No matter how young or old you are, losing a parent is heartbreaking. It’s the kind of traumatic life event when you’d most like to turn to your parents for comfort and advice, if only they were still with you.
To make matters worse, you must deal with the headaches of settling your parents’ estate while you’re grieving. This process often involves selling their house — a physically and emotionally taxing affair.
If you need to sell an inherited home, you have a long to-do list in front of you. However, you can reduce some of the stress by working through the process step-by-step.
Establish the status of your parents’ estate
Most adult children know they’ll be inheriting their parents’ home one day, but too few understand exactly how the house will pass into their hands. You need to know the steps your parents took to give you ownership of the inherited property before you can even think about selling the house. There are primarily three ways to inherit a house from your parents: through the probate process, by a transfer on death deed, or via a living trust.
Identify the estate executor and notify all interested parties
Just because you’re an heir to your parents’ estate, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a decision maker when it comes to selling the house.
If your parents’ will, or the probate court, has appointed a personal representative (or executor, or administrator), then that person typically calls the shots when selling your parents’ home.
The heirs aren’t the only parties interested in the dispensation of your parents’ estate. If they owed debts when they passed away, those creditors will need to be paid.
Typically, the estate attorney will already have this information. However, it makes sense to ask your real estate agent to run a title search, too. A title search may find invalid judgments that you’ll need to fight and have dismissed before selling the house.
A single decision maker is the best-case scenario when selling a house as part of the settlement of an estate with multiple heirs.
However, in some cases, no such decision maker is appointed (or named by the probate court), which means all heirs will have equal say in when and how the house is sold.
When all heirs have equal say in what happens to the house, it can result in years-long legal battles and costly attorneys’ fees.
Handle inheritance disagreements before they become full-blown disputes
You’ll need to address potential points of conflict early to save yourself and your siblings’ time, money, and stress throughout the inherited home sale process.
So sit down together and come to a decision on all of these details:
- Who’s responsible for preparing the house for sale
- Who’s funding the home sale expenses (and whether it will come from the estate)
- How you’ll split the proceeds
- How much the house is worth
- Who will give the go ahead to accept an offer
Your best bet is to list out every heir’s duties during the settlement of the estate and come to an agreement on a fair division of the proceeds — even if it’s not equal.
If you can’t come to an agreement, you may need to enlist the help of a professional mediator.
Remember time is money
You’ll be shelling out money to cover the bills for the inherited home every month you continue to own the home. The sooner you sell it the less you pay in operating costs. And you don’t want buyers to view a dark, unlit home because you forgot to pay the power company.
The clock is working against you so the faster you make decisions and the more realistic you can be about price and preparations, the better off you and your family will be during this stressful time.
While selling your deceased parents’ home is always a difficult step emotionally, you can simplify the process by following these steps with the help of experienced professionals.
Need to sell fast? Receive an instant offer from a cash buyer
If you’re looking to sell as quickly as possible, you can opt to skip the prep work, home repairs, and open houses by selling your house for cash to a cash homebuyer.
Homebuyers charge service fees in exchange for a fast and certain sale, so you won’t net as much money for your parents’ home as you would if you sold it on the market with the help of an agent. However, the difference may be worth it when you consider how much emotional energy you’ll save in the process.
For a competitive cash offer on your inherited home, Give St. Louis Realty Advisors a call at 314-270-1601 today to learn more.