Loss takes a huge emotional toll on people. It’s never easy to lose a parent. The loss of a parent – regardless of how young you might be – is always devastating. On top of all the grief, the frustration, the stress, and the heartache you may also have to navigate handling your parent’s estate at the same. Navigating these kinds of decisions on their own is plenty stressful enough. Mix in the loss of a parent as well and it’s a recipe for disaster. Hopefully, though, with the help of this detailed guide, you’ll have a few more tools to help you better navigate selling a deceased parent’s home.
Tips on Selling a Deceased Parent’s Home
Figure out the Executor of the Estate
The first big piece of the puzzle is to identify the executor of the estate. It doesn’t matter if there was a clearly outlined will and testament or not, the executor still needs to be identified, still needs to be contacted, and the probate process needs to be moved forward. A lot of people understand that they have or are inheriting property but do not have a concrete grasp of how the actual inheritance process unfolds. Before a home that has been inherited can be put on the market and sold the executor of the estate needs to “green light” this process – as they are the only ones authorized to make these kinds of decisions.
Notify People that Should be Involved in the Process
After identifying the executor it’s important to notify all invested parties as well. This means identifying all heirs and potential heirs, debtors and creditors, and anyone else that may have some sort of claim or attachment to the property as well. Estate attorneys can be hugely helpful in this department. These are the kinds of legal experts that will know exactly how to locate these people, properly identify these people, and notify them on a case-by-case basis depending on the part they play in this process.
Hash Out Inheritance Expectations
In an ideal world, there would be no inheritance issues that could bubble up after a parent has passed away. In the real world, though, it’s not at all uncommon for even the most well-planned and perfectly executed inheritance situations to go a little sideways. These kinds of situations can also get very contentious. This is why it is so important to jump ahead of these issues while they are still relatively minor, resolving them quickly to the satisfaction of everyone before they grow into full-blown emergency disputes. You want to square this away ASAP and is early in the process as possible. Professional mediators may be necessary to get these kinds of agreements over the finish line. Taking advantage of that helps to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Consider Working with a Real Estate Professional
Of course, it may not be a bad idea to work with real estate professionals that are particularly experienced with these kinds of transactions to help you navigate everything from A to Z. These kinds of experts are going to be able to walk you through the entirety of the process from start to finish, outlining all of the key milestones that need to be met to complete these kinds of sales while also giving you dialed in expectations for how things could unfold moving forward. It’s especially advantageous to hire these kinds of professionals to help when you’re dealing with an out-of-state or out-of-area transaction. These “boots on the ground” real estate experts can really move things along for you.
Determine Your Sale Price
Right out of the gate, it’s important to get a firm idea of the home’s current value – as it is right now, this very minute, and in this very market. The odds are pretty good that a home inherited from a recently deceased parent isn’t going to be able to be put on the market straightaway. This is often a months-long process to move through probate and the reading of a will, and sometimes it takes even longer than that. At the same time, having concrete information about the value of a home that may be put on the market will help things move along much faster
Settle Your Parent’s Personal Financial Positions
A lot of children of deceased parents are surprised when they get a look “under the hood” of their parent’s financial situation for the first time. While children won’t take on personal debts parents may have incurred when they were still alive, they may be inheriting the debt attached to the property that they are inheriting – and they will certainly take on the regular and ongoing bills for property upkeep and maintenance. Squaring all of this away early in the process is critical, too. You want to gain access to the financial accounts you’ll need to resolve any debt issues. You’ll want to run a title search to make sure that the title is free and clear. And you’ll also want to notify any creditors with a certified death certificate so that they know that the property is changing hands – and why.
Review the Home Insurance Policy
It’s never a bad idea to have a closer look at the home insurance policy attached to this property, either. This is especially true if the property is going to sit open and vacant while it’s on the market. A lot of home insurance policy providers raise rates on these kinds of properties, particularly because they are at a significantly higher risk for break-ins, vandalism, and the like. This is something worth investigating, anyway.
Secure the Property if Left Vacant
You also want to take the necessary steps to lock down the home, securing all entrances and exits and making sure that it is (as much as possible) protected from thieves and vandals. Switch out the old locksets for new keys, too. That way you’ll be sure you (and anyone else you provide a copy to) are the only ones with authorized access.
Research Tax Implications
It’s going to be impossible to avoid tax implications when you sell a property like this, so there’s nothing wrong with researching what those tax implications can be even before you sell the property itself. You may be looking at capital gains taxes. You may be looking at real estate taxes. And you’re probably going to be looking at other taxes as well. Thankfully, though, you may also be able to take full advantage of different tax breaks and programs that lower your financial burden, too. Research this early in the process and you’ll have the best chance of mitigating that final tax bill as much as possible.
Have a Plan for Selling Personal Property
After you have taken care of the majority of the details above – all of which revolve around selling the actual home itself – you’ll want to start thinking about how to sell any of the personal property inside the home that you don’t want any longer. We are talking about things like:
- Large electronics
- Furnishings and decor items
… And anything else that you want to either go with the home or would like to make some money on before you sell the property itself.
Selling Inherited Property
Most real estate professionals are going to recommend that you “stage” inherited property to sell in a little faster, giving potential homebuyers a better idea of what their new home could look like if they decided to go all in. You might want to do minor repairs, renovations, and updates – never enough to really chew into your profit potential, but enough to make your home a lot more attractive to potential buyers. Finally, you’ll want to make the decision to actually list the home itself. When listing, it’s smart to prepare the property this way.
If you decide to sell your inherited house to an investor, you won’t have to do repairs. This is a faster way to sell a deceased parent’s home. You can sell the property as-is, which means you won’t have to fix anything before closing. Additionally, you won’t have to stage it or work about trash left behind. It’s the easiest and quickest way to sell an inherited property.
Dealing with Deceased Parents’ Home
At the end of the day, if you don’t intend on keeping this property – or using it while it sits on the market – it’s important to move it just as quickly as possible. The longer you hold on to a property that you’ve inherited the more money you are going to have to spend each month to cover things like the electric bill, the water bill, pay for security, and anything else that you might be on the hook for. Time really is money in this situation – and a quick sale is usually the way to go! Click here to learn about how we buy inherited houses.