Reasons To Sell
After the death of a loved one, you may struggle to find your feet. If you’ve inherited cash or are the beneficiary on a life insurance policy, the way forward can be easier as expenses will be easier to meet as you work through the estate. However, if you’ve inherited property that you don’t plan to use, things can get murkier.
The first step is to act quickly. If your intention is to sell the property and invest the payout or disperse it, if you are one of several beneficiaries, let your fellow beneficiaries know.
For those who are executors for a family member, it’s important to be firm in your decision. If selling the family homestead, there are likely many memories and feelings tangled up in the property. Do your best to be fair; if you’re the executor and another sibling wants to own the house, get it valued so the sibling can pay a fair price. Encourage everyone to express themselves fully.
Bring in professionals to help you prep the house for appraisal. This may mean
- professional movers to remove large pieces of furniture for storage, donation or sale
- an estate sale team to price and organize unwanted items for sale
- cleaners to go through the property and tidy everything up for appraisal
Avoid making any big renovations or changes. You may be tempted to change out carpet or put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, but wait until you’ve talked to an appraiser.
There may be family members who want a particular piece of furniture but be unable to move it when you need to get the property appraised. Be ready to rent a storage unit to relocate these items to a secured facility. Not only will this protect the item from theft and vandalism, but it will encourage the beneficiary to make the necessary arrangements to pick up the item. For things that need temperate storage, such as pianos, try to make arrangements with a music store to store the item under shelter.
If possible, bring in a landscaping crew to tidy up the yard and make it look as though things are happening at the property. There are thieves who will target the address of the recently deceased. If you can keep the property from looking abandoned, there’s less risk of loss due to theft and vandalism.
Be sure to keep the utilities on while getting the house cleaned up for appraisal. It only takes one hard freeze to rupture pipes and turning off the water won’t fully protect the plumbing. Keeping the heat and electricity on will also make the house look occupied.
Get Multiple Appraisals
To be fair to yourself and any fellow inheritors, make sure you get multiple appraisals of the property. Bring in professionals to provide valuations for jewelry and antiques that may be particularly valuable. It may seem harsh, but putting a professional value on inherited items can save hard feelings and contention for the next generation.
Make sure you also get quotes from contractors for any repairs needed to raise the value of the home. An old house with great bones can be sold for a lot of money, but if it needs
- electrical updates
- new windows
- plumbing upgrades
to bring it to code for an FHA mortgage, you and your fellow beneficiaries have some decisions to make. Investment property buyers have deeper pockets and can take care of these repairs before selling the property. As a general rule, if you’re selling to an owner-occupant, the pressure will be on the seller to bring the house up to livable standards. If you’re selling the house to an investor, they can be responsible for the upgrades.
One of the big challenges faced by executors is that everyone gets an opinion. The longer it takes to sell the property, the more opinions the executor will have to hear and consider. Eventually, one of your fellow beneficiaries is going to think they have been treated unfairly, or that the property could have been sold for more money.
However, cash in hand can do a lot to reduce these conflicts. Getting the property sold will also lessen the investment you have to make in keeping the exterior cleaned up and protecting the house from theft, squatters, and similar challenges. Contact Kansas City Home Offers to discuss your concerns about inherited property.