There is a tendency by the media to paint this rosy picture that property inheritance is a glamorous affair.
While it could be in some cases, this is not always the scenario. It can be an entangled matter, especially when multiple heirs are involved, or in cases where the mortgage still exists. Or if you decide to hold onto the property, the taxes you have to contend with, not forgetting the repairs.
But for the sake of the point we want to get across in this post without going through all the possible scenarios, let’s assume maybe – just maybe – you are the sole inheritor of the property. And there is no existing mortgage.
What do you do with the property?
Making the right decision can be hard, especially if you are going through trying times emotionally.
However, what you need to do is get your house in order, figuratively and literally speaking. You need to weigh the pros and cons, and in an ideal outcome, you will choose the path that has more pros for everyone concerned.
Talk to your Siblings
If you are the only child, you just need some time to muse things over and have that internal dialogue with yourself.
If there are siblings affected by the inheritance of the property, it’s only fair to consider their feelings and talk to them about your decision. This also tends to avoid any potential conflict. This recently happened to me, and there was a lot to discuss and consider among my brothers. Just a few years back we all had a Pool table delivery service give them quite the surprise and the pool table had actually been used quite a bit. They were big fans of the gift. In short it won’t just be a matter of discussing what to do with the property, but the memories that lie inside.
So as just stated, basically before you do anything with the property you will need to sort out everything within its confines. There may be stuff that other members of the family want but weren’t mentioned in the document, so you need to figure out a way to parcel out these things.
Whatever is not wanted or can be considered trash should be donated or disposed of. When there is nothing left in the house, time to give it a thorough scrub. Don’t forget to clear out the basement and attic as well.
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Keep, or Sell?
This is the million-dollar question, and it may not be the easiest to make, unless you have a case where someone wants to move in the house, whether it’s you or a family member.
When you do decide that it’s probably best to put the house on the market, you will need to find a buyer and get the property market-ready.
If you don’t want to do any of these things, then you should consider renting out the house, so you either need to play landlord or find someone to manage the property on your behalf.
Selling the Property
If you arrive at a decision to sell the house, you need to factor in all things that will go into readying it for the market.
You also need to tie any loose ends with regard to making sure family members who feel aggrieved by that decision don’t get in the way. Loose ends like sorting it out amicably?
If the house is in disrepair or could do with a little remodeling, that’s a recommended option to take, provided you carry out repairs that will provide a return. If there are no funds to renovate, or you are not interested in doing so, then you should find an investor to take it off your hands.
A reliable real estate agent could come in handy when you want to sell the house, or to consult on the possible options you should take.
Whatever you decide on doing, selling can end up being a lengthy process, and this could be due to multiple factors, examples of which include the location of the property, value of the property, current state of the market etc. etc.
If you decide to rent out the house, this means you are turning it into a business venture. It’s a wise decision to take if the returns will be worth it, and provided you can live with that.
But it not as easy as finding a tenant and pocketing the rental income each month. No. You need to put the effort in so as to ensure the property will appeal to potential tenants. This could involve making some necessary improvements or doing a makeover.
If you would rather avoid all the business aspects, hiring a property manager might be a good idea. This will take a bite off your profits, but sometimes it’s worth it if you don’t have the time, or would rather avoid all the intricacies involved in rental assets.
Retaining the House
If you decide to keep the house, make a decision on who is going to live there, either you or another family member.
Transfer things into the owner’s name, and flip the utilities over as well.
Whichever decision you make, you will need a plan of action as each will involve its own different steps to completion. Whether it’s hiring assistance such as a property manager or repair specialists, investigating potential buyers, or making checklists, a clear plan will help you anticipate how things might unravel.
Above all, don’t forget to keep all property paperwork as you will have to deal with taxes, irrespective of what you decide to do.
Lastly, having a Plan B never hurts, you know, in case things don’t go according to plan.