What happens when you are looking to buy a house but the person you are buying it from suddenly dies?
This is a question that not many of us encounter but some of us will, so it’s worth investigating in further detail.
First of all, it’s necessary to look at who owns the home? Did the deceased person own it outright or was the mortgage shared? If they owned the home outright then the ownership of the home passed to whoever inherits it in the will. Also, is there any outstanding money left to pay the bank or building society in the form of a mortgage?
None of these matters are your direct concern obviously, but they will have a knock on effect: the sale of the house will be delayed significantly whilst the Will is read and acted on.
It could be that if the house was in joint names then the remaining party may no longer wish to sell the house meaning that the sale will fall through. Should ownership of the house pass to another person you may find that they are keen to sell it and wish to progress with the sale ASAP. This is often good news for the homebuyer, but sometimes, the superstitious amongst us will not like the thought of buying a house in which someone has died.
If contracts have been exchanged prior to the death then usually the house sale will progress, but if not you can expect lengthy delays. For those readers interested to know more on the subject of house buying where the seller dies, you can read this useful post: https://www.co-oplegalservices.co.uk/media-centre/articles-sept-dec-2016/what-happens-when-someone-selling-a-property-dies/