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Agent secures qualification to tackle probate sales backlog

A Somerset-based estate agency director has come up with his own approach to clear a backlog of probate or ‘Red Book’ sales.

Andrew Simmonds, director of Parkers, is already a chartered surveyor but has also become a RICS-qualified registered valuer in an attempt to speed up transactions where a property valuation is needed for tax purposes.

He said the need for accurate probate valuations is becoming a more common issue.


Simmonds told Estate Agent Today: “I am personally dealing with four probate sales at present and there seems to be no rhyme or reason for delays.

“In some cases probate seems to be granted in four weeks, where it’s simple, but can be taking much longer in some cases.”

He said he has seen complex cases take 16-18 weeks, adding: “Where an estate has multiple properties, solicitors need to prepare their probate documents before submitting to HMRC and get it as right as possible otherwise there are complications with capital gains tax (CGT) after probate is granted.  

“I’ve been involved in a five-property valuation recently which really complicated an estate.

“That needs careful consideration when preparing my Red Book valuation.

“One such sale I’m handling; the vendor is holding exchange as the sale exceeded, by some margin, the probate valuation and she or her solicitor needs to prepare the CGT calculations before exchange.  That’s very frustrating for a chain.”

Explaining why there are more requests for valuations, Simmonds said: “Historically solicitors would rely on three estate agents to provide market appraisals and select an average but executors have asked for these valuations to be low in order to avoid tax, especially where they may keep the property.

“This has resulted in the knock-on effect of a reduction in tax collected to HMRC.  That’s why times are changing with valuations.”


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