Probate properties can be extremely various and differ enormously in size, state and value. One thing they do have in common however, is that they more often than not need an extreme amount of TLC; the vast majority need to be sorted out and looked after long before they are sold.

Unfortunately, this process can be complex and comes at a time of emotional strain for the family and executors involved. Tackling legal and regulatory processes can be extremely difficult when in an emotional state but, to make the process as painless as possible, there are things that can be done to ease the stress.

The first step is to get a valuation by an RICS registered surveyor

A good service, like the one provided by Austin Gray and Auction House Sussex, starts with a, free of charge, initial discussion with a qualified valuer who will assess your situation and requirements. To make the process easy for you they will guide you on the best way to proceed. If required, we will also carry out a probate valuation and supply a detailed report with recommendations on the next steps.

The recommendation report will give you all the advice you need

It will provide you with much more than a standard value for probate purposes. It should include advice on the best method of sale, what might need to be done to the property to prepare it for sale, and on any clearance, tidying or improvements that would be beneficial. A good recommendation report has all of the property information executors might need when making estate related decisions.

Dispose of unused furniture and belongings

Unfortunately, in the process of selling the property, this is a necessary step, painful though it may be. A valuation by an RICS antiques and fine arts expert can prove extremely useful in sorting through items in the property. Auction House Sussex and Austin Gray are able to advise on the best routes to sell the items and can supervise everything from start to finish, leaving you to focus on other things.

Empty properties need to be prepared for sale or letting purposes

To take a weight off your mind, employ a property management team to undertake clean-up work, deal with security improvements and drain down the plumbing and heating systems. These are all necessary to ensure that the property is suitable for sale. The property team will also make sure meters get read, the property stays tidy and mail is sorted appropriately.

If the property has a garden, it’s also crucial that this be well kept up and maintained; we have expert, trusted contractors who will make sure this happens.

All properties that are to be sold or let, with the exception of listed buildings, will require an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An EPC is a legal requirement for all properties on the market, so it’s essential to make sure the property has one. A surveyor can prepare and organise this as well as supply copies and links to everyone who needs them.

Know your planning options

Probate properties often offer opportunities for extension or redevelopment; on some occasions there could be space for a building plot. Again, appointing an RICS registered surveyor who can consider options and advise you means that you won’t be left in the dark.

Decide how to sell

You will receive advice on the right method of sale depending on the property. This way you’ll be able to rest assured that the best price possible will be achieved for the beneficiaries. Common methods include sale by auction, or by private treaty – the type of sale usually depends on the condition of the property and suitability for each method. We occasionally advise an ‘Informal or Formal Tender’ to help achieve best price in a required time-scale.

Make sure the property is secure

Security is a key issue in empty properties. Make sure you get advice on security issues, and organise for a locksmith to undertake lock replacement and the fitting of security bolts as necessary. On vacant commercial buildings make sure windows and doors have security metal sheeting fitted as commercial property is susceptible to squatting.

Organise for your property management team to carry out regular drive-by inspections, security visits and checks of the property. Not only will this keep out intruders, it is also usually necessary from an insurance point of view.

Set up a single point of contact for property management

If you do appoint a property management team make sure you’re clear who your point of contact is. This will save any added stress and hassle for you when trying to sort things out or ask questions. Austin Gray and Auction House Sussex will always arrange for an individual to be responsible for the property and they will always be available on call.

Be aware of the alternatives

It is also possible to let a probate property for a period before selling it. Austin Gray and Auction House Sussex will advise you as to whether your property is suitable to let and can provide rental advice as well as management if required.

Austin Gray and Auction House Sussex are regional property professionals and are experts in a variety of property sectors. Our comprehensive probate property services are designed to take away the worry of dealing with the property and attend to any property related issues that arise. We employ a sympathetic approach which is sensitive to family needs, but professional and responsive at the same time. To find out if we can help you, please get in touch on 01273 201980 or email us at