Have you recently inherited a house from a loved one that has passed? Now you’ve gone from caring for your aging parents to caring for their belongings after they passed on.
As if you didn’t have enough on your plate already, now you have to worry about what to do with their home and their possessions.
It can be a stressful time. You have to consider what’s right for you, what pays respect to your deceased loved one, and what your other relatives want as well.
Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to figure out that next step. See below for an in-depth guide on what to do when you inherit a house and how it can help you during this time.
Repair the House
First and foremost, you want to fix things up a bit in your loved one’s old house. This will make any course of action that you take a lot easier. Whether you decide to sell it, move into it, or rent it out, a house with new renovations will be attractive!
However, for those of you that are intending to sell the home and don’t have the budget to repair the house, fear not. You can sell to a cash buyer who will purchase the home as-is with no need for you to repair an inherited house.
For those of you interested in making repairs, you can do so without breaking the bank. If you do things like repaint the walls, power wash the siding, or integrate new hardware to your kitchen cabinets, you can make the property more enticing to interested buyers.
Decide What to Do With the House
Whether you are the sole heir to the property or you have inherited it along with a few other family members, it’s important to decide what to do with it.
This is a big decision, so don’t feel like you need to rush into it. See below for more information on the three routes you can take when you have inherited a house.
1. Sell the Property
Some of you have already decided that you want to sell the property. If so, then there are a few things that you need to consider.
First, be sure to research how to avoid owing capital gains tax on the property during the selling process. If you plan to hold onto it a bit before selling, then expect to pay some taxes on the property.
As previously mentioned, you can either choose to sell your property to a cash buyer to avoid making repairs or stage the property with a realty service.
2. Rent the Property Out
Perhaps the property that you’ve inherited is in a desirable location. If so, then you might consider turning the property into a house that you can rent out.
You can rent out as a leasing unit, vacation rental, or put it on Airbnb. However, if you’re planning to rent it out, there will be specific repairs that you should make.
This is a tremendous option for those of you that want to make the property your retirement home one day, make a bit more income on the side, or just have a place for you and your family to vacation whenever they want to.
3. Move Into the House
Maybe you’ve always had your eye on the house that you’ve inherited. Perhaps it’s a more desirable property than the housing that you’re currently in. Whatever the case, moving into the home is always a viable option.
The trickiest part becomes when multiple people have inherited the home. If that’s the case, you’ll have to get their blessing for you to move in. Remember, they have just as much of a legal right to the home as you do.
Even if you are the only one that inherits the home, you might still want to get the blessing from other members of the family. Consult with a tax professional to see how to make sense of things like inheritance tax, capital gains tax, and so on.
If their property is far from where you currently live, be sure to read up on long-distance moving tips as you plan out the logistics.
Update Insurance on the Home
Now that your loved one has deceased and left you with the home, it’s time to start moving things into your name.
The first thing on your list should be the homeowners’ insurance policy that’s on the house. Reach out to their former provider and ask what changes need to be made.
Next, go through all of the different accounts for utilities such as water, gas, electricity, and so on. You and everyone else that inherited the house will have to share the load on monthly bills for the foreseeable future.
Go Through Your Loved One’s Belongings
This might be the hardest part of the entire process. No matter what you decide to do with the house moving forward, there will come a time where you need to clear out your loved one’s items.
Make sure to get the entire family and their closest friends in on this. This gives them all a chance to walk through memory lane, receive some closure, and maybe even go home with a thing or two from their belongings.
Every item in the house either needs to be reused, donated, or thrown away. Give yourself some time by scheduling time every weekend to tackle the items that they left behind.
What to Do When You Inherit a House: Take as Much Time as You Need
While time is certainly a big factor in what to do when you inherit a house, be sure to give yourself the time that you need to do so.
Start thinking about what you intend to do with the home. Once you figure that out, everything else will start to fall into place.
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