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Blog | butters john bee Estate & Letting Agents

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"]

Jan 25, 2023 Gifting property: Can I sell my house to my child for £1?

Gifting property to children is becoming more and more commonplace. As the price of property climbs ever higher, this is one solution families are using to get their children onto the property ladder. There are tax implications, however, and it may not be the solution to all your financial issues. Here we look at what happens if you decide to sell your property to a family member for a nominal value. Is this the same as gifting property to children? Yes. Although it will still require conveyancers to handle the legal aspects, the change in ownership will qualify as a gift. Legally it won’t be regarded as a sale, but a token value has to be involved.What do I need to do to sell my house for £1? A conveyancing solicitor will need to be instructed, in order to handle the transfer of the deeds from you to your son or daughter, or other family member. Contracts are still exchanged and completion dates confirmed. So there will still be legal fees to pay. If you own the property with a mortgage, it might not be possible to sell for a purely nominal figure like £1. If there is an amount outstanding on your mortgage, this will need to be covered by the person you are gifting the property to. So it would make sense for this to be the price of the gift. What are the other costs involved? Mortgage redemption costs for gifted property If you do still have a mortgage, are you in a discounted term? If so there will be a redemption figure to pay, along with any outstanding borrowing. Ask your solicitor to contact your mortgage provider for a mortgage redemption statement. Legal fees You will be charged legal fees by your solicitor, but as their workload is not as heavy as a conventional property sale it may be worth asking for a reduced fee. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on gifted property You are not liable to pay capital gains tax on gifted properties if it has been your Principal Private Residence. There will be CGT to pay if it was used as a business premises or rented out. From any CGT bill you can deduct capital improvement costs, stamp duty, legal fees and estate agents’ fees. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on gifted properties If there is no mortgage on the property, there will be no stamp duty incurred. Standard rates of stamp duty will apply if the mortgage exceeds the stamp duty threshold. Stamp duty is also paid if your child already owns another home and is either using the gifted property as a second home or renting it out. Inheritance Tax (IHT) on gifted properties This is one of the main reasons why people prefer to gift property, rather than leave it to children as part of their estate when they pass away. If you do not die within seven years of making the gift, there is no inheritance tax to pay. If parents die within three years, inheritance tax is charged at 40%. After this inheritance tax is charged at what is called ‘taper relief’, and only if the value of the gift exceeds the tax-free threshold. Income Tax on gifted properties There will only be income tax implications if your son or daughter chooses to rent out the property they are gifted, either to you or someone else. Capital gains tax will also need to be paid in this circumstances if the property is sold at a later date. Can I avoid care home fees by gifting my house? People may be tempted into thinking that gifting their property effectively ‘disposes’ of it, so it can’t be used to measure what you can afford should you have to go into a care home. However, this is seen as deliberate ‘deprivation of assets’, especially if the gift is made a short period of time before the care home fees are required to be paid. Local authorities will judge on what the intent was behind your decision to gift the property, and the value of the property will usually still be counted as part of your assets. Can I give my child money to buy a house? Yes. If you want to help your son or daughter raise a deposit you can make a gift to them. All the beneficiary needs to do is provide written confirmation to their mortgage provider that it is a gift, so that it is clear it is not a loan that has to be repaid. Let us help value your property If you are thinking of gifting your house to your child, but are interested to know how much your property will be worth when it is transferred, please get in touch with us and we will provide a free property valuation for you.

Apr 5, 2022 Receiving offers

A buyer wishing to make an offer needs to speak to the estate agent you have chosen to sell your property. They can do this verbally (over the phone or in person) or in writing (via post or email). However, this offer is not legally binding until exchange of contracts, therefore an offer subject to contract still allows for the price of the property to be negotiated. The estate agent must communicate all offers to the seller in writing even when the offer has been discussed verbally. Any conditions around this offer must also be included in writing. It is also the responsibility of the agent to ensure that the buyers are in the position they state and therefore able to deliver on the offer they have put forward. Declining and accepting offers Declining an offer: One of the most common reasons for declining an offer is that the potential buyers have offered an amount lower than you are willing to accept. Other reasons might include the position of the buyers not being favourable to your requirements e.g. they have yet to have an offer on their own property for sale. You do not need to make a decision right away. Think carefully about the offer being presented to you and inform your estate agent if you wish to decline. Accepting an offer: Once you have received an offer you are happy with, inform your estate agent. Make sure you discuss all the details and agree estimated dates for exchange and completion. It can be useful to put this in writing for the estate agent and the buyer – it will not be a legally binding contract, but helps to make sure everyone is in agreement. One element to confirm is whether the property will be taken off the market following the acceptance of the offer – some sellers prefer to keep the property on the market for a while. You are not obligated to accept an offer – you can choose which offer suits you best. This may depend on the chain with the potential buyers or the value of the offer. Discuss your options and any concerns with the estate agent. Offer agreed – what now? Brilliant, you are a big step closer to selling your property! Negotiating the sale through to completion takes time and skill. There are a few tasks your chosen estate agent is now responsible for, following your acceptance of an offer: Written communication to all parties to confirm the agreed price and any conditions of the sale. Preparing a memorandum of sale. Ask the sellers and buyers for confirmation of their solicitor’s details. Take the property off the market if this has been agreed to by the seller. It is now time to work with the estate agent to: Agree a date for a survey of your property. Agree a date for the exchange contract – also known as Exchange Date. Agree a proposed date for completing on the property sale – also known as Completion Date. Not sure on some of the terms around buying and selling property? Drop in or call your local branch and we can talk you through it! During this time, your solicitors will be responsible for sending out a draft contract to the buyer’s solicitors. The buyer’s solicitors will be responsible for carrying out the preliminary enquiries. Both the estate agents and your solicitor should provide you with regular updates so that you are kept informed of the progress. At butters john bee we’re built to do one thing really well – get you moved. Get in touch with us today to discuss a free valuation of your home and let us help you. [form id="d306dece-a95c-11ee-9126-6aee4e67df98"]

Apr 5, 2022 Preparing Your Property For Viewings When Selling

After all the hard work you have put in, you’ll need to be ready for the people who want to view the property. Just like when you made it look its best for the photography, this is all about preparation: Make sure the front of the house is tidy and neat. Depending on the location of your property, clear space for viewers to park their vehicles. The property should be clean, tidy, well aired and well lit. If you have pets it might be best to arrange for them to be cared for during a viewing. Some people may not like dogs or cats etc. and they can serve as a distraction. If it is cold, ensure the heating is on so the property is warm and comfortable. The devil is in the detail The above points are the major considerations, but serious potential buyers will want to see every room and might want to look in any storage areas such as built in cupboards under the stairs. Every space needs to be as accessible and tidy as possible. There are a lot of articles written about extra things you can do to make your home appealing – from baking treats to create pleasant smells to placing fresh flowers on the countertops. Ultimately, a clean and tidy space, even without the extras is the best way to show off your property. After all, a viewing is a chance for someone to imagine themselves in the space, not overwhelmed or distracted by how it currently looks. Your estate agent Where possible, it is useful if an estate agent accompanies the viewers as they are the property experts and know how to sell a property. You can also provide the estate agent with a key to your property so that they can conduct viewings if you are out. Make sure the estate agent has everything they need for the viewing, including access information. Should you need any advice on conducting viewings or what you should do in advance, speak to your estate agent for their hints and tips. Open House Events If having lots of viewings at different times is not convenient for you or if you need a quick sale, it can be beneficial to have an Open House Event. Open Houses are a very successful service with butters john bee estate agents. Wondering how much your home is worth? Request a free valuation from butters john bee today using our form below. What is an Open House Event and how do they work? An Open House Event is a single appointment where a number of potential buyers can view the property at the same time. These can be an appointment that lasts for an hour, a couple of hours or a whole day. At butters john bee, we will arrange the Open House for the best possible time period for your property and your requirements. butters john bee manage the entire process for you. We discuss it with you first to work out how quickly you would like the event arranged and then iron out the details around that. From sending out invitations via email campaigns and SMS, contacting potential interested buyers, advertising in local press and social media to conducting the Open House Event on the day at your property, butters john bee co-ordinate the entire event for you. Benefits of an Open House Event You only have to prepare your property for one appointment. It creates a competitive atmosphere that can cause the value of offers made to increase. Having an Open House Event may increase the number of potentially interested buyers as people may be more inclined to attend an event led by the estate agent. You can gauge the level of interest in your property by the number of people who attend the Open House. Once viewings are taking place, the estate agents should be in touch once they have received any offers from potential buyers. Next, read our tips on receiving offers on your property­. [form id="d306dece-a95c-11ee-9126-6aee4e67df98"]

Apr 5, 2022 Get viewings, not just views

First impressions really do count. At butters john bee, we can help your property get viewings and offers. We use unique technology that matches your home’s best features with the things your buyers love, so they’re more likely to click, arrange a viewing and make an offer. Here are some things that you can put in place to make sure your home looks its best: The front of the property is the first thing people will look at, especially if you are going to have a ‘For Sale’ board outside. Make sure it is neat, tidy and well-kept. Keep the grass cut, clean the driveway – all the little things that make a big difference. Are there any areas (inside or out) that could do with a fresh coat of paint? It really can make all the difference in presenting your property as fresh and well-kept. Where possible, select a neutral colour to appeal to as many people as possible. Make sure the inside of the property is clean and tidy. Tidy up cluttered areas to make the property appear spacious Have as much natural light as you can (open curtains and blinds etc.) A well-lit home looks bright and homely. Give your carpets and upholstery a professional clean if you can. Open the windows to give the rooms a chance to be well aired. Complete any maintenance jobs such as replacing light bulbs and fixing doors or finish any DIY projects you had started. Gardens are an important selling aspect. Make sure yours is tidy, weeded and the grass freshly cut. Get plenty of notice of when the photographer is coming to give yourself time to prepare. The photos will be extremely important in generating interest of your property. The marketing of your property haart will help you get maximum exposure of your property to generate as much interest as possible. Keep in mind this checklist of things that will help get your home seen on and offline. The marketing of your property needs to include: Good quality, full colour property details which include a floorplan of the property and the Energy Performance Certificate. Listing on the estate agent’s website. These listings should include a detailed write-up of your home, the rooms the property features with dimensions, quality images, location map and a streetview of the area around your property. Listing on major portals such as Rightmove and OnTheMarket.com including a detailed write-up of the property particulars and a good range of good quality images. Email and SMS property alerts to potential buyers who are interested in a property like yours in the area. Professional signboards to promote your home at all times, should you agree to have one displayed. Just contact your local branch for help and advice from the property experts in your local area. Are you ready for viewings of your property? Click through to our Property Viewing guide some tips to assist you.

Apr 5, 2022 Should I choose a solicitor or conveyancer?

A solicitor or conveyancer will be needed to transfer the legal ownership of your property to the buyer. There is a difference between the two: A conveyancer focuses on residential property as a specialist in property law A solicitor is a qualified lawyer – as well as property law they will have training and experience in other matters such as divorce or medical malpractice A solicitor may cost a little more than a conveyancer, but if you feel the sale will be more complicated than usual a solicitor may be better placed to advise you on further legal matters outside of property law. In most cases a conveyancer will be able to see the transaction through to completion with no issues. What does a solicitor or conveyancer do? Choosing a solicitor or conveyancer is an important factor of the successful sale of your property. They need experience in property conveyancing as well as a solid understanding of the property marketing in your area. The solicitor or conveyancer will usually be responsible for the following: Drawing up and reviewing the contracts Conducting the local searches Corresponding with the Land Registry Managing payments, including stamp duty charges Managing the collection and transfer of funds Providing you with legal advice as and when you need it. What tools can I use to help me value my property? Thinking of selling your home? Get a free valuation from butters john bee today! Questions to ask before choosing a solicitor or conveyancer Most estate agents will have solicitors or conveyancers they can recommend to you, however, here is a quick guide to what to look for when choosing: Find out how much experience of conveyancing and local knowledge they have. It’s not always the best idea to select the cheapest. Make sure the quality of their work meets your standards. Different solicitors will charge in various ways. Get all the costs upfront where possible and work out what you can afford to pay and when. Positive reviews. What better way to find out if the solicitor provides a good service than to listen to recommendations from friends, family, testimonials or review sites? High quality service. Solicitors and conveyancers are likely to be busy, but still need to provide you with a high quality service. A good conveyancer will check you have understood all the details of the sale of your property. Easy to contact. It can be extremely frustrating to not be able to reach your solicitor during the selling process. Get at least one contact number and email address for you to be able to get in contact with your solicitor regularly. Opening hours. As part of making contact as easy as possible review the solicitor office hours, so you stand a better chance of getting in contact when you need to. For more details on solicitors and conveyancers, from their processes to how to decide on one for your sale, the Home Owners Alliance has a wealth of information. Three is a magic number At a minimum, it is useful to get at least three quotations and research each of these firms or individuals so you can make the right choice for you. Do your research and make a choice that’s comfortable for you. Want to book a free valuation? Contact butters john bee today. Next up Help Your Home Sell Itself make the best first impression with advice from butters john bee.

Apr 5, 2022 Choosing the right estate agent for you

Choosing an agent can be a bit overwhelming. Especially if they are all promising the same things! An estate agent can help you to sell your property for the right price at the right time. However, the process of finding the right one for you can be a bit overwhelming, especially if they are all promising similar things. Use our tips to help you navigate this part of selling your home, starting with the important considerations for finding your estate agent: The important questions There are plenty of questions to ask a potential estate agent, but for a start you’ll want reassurance they can do the best job of getting you the right price for your home or property. If you have done your research, and have an idea of the price you want, be sure that this matches up realistically with what the agent puts forward. Questions to ask to ensure a good relationship with a potential estate agent are: Are they professional in their approach? It’s important that you feel comfortable with your agent. If they are over-friendly or don’t seem invested enough, trust your gut and move on. Do they have any testimonials on their website so that you can see what other customers think of them? Other people’s experiences could help you to weed out agents that may not be what you’re looking for from your shortlist. How well known are they in your area? The more experience and expertise they have of the location, the better. Do their opening hours suit you? It is no good instructing an agent who is only open when you are at work. You might also want to establish a preferred method of contact – do you want them to call you or email you throughout the process? What fees do they charge and when are they due? You can also ask about the applicants already registered with them – are there any that may suit your property? How quickly will the agent get in touch with them to notify them that your property will be on the market? All this information will give you a good idea of if the agent is the right one for you. One extra thing to remember is that an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be arranged before a property can be marketed. Will the estate agent be able to carry this out on your behalf? Marketing your home The more people that see your property the better, but it also needs to reach the right people. Which of the agents will get the best exposure of your property? Your property should be exposed to people looking in your area and price range, not just a blanket-catch to all listings. Ask the following questions: Will the agent be promoting your property on their website? Will they include major portals such as Rightmove and OnTheMarket.com? How will they market your property? Social media, email campaigns, newspaper advertising – are they going to ensure your property is seen by the right people? Have a look at some examples of the properties they are currently marketing on their website – do the pictures look professional? Do you like the way the property descriptions are written? Let butters john bee help butters john bee will provide a free, up-to-date valuation, carried out by a member of our team of fully-trained professionals. We will show you the marketing we can provide and our expert local knowledge of the property market in your area. butters john bee has the tech to get it seen and the people to get it sold. Want to book a free valuation? Contact butters john bee today butters john bee prides itself in being transparent with our customers. For example, you can look at the bjb website to see how many properties bjb is selling in your area compared to other agents. We listen to your requirements and provide solutions to help them sell your property. We can set up open house events, accompanied viewings or set times for viewings. Our award-winning off and online marketing techniques include: Advertising on portals Rightmove and onthemarket.com. Social media Email campaigns Property alerts through email or SMS Newspaper and magazine advertising Dedicated PR Community-based events Homes with butters john bee Our agents focus on the reasons why you’re moving, so they understand how to help you best, and will negotiate hard on your behalf, to get the result you need. We know the housing market inside out, but you know your home better than anyone. When you instruct us, we’ll ask you what makes it special, what work you've had done, and why it’s fun, unusual or great to live in. By learning all about your home, we can find the right buyer – and get you the best possible price. Don’t run the risk of an estate agent skipping valuable details when they are marketing your home.

Apr 4, 2022 How to sell your home: a complete guide

From getting a valuation and arranging viewings to instructing a solicitor and exchanging contracts, selling your property is a time-consuming and sometimes complex process. Here is our guide to the various stages of selling a house. Deciding to sell your property Is it the right time to sell? It always seems like the house market is booming and prices are rising, but there will be local variations. It might not always be the best time to sell your house. Check property market guides and reputable news sources to help you. The HomeOwners Alliance has up to date Media & Reports including a House Price Watch. What research should you do before you sell? Before you decide to sell your property, it is worth doing a bit of research yourself before contacting agents. What are similar properties in the area to yours selling for? Use this guide figure to help you get a rough idea of what your property is worth. A more precise valuation can come later. Finding the true value of your property Use our online valuation tool for an instant estimate or book a valuation when one of our local experts will arrange an appointment to officially value your property. The stages of selling your house Choosing an estate agent There are plenty of questions to ask a potential estate agent. You will want to be reassured that they can do the best job of getting you the right price for your home or property. Are they professional in their approach? How well known are they in your area? Do they have testimonials on their website or Google reviews? Decide how much to sell your home for The valuation you receive from a local estate agent will be the best guide to the price you should put your property on the market for. This doesn’t have to be the sale price. Get an EPC A valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a requirement before you can sell your home. Check if the EPC for your home is still valid, or needs to be updated – for example, you might have improved its energy efficiency by installing loft insulation or replaced a boiler. You can arrange a survey from an EPC assessor in your area. Prepare your home to be put on the market You want your home to make the best possible impression on potential buyers. Give your property some kerb appeal by tidying up the front garden, cleaning the porch or perhaps even repainting your front door. Inside, decluttering is a good idea. If your home looks untidy, take this opportunity to give it more of a neutral feel, or a blank canvas. Some sellers also like to ‘stage’ their home, creating an illusion of space that they hope will seduce a viewer; swapping large sofas for smaller ones, or hanging mirrors in more confined spaces. Choose a conveyancer or solicitor Choosing a solicitor or conveyancer is an important part of selling your property. They need experience in property conveyancing as well as a solid understanding of property marketing in your area. The solicitor or conveyancer will usually be responsible for the following: Drawing up and reviewing the contracts Conducting the local searches Corresponding with the Land Registry Managing payments, collection and transfer of funds Providing you with legal advice as and when you need it Complete the necessary paperwork You will need to provide some initial documents for the legal side of the sales process, such as proof of address, proof of identity, any guarantees that exist for appliances or building work, service records and electrical certificates. Once you have accepted an offer on your property you will need to complete a TA10 ‘Fittings and Contents’ form and provide the title deeds. Arrange viewings Property viewings can be arranged by yourself or by the estate agent – it depends on what you have agreed. They can be conducted by the estate agent or by the seller. If you are on a tight budget arranging and conducting viewings yourself can be a good way to save some money in the house selling process. Make sure your property is in a clean, tidy condition for each viewing. It does not have to be pristine, just a comfortable state for potential buyers to imagine themselves living there. Here are a few tips for what to do to prepare for a viewing. Accept an offer Once you have received an offer you are happy with, inform your estate agent. Make sure you discuss all the details and agree estimated dates for exchange and completion. It can be useful to put this in writing for the estate agent and the buyer – it will not be a legally binding contract, but helps to make sure everyone is in agreement. One element to confirm is whether the property will be taken off the market following the acceptance of the offer – some sellers prefer to keep the property on the market for a while. Completing the sale Negotiating the contract After accepting an offer, there will be a few details about the contract to finalise. This usually involves what is included in the sale price and what isn’t. A Fittings and Contents form should be completed to confirm these details. Your estate agent is responsible for writing to all parties to confirm the agreed price and any conditions of the sale. Exchange and completion Exchanging contracts and completing are the final steps to selling a house and where things become legally binding. A deposit of 10% of the sale price is paid by the buyer at exchange. After this point neither party can pull out without being liable for significant compensation. Exchanging contracts usually occurs once the following has been conducted and agreed upon by both parties: Preliminary enquiries and local searchesconducted Fixture and fittings to be included listed and agreed The buyers have a confirmed mortgage offer The completion date is the day the buyer and seller agree that all funds are to be transferred and the sale confirmed. This date will be influenced by the size of the chain you are in and the availability of your removals company. Moving out The completion date will usually (but not always) be the day you move home, and if you are buying a property, into your new home. You will need to move out of the property and ensure you have left it in the state agreed in the contract, and left all the fixtures and fittings included in the sale. Once moved out, ensure the estate agent has all the keys to the property to hand over to the buyer. Contact your local butters john bee branch for help selling your home If you are ready to sell, get in touch with your local butters john bee estate agent today and we can get the ball rolling for you.