House Selling 101

How to Sell an Inherited Property

couple getting handed the keys to a house or inherited property

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Losing a relative is hard enough, but there are many headaches when settling an estate. The biggest of these is deciding what to do with an inherited property. You can move into it, rent it out, or sell it. If you choose to sell, these steps can help you avoid pitfalls and other surprises.

Step 1: Get Through Probate

Probate is the official proving of a Will to verify it’s genuine. During probate, the estate is administered, and beneficiaries are named. If you are the sole inheritor of the property, you can sell it while in probate. You may want to discuss your options with your probate attorney first.

Step 2: Sort Through the Deceased’s Financing

Sadly, when you inherit a property, you inherit its debt as well. Run a title search to discover if the property still has a mortgage, owes taxes, has liens or bills. All these need to be satisfied, some before selling and others with proceeds from the sale.

Step 3: Hire a Real Estate Agent (Optional)

There is a lot to do when someone passes away. If you don’t have the time or ability to sell a property FSBO, you might hire an agent. An agent can list and market the property, schedule appointments, and handle buyer negotiations on your behalf. In return, you pay them 3% to 6% of the sale price.

The agent must reside in the same city as the property. This way, they can access the local MLS and are licensed to operate in that market.

Step 4: Clean Out Personal Belongings

It is an emotional challenge to sort through a loved one’s belongings. It takes time and often involves other family members. Set aside cherished mementos, then organize the remainder of stuff into piles – what to keep, what to sell, and what to toss.

By removing clutter and depersonalizing living spaces, you improve buyer impressions during a walkthrough. Buyers want to envision themselves living in the house but cannot do so with another owner’s belongings in sight.

Step 5: Perform Maintenance and Clean Often

Consider hiring a professional home inspector to identify issues with the property. Decide with your agent which problems cannot be overlooked and make repairs.

For as long as the property is on the market, it is good to perform monthly maintenance and cleaning. This keeps the property functional and appealing to visiting buyers.

Step 6: Review Insurance Policy

A vacant property is more susceptible to vandalism and break-ins. For this reason, the recommendation is for the beneficiary of the property to get a vacant home insurance policy. The policy stays in place till the property sells and covers most incidents.

Step 7: Set the Price

After repairs and cleaning, schedule an appraiser to value the property. They will give you a fair, more accurate idea of how much the property is worth than an online search.

Skip the Stress, Sell to an Investor

The loss of a relative is not easy. There is enough emotional stress without adding the sale of an inherited property. For this reason, you might consider selling it to an investor.

Most investors offer cash for properties “AS-IS”. You can forgo repairs, maintenance and cleaning, and even leave behind those belongings with less sentimental value. The investor will close on a date that is most convenient for you, giving you time to adjust and make arrangements.

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