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I am an executor and in the process of selling the deceased’s property. Will I still be able to complete the sale and what if someone in the chain is unable to do so?

The Government published guidelines on 23 March 2020 concerning house sales.

Estate Agents have been required to close their offices and although staff are allowed to work from home they must not attend properties for any reason.

Therefore, if the property has not yet been put onto the market you will be unable to obtain a proper valuation at present. Also, restrictions on movement means that people must not view properties in person. Therefore you ought to delay marketing.

If you have found a buyer and the property is empty then the transaction can go ahead but you may experience delays in the transaction. For example, if your buyer needs a mortgage there will be a delay in getting a mortgage offer and even if it’s a cash purchase there are likely to be delays with Local Authority Searches.

You should discuss with your conveyancer whether to include special contract conditions. These could take into account what happens if the buyer or someone in the chain falls ill between exchange and completion and cannot move on the anticipated completion date.

If you have exchanged contracts the Government guidelines indicate that the sale of an empty property can go ahead to completion. However, if the contents of the property have not been removed you may have difficulty getting it cleared. Similarly, your buyer or someone else in the conveyancing chain may find that their removers are unable to move them. If this happens, you ought to discuss this with your conveyancer and your buyer as soon as possible to see if completion can be delayed to a later date.