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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 19887
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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We (my wife & I) had an offer accepted on a property early

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We (my wife & I) had an offer accepted on a property early October. Our convenyancer received the contract documentation at the end of last week from the vendor's solicitor and has advised me they are awaiting probate before continuing with the searches. This is the first we have heard of the probate issue. The selling estate agent advised us that two brothers were selling the property so we assumed that it had been inherited but at no point were we told that probate hadn't been resolved. Our solicitor has spoken to the vendor's solicitor and it appears that the application for probate still hasn't been submitted.
Is the estate agent in breach of any law by not declaring this to us before showing us the property?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to help you with this today. Please bear with me if I ask for more information. Do you mind waiting to buy the property or is there some urgency?

 

The agent has not broken any laws, and neither has the seller by not declaring this.

 

However, it is extremely bad practice not to tell prospective buyer that there is going to be an inevitable delay of many weeks if not months, before the matter can progress.

 

I would get your solicitor to write to the Seller's solicitors asking when they expect the application for probate to be submitted and if they expect there to be any delay as a result of any contentious matters.

 

The probate registry take at least six weeks to process these even if they are straightforward.

 

Does that answer the question?

 

Can I answer any specific points?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

"Do you mind waiting to buy the property or is there some urgency?"


 


We are also selling a property and so we are in danger of losing the buyer if she is not willing to wait.


We are relocating from London to Bristol.I am in the process of applying for a new job and could be expected to give my current employer four weeks notice.


 


For both of these reasons we may find that we need to rent in Bristol until the probate is resolved. Is it reasonable to expect either the estate agent to compensate for this or to reduce our offer for the property?


 


"I would get your solicitor to write to the Seller's solicitors"


 


The result of a telephone call was that the seller's solicitor is "just awaiting some final figures from the bank in order to


submit the grant" but wouldn't give an estimated time. They did say they expected it to be not too long as there are no inheritance tax issues.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 months ago.

Thank you.

You can ask what you like, but they do not have to give it to you.

There is a "negotiation" technique which other people use and which I do not condone but it does happen and that is, but on the direct strange you tell them that you have changed your mind and you want to offer less money.

They may of course call your bluff and you may lose the purchase. It is a risk that you run.

"Awaiting some final figures from the bank," would not give me any comfort. I would want an estimate of when that is likely to be. But obviously, he is reluctant to do that. Because it is outside his control.

You can tell the buyer that either you exchange contracts by a particular date were you will have to look for another property. You might want to consider doing that anyway in case this one falls through for any reason. There probate becomes for some reason, unnecessarily protracted.

You are really just faced with hard negotiation and calling their bluff as you actually have no legal clout at this stage.

Does that answer the question?

Can I answer any specific points arising?
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 19887
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
Stuart J and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 months ago.
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