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How to buy deceased estate property in South Africa

Buying deceased estate properties can often be achieved at a more favourable price. We explain why, and how the process works.

Buying Deceased Estate Property

Article summary:

  • Deceased estate properties can often be acquired at lower prices.
  • The deceased estate is handled by an executor, who must be authorised by the heirs to sell the property.
  • The process is similar to that of buying a regular property, although there are some differences, such as the need for the Master of the High Court to authorised the sale.

In a property market where prices have been on the rise for some time, any opportunity to acquire property at a lower price is valuable. Properties from deceased estates provide a realistic chance of doing so.

Why is that and how does the process work? We explain.

Why you can get deceased estate properties at a lower price

The heirs of the estate usually aren’t as invested in it as they would be in a home that they themselves have lived in.

They’ll have limited knowledge of the property, such as what alterations have been conducted on it and the effect they’ve had on the value.

Executors are obliged to sell the property at market value so as not to undersell the heirs. Nonetheless, home buyers can hope for a more favourable price.

Purchasing property from a deceased estate: How does it work?

It’s not that different from purchasing a regular property. One major difference is you’ll be dealing with the executor of the estate rather than a home owner.

The executor of the estate needs to have been authorised by the heirs to sell the property. The executor may appoint attorneys and agents to deal with a potential purchaser.

Once a sales agreement is signed, the executor submits it to a conveyancing attorney, who transfers the property from the deceased to the buyer, as would happen with a regular property.

Deceased estate property transfer costs

When an heir inherits a property, the transfer costs are paid out of the deceased’s estate. However, with a property purchase, the transfer costs are paid by the purchaser and are the same as they would be a with a regular property.

You can use our Transfer Cost Calculator to determine the transfer fees you will pay on a property purchase.

The Role of the Master of the High Court

Another major difference in the procedure is that permission from the Master of the High Court must be obtained before going ahead with the sale.

The documents, signed by the heirs of the estate, are submitted by the conveyancing attorney to the Master’s Office. There is no standard turnaround time for this part of the process, so it can bring about delays.

Can an executor purchase the estate property?

This is indeed legal, so long as the executor purchases it for the market value, and the beneficiaries all sign off on the deal.

Find out whether you can afford the property

Before attempting to purchase a property, it helps to know what you can afford. You can find out by getting prequalified with ooba Home Loans.

Prequalification assesses your credit record and determines what you’ll qualify for based on that.

You can get prequalified by contacting an expert at ooba Home Loans or by using our free, online prequalification tool, the Bond Indicator.

Get prequalified for a home loan today

DIY with our online prequalification tool, or speak to an expert.

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