Some purchasers read ‘deceased estate’ in the marketing brochures and for some reason think that they can get a bargain property.

It is true that there are some advantages to buying a deceased estate – namely that the beneficiaries are not normally emotionally attached to the property and usually the property HAS to be sold.

However, buying a deceased estate has its disadvantages too, which purchasers should be aware of:

1. Deceased estates normally go to auction. If you’re looking to buy a property quietly off-market, it’s unlikely that you’ll be buying a deceased estate. Normally, the executors will want to be able to show the beneficiaries of the estate that they have done everything they can to maximise the value of the property – and the safest way to be able to demonstrate that is said to be via an auction campaign.

2. The disclosure may not be satisfactory. Vendors (and agents) normally have some responsibility to disclose material facts known about the property during the campaign (or when asked) – things like whether there are any unapproved works, termite damage, rising damp or issues with neighbours. Often executors, not having lived in the property or owned it, genuinely cannot provide any information about these things when asked, and so there’s a gap in a purchaser’s due diligence.

3. There may be delays to settlement. A lot of the time deceased estates are sold ‘subject to probate’ which is a court process that can take many months (and occasionally years). So the settlement date is often longer than usual and variable – which makes it difficult to plan for if you’ve got expiring loan approval or a tenancy that you need to move out of. If absolutely need to move into the property you are purchasing by a set date, then a deceased estate is going to present difficulties.

Whether you’re buying a deceased estate or something else it is important to be well-informed about potential legal issues before selling your property. The expert team at Dott & Crossitt Conveyancers + Solicitors can guide you through the process and you help you navigate these legal complexities to ensure a smooth property sale experience.