2007, with an average of 13 buyers for every property on the market. This means you need to keep in touch with your estate agent to make sure you get to see the properties you want to buy. You may need to act quickly to secure your dream home as there’s a higher-than-average competition, but always make sure you are getting what you want and not simply settling. What should you do if you want to sell a house now? If you are ready to put your house on the market, get it valued and ready for sale. We have numerous guides on how to get it in the best shape to attract buyers, from if it’s the right time to sell to ways to add value to your home. How to buy and sell a house at the same time While it is always recommended to sell your property before buying a new one, many people buy and sell at the same time, entering into a chain. The best way to make sure buying and selling at the same time doesn’t become stressful or overly complicated is to keep up communication between your conveyancer and estate agent. Pop in to your local branch or give us a call and let us help.