For some, the thought of being left an ancestral home by a parent or grandparent is an honor and a privilege. However, if the thought of living in and maintaining Great-Grandmother Susanne’s ancient Victorian manor fills you with as much dread as the idea of staying in a haunted house, you’re not alone.
There are many reasons why people sell inherited houses. The debt obligation remaining was too high, the property taxes were enormous, the maintenance required to maintain it siphoned all their money, you name it. If you’ve found yourself holding the title to an inherited house, and you can’t wait to be rid of it, our guide will show you how to sell it off like a pro.
How Long Does It Take to Sell Inherited Houses?
How long it takes to sell inherited houses depends on a variety of factors. These factors can include, but are not limited to:
Executors and Probate
If the deceased in question drew up a last will and testament, transfer on death deed, or living trust, then the house belongs to the named executor. If a will or other document did not exist, then it’s up to the probate court to decide how the house and other personal property will be divided or sold in the best interests of the deceased. This process could take as long as two years to finalize.
Things get even more complicated when multiple heirs and executors get involved, as in the case where a pair of siblings gets left their family home. One may wish to maintain and rent out the home while the other wishes to sell it. So, making sure your loved one has clear plans in mind in the event of their death will smooth out the process.
How Much Is Owed
If there is any mortgage or other debts remaining on the home, that can affect both your timeline for sale and how much you get back. When you sell inherited houses, especially those in the process of being paid off, you run the risk of not recouping any money once the sale is complete. Keep that in mind before you make the decision to sell.
Whether Current Tenants Exist or Not
Another potential complication you may face is if any tenants are living in the property you inherited. You can’t go about selling an inherited house out from under legal tenants without notifying them and adhering to their contract. You may have to wait a few months, or even a few years, before selling the home if tenants live there.
The State of the House
If you want to sell your home fast, you can always opt for an as-is sale. However, this will cut down on the amount of money you may have received if you fixed it up. Depending on the degree of repairs necessary, this could drag the process out for several months. It’s up to you to decide whether the ultimate payout will outweigh the initial cost of investing in repairs.
What’s the Procedure for Selling an Inherited House Fast?
So, you’ve inherited a house, and you need more information. Now that you know about some potential factors which can complicate your timeline and procedure for selling the home, let’s discuss the standard order of events, from start to finish.
1. The Home Gets Transferred to You, the Personal Representative
Assuming your deceased loved one had a valid will, the house gets transferred to you. With this action, you often become the ‘personal representative’ for the deceased. This designation demands high levels of attention to detail and organization, as you will now handle all the accounts which must be closed out.
You will need to speak with every one of the deceased’s creditors, utility companies, and other accounts to ensure all debts get paid off. No one will inherit a dime until this matter gets sorted, so it’s best to handle this as soon as possible.
2. Re-Examine the Taxes, Mortgages, and Other Costs
Make sure that selling the inherited house is the right move. If there’s a massive amount left to repay on the mortgage, you may wind up owing less in the long run by renting the old house out to tenants. If you or someone else in the family wants to move into the inherited home, you need to consider the property taxes and homeowner’s insurance costs of the area.
Thinking about these matters now, and deciding how you intend to handle paying the taxes, insurance, mortgage, and other expenses, will save you a great deal of time, money, and headache later on.
3. Mediate and Address Disagreements
You and your family members may not agree on the best course of action for the house. Even if you all wish to sell it, some may want it gone as soon as possible, where others may want it fixed up before it gets sold. You don’t want your family, already hurting due to the lost loved one, to shatter over the matter of inheritance.
4. Prepare the Home for Sale
First things first, you need to ensure the property remains insured throughout this process. Then, go through and distribute the deceased’s personal property among yourselves to help clear out the inherited house.
Even if you decide on an as-is home sale, you may still want to invest in some minor cleanup and repair projects to ensure maximum value for your home. Once you have your listing set up, it’s time to wait for a buyer.
5. After the House Sells
When you sell inherited houses, you have to ensure, as stated above, that any remaining debts get paid with the proceeds. Once all debts have been paid off and all closing costs are paid out, you may distribute the funds you’ve earned as agreed upon either in the will or during mediation.
Looking for More Real Estate Tips?
Understanding real estate, and all the complicated legal and financial jargon that comes with it can be tricky. Whether you’re someone who wants to sell inherited houses or buy new ones, you can benefit from checking out the Law section of our blog for more articles like this one!