Your Ultimate Guide to Selling an Inherited Home

inherited home

It’s a difficult time. You are grieving over the loss a close relative.

Out of the blue, you’ve discovered that they’ve left you a property. Your world is turned upside down. It feels like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. 

Getting your head around the implications that come with the sudden acquisition of a new property is tough. Should you move into the property?

Would it be better to sell it? Is the property totally yours or could there be another beneficiary as well?

All these questions and you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one too. 

It’s time to take stock. Take a deep breath and soon all will become much clearer. Let us help you through the process with our ultimate guide to selling an inherited home.

Probate Comes First

You can only sell the property once the estate has gone through what’s known as the probate process. Put simply this means that the wishes of the deceased are signed off legally.

If there is a Will then the process is far simpler. Normally there is a person named in the Will as the executor. It’s their job to make sure the whole probate process is completed with the necessary legal stamp of approval.

Once the process is complete and, if you are the sole beneficiary of the property, then you should be in a position to consider selling.

Remaining Mortgages on the Home

If there are still mortgages to be paid off then things can become more complex. There could also be unpaid income tax debt that needs settling too. 

An authorized representative or an executor will do their best to trace creditors and may be in a position to renegotiate payments. That could see a reduction in the amount of money that needs paying back. 

Whatever the total owed is, it will have to be paid out of the total sales of the property.

Tax Implications

Once you’ve decided to sell the house, there will be tax considerations to take into account. How much you may have to pay will greatly depend on the value of the house.

You won’t get the same tax breaks that you would get if you had lived in a house for several years and then decided to sell. However, you will be to take advantage of what is known as a stepped-up tax basis.

In this instance, what the deceased originally paid for the house is taken into account. This is taken into consideration along with the current market value and the actual amount you sell the house for. 

This system helps prevent those who inherit properties from facing huge tax bills.  That could happen if properties that have gone up dramatically in value.

Whatever the proceeds from the sale, they will need to be reported to the IRS. It is always wise to employ the services of an accountant to help you through this process.

Selling to a Real Estate Investor

There are some great benefits in selling your home in this way. Firstly it allows you to be far more involved in the sales process. If you need to sell your home quickly then this could the simplest option for you. 

Once you have contacted the real estate investor they will then contact you to evaluate the property. They will be able to make you a no obligation cash offer. If you accept the offer the deal can be signed and sealed within a few weeks.

They may also be able to offer you the proceeds of the sale as a lump sum or in monthly payments. 

Make Your Life Easier

This can be the most straightforward method to sell an inherited home. It will take away many of the inconveniences that come with selling in the traditional way. This is especially true if the inherited home is far away from where you are based.

The big advantages are these:

  • Normally a far speedier sale 
  • Immediate cash offers can be made
  • You won’t have to carry out repairs
  • The chance of a commission-free sale
  • No open houses to organize

It is true that the price you could be offered may be less than the one you might receive on the open market. But you need to offset this with all the hassle you will be saving yourself. 

Weighing Things Up

If you have no emotional investment in the house, it may that you are just looking to sell up and move on quickly. Your circumstances may also mean that you need cash fast.

Remember that most offers from Real Estate Investors will be obligation free. You will also be able to use any offer as a point of negotiation. It’s a really good idea to research this idea carefully and see if it’s right for you.

There will be nothing to lose in going through the process of selling your home in this way. Once you have the offer, you don’t necessarily have to accept it and can always change your mind at that point.

Getting Ready to Sell Your Inherited Home

The people best placed to sell your property on the open market are real estate agents. It’s wise to take your time when choosing the agent who’s going to be right for you.

You’ll need a person that’s an expert in your area. It’s a good thing to go with an agent who is recommended by people you know. Use your social network for this. 

It is best to avoid using a friend or relative as the actual agent themselves. It’s better to keep friendships separate from your business deals.

If you live in a different location from the inherited home then consult a Real Estate Agent who specializes in this kind of sale.

Personal Effects

Before any sale, you will need to clear out the property of the previous owner’s belongings. This can be very painful if the deceased was a close family member or friend. It will though increase the property’s marketability.

Garage sales, auctions, estate sales or hiring professionals are all great ways to dispose of the estate’s belongings.

Donating items to charities or thrift stores is another option. It’s a wonderful thing to do, and it will relieve you of all the responsibilities and stress of dealing with all the items involved.

To Repair or Not to Repair?

If the condition of the inherited home is not great, then it could mean you are going to have to spend thousands of dollars on repairs. An unattractive house may hard to sell on the open market. 

The first thing to do is hire in professional cleaners. This will show up all the issues that may need some attention.

Kitchens and bathrooms are usually the two most important rooms for any buyer. Updating the home is going to help achieve a sale. Landscapers and external decoration may also be needed to give your property curb appeal.

It’s also wise to invest in the services of a home inspector who’ll be able to point out any structural problems that need sorting straightaway. 

Keeping on Top of Everything

While waiting for your sale, life goes on and the responsibilities that come with owning a home don’t end.  

You’ll need to make sure that sufficient house insurance is in place. Make sure that you keep on top of utility payments. Is there anything you can do to mitigate the chance of plumbing or electrical problems?

Check whether or not there are any local requirements to keep lawns or yards maintained. 

An empty home is also a natural target for thieves and people who are without a home and looking for somewhere to stay. Investing in a good security system could be one of the best investments you make.

Setting the Price

If you’re realistic and reasonable here you will likely reap the rewards. You don’t have to set the price at the same value as for similar properties in the area. 

Go for a realistic figure which is not going to turn prospective buyers off. It’s then up to the Real Estate agent to negotiate the best possible price for you.

A reliable Real Estate Agent and lawyer are there to help with the sale. What they charge may sound like a large expense. They should though be able to speed up the sale. That’s going to save you time and money.

Potential buyers are going to get a better impression of the house if it looks its best. A house that looks as though someone has cared about is likely to sell faster. 

Moving On

Receiving an inheritance is often a good thing. It shows that someone has appreciated and cared about you. It also comes with a lot of responsibility and potential conflicts.

If distances are an issue, and if you’re not planning to live in the inherited home then achieving a fast sale could be the best outcome for you.

Get in touch with us so that we can let you know how much your property’s worth. We can make you a quick and reasonable offer that’ll give you peace of mind at a difficult time.