I’ve Inherited a House – Now What?

Dealing with an inherited property is not always as easy as people think.  There are many important decisions to be made and depending on how many heirs are involved it can be difficult to simply come to a consensus on what to do with the property.

In this post we’d like to go over some of the available options and provide a few tips that might help as you go through that decision-making process.

What to do with the property?

There are basically three options:

  • Sell it
  • Move into it
  • Keep it as a rental

If you are the only heir and you are currently a renter, it can make sense to keep the house and move into it.  Sometimes the inherited property may be larger and have more modern updates than the house in which you currently live, in which case you may want to upgrade and move into the inherited home.   However if there are multiple heirs it’s often not practical to move anyone into the home, in which case you’re still left with two other options: rent it or sell it.

Keeping an inherited property for a rental can be a good investment if it’s handled properly.  The first step is often hiring a contractor to take care of any deferred maintenance (or doing it yourself).  Once the property is in good shape you can begin searching for a tenant.  Be sure to thoroughly screen all applicants – this is a key step to successful rental.  Many a bad tenant has turned what should have been a cash-flowing property into a bottomless money pit.  The final step after placing a tenant in the property is deciding how to handle the daily property management.  Some people like to do it themselves while others prefer to hire the management out to a professional firm.  Doing it yourself can save some monthly profit, but if you’re not a handyman then using a management firm is just another expense to deduct from the rent.

At times even keeping the property for a rental is difficult to do in a situation with multiple heirs.  It can be hard to equally share the responsibility and workload of managing the property.  It often gets shouldered by one person alone which can be a potential cause of friction and conflict down the road.  Many times the decision is made to sell the property and distribute the proceeds among the heirs.

Common methods for selling a property

There are several options available when it comes to selling a property.  Listing on the MLS with a realtor is one of the most common.  This is usually a great way to sell for the highest dollar amount, but it often requires spending some money on the front end to attract the high-spending buyers.  Renovating and repairing the property and installing the latest trendy home features and upgrades will increase your ability to achieve max dollar.  However listing your property does require some patience as you wait for buyers to find your property and then try to qualify those buyers.  This can often be a months-long process.

Advertising properties as “For Sale By Owner” has become very popular over the last few years, especially with the rise of the internet.  There are several websites that will allow you to post your home “for sale by owner.”  You will still need to make any necessary repairs or updates if you want to attract serious buyers, otherwise you might have to settle in for a long waiting game.  You are also responsible for scheduling viewings and showing the property to potential buyers.  And while you don’t get the same amount of market exposure as when listing on the MLS, you do get to avoid paying a realtor’s commission and fees.

And finally there is selling your home to a real estate investor.  This has become popular in situations where properties need repair or renovation or there is a need to sell quickly.  Most investors will buy properties in as-is condition, meaning the owners do not have to make any repairs.  The trade-off is that selling a house in as-is condition usually results in a lower sale price compared to renovating the property and listing it on the MLS.  Many times homeowners that are unwilling or unable to wait several months to sell their home will decide to work with an investor, and in most cases they are able to sell their property within 30 days.

We believe it’s important to take all of these options into consideration.  Real estate is not a one-size-fits-all game, and what works in one situation may not make sense in another.

If you’ve considered you options and you think selling makes sense for you, we are here to help.  We know that you have needs and our goal is to provide you with solutions to those needs.  We put forth our best effort to be a useful option and present you with helpful solutions to your needs.

Our motto is simple: we believe that if we can’t provide a solution that works for you, then we can’t buy your house.  It’s as simple as that.

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