Like you, every property is unique, so we’ll just need a few details before we can make you an offer.
If you’ve recently inherited a property, or know that you’re going to shortly, it can be an incredibly difficult and stressful time in your life. We know that dealing with selling a house is already a huge burden, so we wanted to do what we could to help. Whether you’re looking for advice on how to sell your inherited property, or how you can use it to create an income, we’ve got the answers for you here.
What can I do with an inherited house?
When you inherit a house, it is usually because you’ve lost someone important to you, so your mind is understandably elsewhere. Because of this, you may not always have the time to think about what options there are when you inherit a house and what you can do with it, so we wanted to outline it for you to keep things simple. There are a few options for you, but the most common are -
If the property has been left to more than one of you, especially in the case of a family home being left to siblings, it could cause problems if one of you wants to sell and one of you doesn’t
If your sale takes a long time to complete, which is to be expected as the average house sale in the UK takes over 6 months, you will be liable for this period to pay the mortgage if the house still has one, council tax, and home insurance as well as any utility bills until the house sells
You may be saying goodbye to a home that you grew up in, which can be incredibly emotional and difficult for many homeowners who are selling an inherited property.
Sometimes, if you’ve inherited a family home, you’re not ready to sell it on, but it isn’t always feasible for you to move in. In this case, some homeowners with an inherited property will choose to rent the house out to make some money without having to say goodbye to the house completely.
There is a chance that the market will improve over time, meaning that the house value increases, and you can sell the house on for a higher amount
The option of tax reductions on some of the expenses involved in maintaining the property, such as damaged interiors, cleaning, and gardening
This can be a great option if you already own your own house and don’t want to let go of the house that you’ve inherited, especially if you’ve been keen to look into becoming a landlord but not had the opportunity until now. However, there are some negatives to doing this -
Being a landlord comes with a lot of responsibility, and you will have legal obligations such as fire and gas safety, gas and electrical appliances being maintained and PAT tested, as well as protecting your house by ensuring that you’re renting to the right tenants that won’t damage the property
You will also be responsible for dealing with any repairs and damage that is caused, especially emergencies such as burst pipes or boiler breakdowns. This can be stressful for you as you will need to be available 24/7 to deal with problems, and can become especially difficult if you don’t live close to the area. This is why, often, landlords will employ an agent close to the property to deal with these issues to lessen the responsibility and stress on themselves
If you’ve inherited a property that currently has tenants living in it, the first thing that you should do is to speak to the tenant(s) and find out what their expectations are. It may be outlined in the will what happens to the current tenants - deceased landlords will sometimes leave in their will that they want the tenant to stay in the property, or that there is a rental agreement in place for a certain length of time that needs to be honoured. If this isn’t the case, you will have to come to an agreement between yourselves. You can then outline from there whether the tenants are going to leave the property or if they are staying, and under what agreements they are going to stay.
Do I have legal responsibilities as a landlord?
If you inherit the property and the tenant stays in the property, making you their landlord, you will have to abide by certain laws. These include
The Disability Discrimination Order, 2006
The Sex Discrimination Order, 1976
The Race Relations Order, 1997.
If you have no previous experience as a landlord, it’s worth getting some legal advice on these orders so you can confirm that you are being fully compliant and not leaving yourself liable for the tenant to take any legal action against you. You will also have responsibilities as a landlord, such as -
Taking care of any repairs to the exterior/structure of the property
Taking care of any repairs to the interior of the property, which includes water, gas, and heating
Ensuring the property and any included furnishings and fixtures are fire safety tested
Making sure that the property is fit for habitation, dealing with any potential damp, animal infestations, or other issues that would mean the property is not fit to live in.
As a landlord, you are entitled to view and inspect the property as well as entering it to carry out any repairs that are needed, but you will legally need to give a minimum 24 hours’ notice before entering the property. If you don’t provide this, the tenant is within their right to refuse you entry.
I want to sell the house, what do I do?
If you don’t want to keep the property, especially with a tenant living in it, you can do this. You’re able to list a property for sale with a tenant living in it and advertise it as tenanted. This can sometimes mean that the property takes longer to sell, as it does narrow down the audience that you can attract, however, investors and landlords looking to expand their portfolio are attracted to these types of properties with someone already living in the house, they don’t need to find their own tenants.
Can I move into the house myself?
For anyone who inherits a property and doesn’t already own a house, moving in can be the perfect option, especially if you were keen to get onto the property ladder and were previously renting a property. If the tenants are happy to leave, or the property is empty, you should be able to move into the house yourself with no issue, and if there is a mortgage you can apply to have the payments switched into your name if you can afford to pay this each month. If, however, the mortgage is higher than you can afford, you may face a problem. Another problem can arise if you’ve inherited the property with a sibling, and you’re struggling to agree on a final decision.
Can a sibling force the sale of an inherited property?
Often when a house is left to more than one person, it can be hard to come to an agreement of what to do with it. Emotions are usually running high if a loved one has been lost, and it can be an incredibly vulnerable time for some, making it difficult to come to a decision on what to do. If you’re in this situation and one of you is keen to sell but the other is not, you may wonder if the sale can be pushed through.
Generally, siblings will agree to sell the house and split the money, but if one of the inheritors isn’t happy to do this, they can prevent the sale. If this is something that you’re experiencing, there are a few options for you -
You may agree to rent the property out between you, and split the income.
You will need to come to an agreement with your sibling(s) of what to do with the property between you, and decide what will have the best outcome for you all. If your sibling refuses to sell but cannot afford to buy your share, you will need to come to another agreement between yourselves, whether that be paying you a certain amount each month until your share is covered, or for you to have full claim to something else left in the will to you both that would cover the value of your share of the property.
What else do we need to know about joint ownership?
Joint tenants, which will mean that everyone involved has equal rights to the property. If there are several siblings who are involved, if any of them are to pass away their share will be shared equally among the remaining siblings. This will mean that the surviving sibling will own the house entirely
Tenants in common, which means that while each of the siblings have a share of the property, it isn’t necessarily an equal percentage for each sibling. This can make it easier to buy other siblings out of ownership if they have smaller percentages, to then be able to either own the property outright or sell it on down the line
Can I refuse an inherited property?
While inheriting a house is often seen as a blessing in a difficult time, it isn’t always a good thing. Some inheritors find themselves in a position where they just don’t want the stress or responsibility of the house. The most common reasons that inheritors refuse their inheritance are -
The house needs major repair before it could be made habitable and the inheritor doesn’t have the funding, interest, or time to complete these
The taxes that would be involved are too high - this is especially relevant if the inheritor is looking to rent the property out as a landlord as they would need to pay income tax on the rent that they earn through the property
For whatever reason, sometimes you just don’t want to deal with the house. This can be the case if it’s inherited from a family member you no longer want to associate with, or if it’s going to be too much trouble for you and you’re not interested in it
You should be aware that if you want to refuse a house in your inheritance, you will have to refuse the entire inheritance, you cannot just refuse one part of it. This can cause issues for some people who do want to inherit certain assets from their recently deceased family member, but not their house. If you are not the only inheritor, you may be able to come to an agreement with the other members involved, but in general, you have to refuse your entire inheritance, not just one asset from it.
I want to keep the house; how do I transfer ownership?
Probate is a process that makes sure that a will is a valid, legal document. It also confirms that the executor of the will, who represents the deceased, is processing the will in the way that it has been requested. An executor will need to get a grant of probate that gives them the legal authority to carry out the wishes in the will.
After this, you will need to complete an inheritance tax form. This form will vary depending on how you are related to the deceased, and the value of the property that you have inherited.
If the property value is below £325,000, and the property has been left to a spouse or civil partner, you will need the form IHT205. If you are a child/grandchild of the deceased, this amount goes up to £425,000.
If the property value is above this or left to someone else that is another relation to the deceased, the form will be IHT400.
The next step is to send your application to the Probate Registry. You will need other information and documents within this, including the deceased’s death certificate. At this point, you will also need to swear on oath that all of the information that you’ve provided is true.
You can then start the official transferral process, by filling in the AP1 form. This is an application to formally register yourself as the homeowner, changing the ownership on the register. Once this has been done, you will fill in the TR1 form, that transfers the property into your name. Next is the ID1, which will allow you to prove your identity when you register your application with Land Registry. You will also need the signature of a licensed solicitor or conveyancer. You can then send this to Land Registry, and homeownership will be transferred in 5-6 weeks.
How long does the probate process take?
When applying for probate, depending on how quickly you’re able to get the relevant documents together and complete the application, it usually takes 4-6 weeks. If there are any inheritance tax payments needed to be made on the property, or if the form has any errors or missing information, this can be delayed. To reduce the risk of mistakes delaying this process, you can choose to have a solicitor to deal with the paperwork. This will generally speed things up, but there is no promise, and you will need to pay for the solicitors’ time.
Is there anything I need to consider when transferring ownership?
1. Any effect on the mortgage if the property has one
When inheriting a property with a mortgage, you will need to qualify to take on the monthly mortgage payments. If you have bad credit, or a low wage, you may not be an ideal candidate for a mortgage, which will mean your application is at high risk of being declined. You will want to make sure that you can afford the payments and are in a position where you will be approved when considering taking an inherited property on, as if the mortgage is going to be too high you may need to consider other options.
2. Tax implications
If you already own a house, you will need to look at how your tax brackets will be affected if you take on a second property. You may be liable to pay income tax if you choose to rent out one of your properties and make a profit from it, and you will need to declare this to HMRC.
Am I still considered a first-time buyer if I inherit?
Now more than ever, getting onto the property ladder is incredibly difficult, and often the only way for some to be able to do so is by inheriting a property from a deceased family member. While you have not bought the house that you’ve inherited, once it is transferred into your name you are considered a homeowner, meaning that if you were to buy afterwards you would no longer be considered a first-time buyer.
Some inheritors are happy to take on the property that they’ve inherited and own it, however, this is not always the case. If you have inherited an old-fashioned, outdated property, or a property that isn’t suitable for you to live in, especially if it’s fairly small and you have a family, you may choose to sell. With this, it allows you to use the proceeds from the sale for another purpose.
Can I buy a house with inheritance money?
If you sell the property that you’ve inherited, or you inherit money rather than property, you’re able to use the proceeds however you wish. As saving up the amount needed for a deposit on a property is increasingly more difficult, often those who have inherited will choose to take this money and use it as their deposit to be able to buy a house.
'Can We Buy Any House help me sell my house?' - Learn how we can help you today!
The amount that you need for your deposit will vary dramatically based on the size of the property that you’re looking to buy and where the property is based. It will also depend on the mortgage that you’re looking to get - your deposit can range from 5-20% of the property value. If you have inherited a large amount of money or having sold an inherited house you’ve got the full proceeds to use, you may decide to buy the property outright instead.
Do I have to pay inheritance tax?
If the value of the deceased’s entire estate is less than £325,000, you will not need to pay inheritance tax. If the full estate was left to a spouse, civil partner or a charity, there will also be no inheritance tax paid, no matter the estate’s value. In other cases, where the estate has been split between various people and the value of the entire estate is more than £325,000, inheritance tax is 40% of the estate over that value. Generally, this tax will be paid out of the estate before it is given to you, so you shouldn’t have to do anything, but if this hasn’t been done you will have 6 months to take care of this tax before you are charged any form of interest.
What about gifts?
Sometimes, relatives will gift items before their death when they know that they will be leaving it as an inheritance but don’t want to wait until death to do so. If you have been gifted something, you might be liable to pay inheritance tax. If the value of what the deceased has gifted, whether it be one item to you or several items to various family members, is more than £325,000, tax may be applied. There is a 7-year rule in place, which we have outlined below;
Years between the gifts given and the deceased’s death
Percentage of tax that will be applied
This allows you to see if you may need to pay any inheritance tax, and what percentage that you might owe.
What about capital gains tax?
If you inherit something, such as a property, and decide to sell it on, you may need to pay capital gains tax. This tax is incurred when you make a profit from selling, and you can calculate the amount that you need to pay with our capital gains tax calculator. There are a few exceptions that will mean that you don’t need to pay capital gains tax -
If you live abroad and you’re selling a property in the UK
You are selling a lease for a property
The property is a compulsory purchase property
Will I owe income tax on the property?
If you keep the house that you’ve inherited and choose to rent it out, you may have to pay income tax on the rental income that you will get from doing this. Income tax will apply to any profit over £11,500 that you earn from rental income, however, this is based on your turnover rather than just gross profit. You can subtract your annual personal allowance and fill in a self-assessment tax return form to confirm if you need to pay any income tax.
You will need to make sure that you look into what tax you may need to pay on your inherited property so you’re fully aware from the start of any payment that may be due and you don’t get a nasty surprise at the end of the tax year.
What are my options if I’ve inherited a house in debt?
If you’ve inherited a house that has debt attached, it can be incredibly daunting, and you might not know where to start. One of the biggest worries if you’re in this situation is if the house is in negative equity, which means that the debt attached to the property is more than the value of the property itself. This can happen when property value drops, and can affect houses that have a large loan secured to the house, or a vast percentage of the mortgage still outstanding. If you’ve inherited a house that’s in negative equity, you can opt to refuse the inheritance so that the debt doesn’t become your responsibility.
It’s important to know that by doing this, you will refuse everything that has been left to you in your inheritance, not just the property, as you cannot pick and choose what you do and do not inherit.
It’s worth looking into seeing if the deceased had any kind of credit insurance that can assist you in paying off the debt so you can still take the house without having to worry about the debt being your responsibility. If you’re in a position to, you can use your own funds to pay off the debt and keep the house, but this isn’t a very common outcome, so inheritors in this situation will often try to find other ways to deal with the debt. You may be able to transfer the debt to your name and arrange a payment plan with the lender, but you will need to talk to them about what is feasible for you to pay each month.
You’re not in a position to take the property on and pay the mortgage
You may have thought that the debt would be cleared after death, but this isn’t the case
You might not have been aware that they were mortgage payments due
It wasn’t clear who’s responsibility it is to pay the mortgage payments
A mortgage lender can start the steps to repossess after one missed payment, but generally they are flexible and will allow some time to try to find a resolution before moving ahead with this. If you were completely unaware of the mortgage and have only found out at the point of the repossession order, it isn’t too late to save the property. You are able to contact the mortgage lender, explain to them the situation and what you have in mind to resolve the issue, which will usually be you taking on the payments. Repossessing a property isn’t an easy process for a lender, and so they will usually be more than happy to work with you to find a solution and prevent the foreclosure.
I’ve inherited a property with a reverse mortgage - what does that mean for me?
A reverse mortgage allows homeowners over the age of 62 to tap into the equity in their property, halting their mortgage payments and owing the full amount of the mortgage upon their death. This is generally done by homeowners who aren’t intending to leave their property to someone as an inheritance, and the idea is that the property gets sold when they die, and the mortgage is paid from the proceeds of the house. This isn’t always the case, however, and so if you’ve inherited a property that has a reverse mortgage on, we can help.
You will have 6 months to pay off the outstanding amount of the mortgage before any interest starts and increases the amount, and if you’re in a position to you can pay this out of your own pocket and keep the house yourself. This isn’t a position that most people are in though, and you will often need to sell the house to be able to pay this loan back. One of the positives of a reverse mortgage is that even if the amount owed is more than the property value, the lender cannot try to get the remaining amount from other parts of the deceased’s estate, so anything else that you’ve inherited is not at risk.
While this is not a very common occurrence, if a homeowner has not left a will that outlines what they want done with their estate it can be a confusing time for those who are left to deal with it. If a homeowner dies and has not left a will, their estate will go to an immediate spouse. If there is no spouse, the estate will go to the nearest blood relative, in the below order of priority according to the law -
Siblings, or their descendants
Half siblings, or their descendants
Uncle or Aunts, or their descendants
Half Uncles or Aunts, or their descendants
If there is no one else, the whole estate will be passed to the crown
It can be an incredibly stressful and long process identifying the correct inheritor when no will has been left behind, especially if you know that the deceased would have had different intentions as to who would receive what assets. If there is no will, however, the estate will be left to the spouse or blood relative. You may be concerned about the payments that are due to be made for the property during this time, but mortgage lenders are understanding in these times and will have experienced it many times before you are having to, and will generally provide a grace period for payments until the assets have been divided.
I’m going through a divorce and have inherited; will this be involved in my settlement?
When you deal with divorce, items will be split into marital and non-marital assets. Marital assets will be split in the divorce proceedings, generally 50/50, but this can vary depending on the situation and the judges’ verdict. Non-marital assets will usually be left out of the divorce proceedings. As long as your inheritance falls into the non-marital asset category, it will not be involved in the settlement. You can also apply for a consent order, which is a legally binding document that outlines how things will be split in divorce, and prevent your ex-partner putting in a claim for your inheritance, especially if you’ve inherited during or just after a divorce settlement. This is a good way to protect yourself if you know that you’re due to inherit and think that your ex-partner may try to claim for a percentage of it.
'Can We Buy Any House help me sell my house?' - Learn how we can help you today!
Inheriting property can be an incredibly difficult time, but it can also help you into another chapter. Whether you decide to sell, rent, or move into the property yourself, you can take all the time that you need to make the right choice for you and see what will be best. If you’ve recently inherited a house and have decided that selling it is the best decision for you, we’re here to help you through it. We Buy Any House can provide you with a free cash offer on the property, allowing you to sell in as little as 7 days and help you move forward from the loss that you’ve experienced.
No matter what reason you’re looking to sell your house, if you can do it in a faster and easier way than the traditional house sale, why wouldn’t you? We Buy Any House can offer you exactly that – a quick, hassle-free sale that relieves you from the stresses of the property market and lets you focus on the other things that are important in your life. Get in touch with us today for your free cash offer and see how quickly you can sell!