When you inherit property, you may want to live in it, but more than likely, you will sell it. It may seem a simple proposition to sell a house, but you technically may not own it yet despite a will reading. Even if you’re a finance whiz, you’ll want to consider the tips below before selling a passed family member’s home.
Hire a Lawyer and a Real Estate Agent
You’ll need to hire a lawyer and a real estate agent, but hire an attorney first. They can help you determine how your family member transferred the home. If they wrote the transfer into their will and it must pass through probate first, you can’t sell the home until you can close the probate. Probate court can take up to three years to complete.
Your family member may pass it to you using a transfer on death deed or via a living trust, both of which circumvent the probate process and provide you with more immediate ownership. The attorney can also help you determine if the executor of the will can handle the sale for you. Legally, the executor can only sell the home if it is in the best interests of the estate. You may have to wait until probate ends to sell the home, at which time you will own the home.
Look at Your Family Member’s Advanced Directive
Check for an advanced directive, also called a living will. Your family member may not have such a document; only about 37% of American seniors create this end-of-life planning document that instructs their beneficiaries on how to proceed in case of a sudden illness or incapacitation. This document provides instructions on the maintenance of the home or sale instructions.
Consider Amenities the Home Offers
Work with your real estate agent to determine the home’s most important amenities. For example, the home might have solar panels. That energy source has grown in recent years, with the PV market valuation at $4.7 billion in 2016. A solar energy house, smart home, swimming pool, or fitness room all merit featuring in the house’s listing. Focus on the amenities and any recent updates to the home. If your family member had a new roof put on in the past five years or updated the flooring, feature this in the listing.
Handle Inheritance Disputes Before Putting the House On the Market
Your lawyer can also help you mediate any inheritance disputes that arise. You need to settle these before the listing, much less the sale, of the home. This includes determining the split of the sale and obtaining permission to sell from each individual who holds a legal right to a percentage of the home.
Be Patient During the Selling Process
You made it through probate, or the executor can handle the sale for you. Even then, you should prepare yourself for the reality that it typically takes about 65 days to sell a home. As long as you can wait a couple of months, you can sell the home. If you want a quick turnaround that makes money overnight, that’s not happening. Even if you sold your own home to which you have a clear title, it would take about two months on the market.
Prepare for a wait if you need to sell a home in an area with little turnover. Homes in rural areas or areas with little migration may take longer to sell. Some homes remain on the market for a year or longer before selling. You may need to offer a lower price or agree with a buyer to make updates or upgrades to the home before you can sell it.