Inheriting a house can be emotional and stressful. Loss of a loved one is a major event. The home in which they lived represents cherished memories. A beneficiary may feel obligated to maintain the property, especially if the home has been a long-time family icon.
The recipient should look at their life and separate emotional ties to determine how the new responsibility fits into their life. The new owner should look at:
• existing mortgage, taxes, and fees
• needed repairs and upgrades
• monthly utilities
• what to do with the contents
• options to reside, rent or sell
Before changing the beneficiary can take ownership, state law has to declare who has the right to the assets after settling debts.
Who Owns The Property
Unless stated differently in a legal document, the spouse, children or siblings are common heirs to property. The estate must go through probate court. The court will:
• validate ownership
• determine assets
• access taxes and debts
• allow for debts to be collected
• distribute remaining assets to beneficiaries
Probate laws and mandated waiting periods vary state to state. Florida probate typically takes 4 – 6 weeks but may take up to 4 months in some cases. In the meantime, mortgage and property taxes must stay current to prevent foreclosure of the inherited property. After the court confirms ownership and settles debts, the beneficiary can then decide what to do with the property.
Choosing The Stress-Free Option
With legal ownership confirmed, it is time to address the future of the estate. For some, sudden proprietorship of an inherited house may be too stressful. With added financial responsibility, physical upkeep and memories around every corner, the favored option may be to sell the property as quickly as possible.
Working with a property investor can make selling the home less taxing. The process for this selling option is much faster than the conventional method of hiring a Realtor and has several advantages.
1. You may be able to negotiate selling the contents of the home, so there’s no need to pack.
2. Investors buy property “as is” removing the expense for repairs or upgrades.
3. Investors offer cash.
4. Since financial approval is not needed, the closing process is faster.
5. You will not be paying commission. Therefore, you will gain the total profit.
Here are some questions you can ask a potential candidate:
1. How long have you been an investor?
2. Do you have a website I can view?
3. Is there a fee for looking at my property and discussing options?
4. How do you determine the dollar offer for my house?
5. Is there room to negotiate contents of the house?
6. Will the closing be handled by a professional?
Shop around and interview more than one investor. Make sure you feel comfortable with your choice. Ask questions no matter how silly they may seem. Express and understand expectations. Document all agreements and terms.
Enjoy your inheritance the way that’s best for you.