5 Essential Tips for Selling an Inherited Home

Photo of author

(Newswire.net — June 9, 2021) –Have you recently inherited a home or other property? If so, you may plan on selling it.

You also might not know how to begin going about the process. On top of that, depending on your relationship with the deceased, the emotional implications of selling an inherited property can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Don’t worry if this is the case. While the specific steps you should take when selling an inherited home or property can vary somewhat from one state to another, the following general tips will help you better understand how to get started.

Research and complete the probate process

Typically, to sell an inherited home, you have to go through a legal process known as probate. This process is meant to ensure the way a deceased person’s assets are distributed aligns with their wishes. If they didn’t leave a will specifying how they wanted their assets to be divided, state law will usually determine who receives what.

The probate process differs on a state-by-state basis. Research the process in your state to determine what you must do to initiate and complete it.

Consult with others heirs (if necessary)

Sometimes, a person will leave property to multiple heirs. Additionally, other heirs may contest a will if a property is only left to one heir. If no will was left, it’s also sometimes the case that multiple heirs will inherit property as a result of the probate process.

Naturally, this isn’t an issue you need to concern yourself with if you’re the sole inheritor of a home or property. However, if others also inherited a portion of the property, you’ll need to discuss selling it with them. You’ll be unable to sell the property if the other inheritors refuse to sign off on the sale. This is true even if you’re the executor of the deceased’s estate.

Don’t assume you have no options if other heirs don’t initially agree with your plan to sell an inherited property. In these situations, mediators or family attorneys can often help heirs reach satisfying resolutions for all involved. Also, if one heir doesn’t want to sell the property, but you and any other inheritors named in a will do, they may essentially buy you out. You’ll no longer have any right to sell the property if this happens, but at least you’ll get some financial benefit from it.

Investigate the property

The individual whose property you’ve inherited may not have completely paid off their mortgage before their death. If so, you’ll likely need to identify their creditor and pay off the mortgage before you can sell the home. You also might need to settle any judgments or liens against the property. Consult with an attorney or similar expert to research the property and determine if you need to take any such action.

You should also research how certain applicable laws may impact whether you can sell a property right away. For example, sometimes it’s necessary to make critical repairs to a home before it can be sold.

It’s also a wise idea to learn about your state’s tax laws regarding the sale of inherited property. The IRS generally taxes the proceeds of the sale. However, the degree to which you may be taxed will depend on your state’s specific laws.

Maintain the property

Selling an inherited property can be a somewhat lengthy process (although the next section of this guide will explain one way you can potentially speed it up). Before the sale is complete, you’ll need to stay on top of certain maintenance tasks.

At the very least, you’ll need to regularly check on the property (or hire someone else to do so on your behalf) to check for storm damage, flooding, or other unanticipated damage that can occur when no one is living on the property to maintain it on a daily basis.

Maintaining a property before it’s sold also may involve more than mere physical upkeep. For instance, home insurance typically stops covering a home if it remains vacant for a certain amount of time. The standard is 30 days, but this isn’t always the case.

Check the insurance policy covering the property you’ve inherited to learn when coverage may stop. It might be necessary to buy a special policy that covers vacant properties before they’re sold.

Consider your options when choosing how to sell a home

Once you’ve addressed legal issues, paid off a mortgage, and completed all your preliminary research, you may be ready to start the process of actually selling an inherited property.

Be aware that you have many options to consider when deciding who to sell a property to. You also have various options regarding how to sell an inherited property.

For example, perhaps you inherited your parents’ house. When you’re preparing to sell it, you might assume the best course of action is first to clean it out, make any necessary repairs, and perhaps even make some upgrades to ensure the home appeals to potential buyers.

This is understandable. However, it’s important to be aware that selling to traditional home buyers isn’t the only route you may consider.

Some companies are essentially real estate investors that will buy inherited properties fast in “as-is” condition. Although you’ll still have to take such steps as paying off the mortgage and going through the probate process, you can often sell a home to such a company without cleaning it or performing repairs. All you have to do is remove any items you may want to keep. The buyers will take care of everything else. For example, they may donate items you left behind to local charities.

There are many reasons some people choose this option. First, cleaning, repairing, and upgrading a home requires investing substantial time and money. If you can’t afford to hire experts to make repairs, you might have to handle these tasks yourself, which can be very physically demanding. Additionally, you may find the process of cleaning out an inherited property to be emotionally draining. If so, you might be better off selling it in its current condition instead of restoring it to sell to a typical home buyer. On top of that, if the individual who previously owned the home was a hoarder, cleaning it out yourself can be overwhelming.

It’s also worth noting that selling a property to this type of company is helpful in situations when insurance may stop covering a property if it remains vacant for a period of time. Again, buying a separate policy that covers vacant homes may be an option in these circumstances, but it can also be a costly headache. Someone may choose to avoid having to buy new insurance by selling a vacant inherited home to a company that can purchase the home fast before the loss of insurance coverage ever becomes an issue.

What’s most important to remember is that this is just a general guide. You still must thoroughly investigate the laws and processes in your state throughout each step listed here. Luckily, if you keep these basic points in mind, you may discover that selling inherited property isn’t nearly as difficult as you assume it will be.