How To Get a Probate Property Valuation

When a person dies, the executor of the will (if there is one) needs to collect all of the deceased's liabilities and assets to work out the value of the estate. This will then form the basis of whether Inheritance Tax needs to be paid or not. The property is probably going to be one of the biggest assets left in a will, and you will need to get this independently valued before putting the house on the market. Take a look at this quick guide if you're unsure of how to start this process.

Inheritance Tax

Before you can put the house on the market, you need to obtain a Grant of Probate from the Probate Office. One of the steps to obtaining this is by filling out an accurate Inheritance Tax Form, and the only way this is possible is by securing an accurate valuation of the property. You should try and use a Chartered Surveyor to carry out this task for you. However, if that is not possible, then it's highly recommended that you contact three different estate agents and then take the average of the three valuations you were given and put that on the Inheritance Tax Form.

How will the valuation be made?

If you decide to use estate agents and surveyors to carry out the valuation on your behalf, then they will have strict guidelines to follow. They will use the 'Open Market Value' to decide how much the property is worth. The Open Market Value is the price a willing buyer would pay a willing seller if the property were on the market now - i.e. if the deceased had put the property on the market.

Once the valuation has been submitted to HMRC, they will check it to validate its accuracy. They will look at what similar properties in the area have been valued at and consider whether that valuation is acceptable. If the value is too low, then HMRC may contact you and ask you to justify this valuation. They may also contact the estate agents who carried out the valuation to defend their decisions.

However, if you have over-valued the property, HMRC will contact you. You may be able to claim back some of the Inheritance Tax. As you can see, getting the right valuation is a time-consuming and complex process.

What alternatives are there?

The condition of the property could severely impact on its valuation, and you may have to spend thousands of pounds renovating certain parts of it before putting it up for sale - limiting the amount of money you'll come out with at the end. On top of this, you then have to wait for the house to be sold, and this could be days, weeks or months in the making.

Here at Probate Purchasers, we guarantee to buy your property, regardless of its condition. The sale could even be completed in less than 48-hours. However, you will still need to get a Grant of Probate before we can buy the property. If you are struggling with this, or require legal advice, then it's good to know that we offer a brokerage service where we can put you in touch with experienced probate solicitors. 

Inherited properties cannot be sold prior to probate being granted. With the exception that your name is already on the deed, this requires the inheritor to complete a Grant of Probate. To achieve this, you will need to give your solicitor documents that will determine the cost of the home or estate. These range from documents including the death certificate to the deceased person’s mortgage information and bank statements.

Once the Grant of Probate has been confirmed, it is strongly advised that you should seek valuations from at least three professional valuers or chartered surveyors who should value the property by reference of the Red Book Guidelines.  This is primarily because valuations can vary widely, so it is best to work out an average before you begin with any selling negotiations. In some cases, if the total value is below £250,000, it is likely that HM Revenue & Customs will accept a reasonable estimate but property above this value will certainly need to be professionally valued.

You should ask each professional valuer to take into account things that may make the property more attractive to prospective buyers such as a garage, an extra bathroom or a large garden but remember that they are also able to take detrimental factors into account that may reduce the property’s value.  The property should also be valued on the ‘open market value’ at the date of the deceased’s death. This protects you against any sudden fluctuations in the market by representing how much the property would be expected to sell for at that time.

The cost of selling a probate property should not cost you any more in legal fees than the sale of any other property. However, inheritors should keep in mind other costs that may arise. You may need to pay for clearance of the house before selling it, this is known as ‘vacant property insurance.’ Comprehensive valuations should also determine whether there is any Inheritance Tax or Capital Gains Tax to pay.

When dealing with probate property valuation and the valuation of personal belongings, you will need to complete the following forms from HRMC:

·         Schedule IHT 405 – Houses, land, buildings and interest in land

·         Schedule IHT 407 – For jewellery, vehicles, boats, aircraft, antiques, works of art, or collections

·         Schedule IHT 408 – For household and personal goods donated to charity

·         Schedule IHT 404 – Jointly owned assets 

If you need to value a property or an estate, Probate Purchasers can help. We have a team with extensive experience in selling inherited properties, and we are always happy to assist clients who are looking for a quick yet trustworthy sale. Without the overbearing cost of agency fees, we help clients across the UK and provide expert advice on all aspects of probate properties.