Should I change ownership on Land Registry if I intend to sell an inherited property?

I inherited a small flat my husband bought as a single man years before we were married when he died last year.

As well as the main beneficiary of his estate I am also executor. Since Probate was granted I have paid off the mortgage. The mortgage provider has updated the Land Registry so they are no longer listed on the title (I purchased a copy this morning to check).

To avoid selling the flat, I used some of my own money to pay off the mortgage balance. The estate was solvent but there wasn't enough cash in the estate to pay off the mortgage in full as well as pay off other debts such as a credit card. In other words, if I didn't want to use my some of own money that I was saving up for a deposit for a property we planned to buy together, I would have had to sell the flat to pay off the mortgage.

I've never owned a property before and I plan to buy one in the next year or so when I have to move out of our military accommodation. The flat isn't big enough for me, our children, and our dogs so I'm reluctantly planning to sell it so that I can buy a bigger property with a small LTV mortgage rather than the burden of a larger mortgage. I'm aware that as a first time buyer I can benefit from some schemes and mortgage deals. 

I'm also keen to avoid stamp duty. I don't think capital gains tax will be an issue because the property has barely appreciated in 15 years and is actually worth slightly less now than it was when I applied for probate. 

The current tenant has expressed an interest in buying the property from me, so time lines are somewhat dictated by their ability to pull a deposit together and get a mortgage approved. The tenant has been in the flat for years so I'm willing to make my timeline work with theirs to some degree. The tenant will pay the market rate but we can obviously avoid estate agent fees, use the same solicitor, etc to save us both money.

My questions are:

If I leave the property in my late husband's name, will this complicate the sale if it happens next summer for example (two years after his death)?

If I change the Land Registry title into my name because I've inherited the property, do I therefore lose my first time buyer status despite never having bought a property?

Am I doing something illegal if I don't update the Land Registry? Am I legally obligated to do so? I obviously don't want to accidentally break some rules.

Are there any other things that I haven't thought of that I ought to be aware of?


  • BooJewels
    BooJewels Posts: 2,863 Forumite
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Post Name Dropper
    edited 15 March at 1:51PM
    I can't comment on the first time buyer stuff, as I've no experience, but I've sold 2 estate properties recently and didn't change the land registry on either before sale (on the solicitors advice) - one was 2 years between death and completion.   They were sold by 'the estate' and Probate and the Will give you the legal authority to do that.  Plus it saves costs, as it becomes part of the buyers conveyancing tasks to put the property into their name.

    Plus, if you transferred it into your name now and there was any time differential in selling and buying your new place, you might get into stamp duty territory too - if you ended up owning both properties simultaneously.
  • badmemory
    badmemory Posts: 7,788 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    If you put it into your name (which is not necessary) you will no longer be a first time buyer.  So that is a no.
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