Have you checked out what your parents’ house is worth? Half of people say they have – as two in five think they’ll rely on an inheritance to buy a home

  • Half of Britons have gone online to check what their parents’ property is worth
  • Two in five people are relying on an inheritance to help them buy a home
  • The average amount they expect to receive is £195,687, new research reveals

Half of Britons have checked what their parent’s house is worth, with two out of five people relying on an inheritance to help them financially in the future and buy their own home.

And yet most have not even talked to their parents about what inheritance they will be getting, new research has revealed.

Among those whose parents own a property, the average amount they expect to receive is £195,687, with the majority of this money (£182,621) coming from property inheritance alone.

Two in five people are relying on an inheritance to help them buy a property of their own

The survey by Zoopla found that 43 per cent of those with at least one property -owning parent were relying on an inheritance to buy a home.

However, only 30 per cent said they had actually spoken with their parents about how much they were likely to inherit.

Zoopla carried out the research among 2,000 people with at least one living parent who owns a property in December 2022.

The property website suggested that many people are making ‘lofty plans’ with inheritance that they have not yet received.

A total of 58 per cent of people said they expected to be able to move house, upgrade their home or pay off some or all of their mortgage as a result of receiving their inheritance.

Of those, 36 per cent are renting until they inherit, at which point they will buy to get on the property ladder, while 29 per cent have gone as far as to purchase a home on the basis they will be receiving inheritance in the future to help pay their mortgage.

According to the children, the primary reason for checking the value of their parents’ home was for their parents’ benefit, with 36 per cent saying it was to provide financial advice. 

The average amount people with homeowning parents expect to receive is £195,687

However, a third – at 33 per cent – admit the reason they checked the value was to get an estimate of their inheritance, while 27 per cent checked out of pure curiosity.

Beyond checking the value of the home, many even admitted to making plans for the home they expect to inherit while their parents still live there.

Among those expecting to inherit a home, nearly half at 44 per cent have designs on how they would change it and, perhaps incredibly, one in seven – at 14 per cent – have already started to make changes.

Despite the fact most people whose parents own a home are expecting to inherit it – at 68 per cent – fewer than a third – at 30 per cent – have asked them how much they are likely to receive.

The primary reason people give for not asking is they believe it is not any of their business – at 30 per cent – while others opt not to simply because it is too awkward at 13 per cent.

Some people have checked the value of their parent’s property in secret to avoid any awkwardness – though most were more open about it

Of the 12 per cent who checked the value of their parents’ home in secret, 30 per cent admitted this was because it would be embarrassing or awkward to admit they had checked.

Meanwhile, 25 per cent because they didn’t want to look money-grabbing or for their parents to get the wrong idea.

Discussing the topic of inheritance is often seen as taboo, with a quarter of respondents agreeing that it is not acceptable to talk to anyone about inheritance.

Some 43 per cent believe it is acceptable to talk to parents about inheritance, but only 19 per cent believe it is acceptable to talk to your children about inheritance.

Zoopla said this suggests that while children may be keen to discuss inheritance with their parents to help financial planning, parents would prefer not to discuss it.

Perhaps explaining why so many are wary of discussing the topic, 30 per cent say they have fallen out with family members in the past over inheritance discussions, and 51 per cent think inheritance could be the cause of family arguments in the future. 

Currently, 41 per cent of those with homeowning parents say they have never discussed inheritance with family.

Daniel Copley, of Zoopla said: ‘With house value data now available online, it’s interesting to see that so many are using this, not just to get an idea of what their own home may be worth, but to get an idea of the sort of amount they may get in terms of parental inheritance in the future. 

Two out of five people with homeowning parents say they have never discussed their inheritance with family

‘While some may consider this a little cheeky, it’s actually really important to have an idea of what may be coming your way in future, so you can plan financially for the long-term, especially with regards to property decisions.

‘The best advice is to have an open and honest conversation with your parents about this, but we know that most people – parents and kids alike – find the subject too difficult or awkward.’

Robert Green, of estate agents John D Wood & Co, said: ‘Many families discuss estate planning. Covid has perhaps jolted the, generally more healthy, baby boomer generation into considering what’s next.

‘For some, it’s possible to pass on wealth in a more tax efficient way, though this can be at the expense of losing control of the money pre-death, meaning there needs to be a healthy surplus, or a high degree of trust with the children and any spouses.

‘The “Bank of Mum and Dad” is also a way of passing on wealth, often by helping with a deposit. We frequently see high value property in affluent areas such as Chelsea funded fully by parents, who wish to set up their children, and seeing this as a sound way to do so, while avoiding inheritance tax in due course.’


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