Inheriting a house is often much more complex than it seems. Aside from the inevitable bittersweet feeling that accompanies it, you suddenly have a huge decision to make. Live in it, rent it, or sell it? Since you are reading this article, it’s safe to say you are considering the latter as a viable option. If that is the case, it’s important to acknowledge that the process of selling an inherited house is somewhat more complicated than usual. Still, there is no reason to panic as all you need is to prepare for what is ahead. Take a look at the following tips.
Examine the will
Before you begin the process of selling the home, you first have to ensure that you are indeed the one who is inheriting the property. Examining the will is essential as people often assume they are inheriting something only to be unpleasantly surprised.
It could be the case that there is more than one beneficiary. This slightly complicates things as all beneficiaries must agree with the sale or any other decision regarding the inheritance.
Apply for probate
The next step you will need to make is applying for probate – a legal process of proving the will or administering the estate in case the deceased has not left a will. During this stage, you will get the authority to access and control everything related to the property. In other words, you will get the right to sell it if you wish to.
The grant and finalization of probate can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Aside from being lengthy, the process can also get complicated, as you will be dealing with some delicate issues. With that said, even though you will likely be going through this with your family members, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a solicitor or lawyer.
Empty the property
Once you sort out the legal aspect of your inheritance, it’s time to move on to the more tangible part of the process – emptying out the house. Depending on your relationship with the previous owner, this might turn into a pretty emotional ordeal, so make sure to take your time with it and take breaks if you need to.
First, figure out what you want to keep. You might come across some childhood memories or other valuable items. If that happens, think about renting a storage unit, as this is the best way to store items of sentimental value.
Since you will be dealing with a lifetime’s worth of belongings, there will likely be many things in good condition that you don’t need. In this case, organizing an estate sale is an excellent idea as this is the quickest way to get rid of everything while earning a profit.
Arrange an inspection
An inspection is an essential step in the process of selling an inherited house. After all, unless you have already been living in the home, you can never be entirely sure of its condition and how the previous owner treated it. Potentially major issues could be hiding under the surface, and you want to learn about them before the buyers do, as they could use this to negotiate a much lower price.
Additionally, an inspection will tell you what aspects of the home you need to address to ensure a speedy sale and a satisfactory profit.
Figure out the value of the house
Both over and underpricing the house are scenarios you want to avoid. In the case of the former, the property might stay on the market for too long, which is every seller’s nightmare. On the other hand, you probably don’t want to sell the home for less than what it is worth.
You can use online value estimators, but the number you will get won’t be the most accurate one. For more precise information, make sure to contact a professional home valuer.
If you are not happy with the estimate, consider making a few improvements that come with a high ROI.
Prepare the house for sale
Tying into the previous point, you will want to do a few things to ensure the best price and a quick sale. This should include:
- Thoroughly cleaning the house;
- Painting the walls and making necessary improvements;
- Working on the curb appeal.
By presenting the house in the best light possible, you will ensure serious buyers and good offers. Of course, if you don’t have the time, money, or energy to invest in beautifying the property for sale, you can skip these steps. However, beware that your profits could be significantly lower in this case.
These tips for selling an inherited house should help you understand what steps you need to take. To additionally simplify the process, it’s advisable to seek help from professionals. A lawyer will lead you through the legal aspects of the entire ordeal, which is something you will probably appreciate during this emotional time. Still, whichever approach you decide to take, make sure to inform yourself of everything there is to know about inheritance and home selling so as to avoid any unpleasant situations in the future. If you take your time and put in the effort to do things right, you will ensure a smooth and straightforward sale.
Lola Daniel is a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer with ten years of experience in the real estate industry. Blogging helps her stay in touch with her career while allowing her enough time to devote to her family. In her free time, Lola likes tackling DIY home improvements and painting.