I Just Inherited a House | Now What?

(May 10, 2015)


You might think you are set financially.  You inherited a house and you think it's easy money. However, you might not actually be ready to own a home, and it could be more trouble than it is worth. First, you have to think about all of the legal issues. Do you need to go through probate? How long will it be before you can take possession of the house? Can you afford to maintain the house?  How much are taxes? Can you sell the house fast, if need be?  

You also need to think about the taxes on the inherited house. This is just the beginning though. Things can become even more convoluted and troublesome for you.  We buy houses that have been inherited and are just too much to handle.  I can absolutely relate to people in that situation.  It can be tough.

The Shape of the House 

Is the house in good condition or is it in disrepair? If the house is older, there will likely be some flaws and problems with the home. It might not make sense to use the home or even upgrade the home, and you might make more money if you just sold it. When you are trying to figure out what you should do with the inherited home, you need to make sure you understand the home’s quality. Get an inspection so you know where all of the problems are. This will help you determine whether it is worth keeping.

The Cost of the House

If the house is in disrepair, the cost of fixing things might be higher than you anticipated. Homes have other costs associated with them as well, such as property taxes and insurance. Owning another home might not be feasible for you from a financial standpoint. If you are renting now, try to determine whether it would be cheaper for you to move into the house and take on any repairs before you make any big decisions. 

What about the Personal Effects?

Often, when someone inherits a home, he or she inherits everything in that home as well. You have to consider what you are going to do with those items. Will you keep some of them, sell them online, or hold an auction or an estate sale? If you have the time, you can do anything you want. Of course, if you don’t have the time, it might be a better option to sell to an investor. In those cases, you don’t have to remove any of the items from the house at all. We actually bought a property in 2011 that was an inherited home. The woman who inherited the home wasn’t able to remove the belongings because of her health, so we bought the home and took care of it for her. We were even able to return some photo albums and antiques we found, too.

What’s the Best Thing to Do?

When you are deciding whether to keep the home and live there or rent it out, you need to think about the benefits of selling the house. If you already have a home, or you don’t want the hassle of owning the house, selling to an investor might just be your best option.

inherited house

Jennifer Shenbaum

Written by Jennifer Shenbaum

Jennifer Shenbaum is a real estate investor based in Southern California. She is a veteran of the housing market crash of 2007. Best of all, she offers free remodeling ideas to all who ask.

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