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Inherited Property: What Do You Do Now?

by Marc Cormier
Probate, loss

An Inherited House: Gift or Burden?

If a loved one has died and you find yourself inheriting their property, you’re likely experiencing a deluge of mixed emotions. In addition to grief, you may experience gratitude or even elation at your good fortune — and possibly a healthy dose of confusion and indecision. Should you keep the house for yourself or as a rental property? Should you sell it? Can you sell it?

The answers to these questions are highly personal and will depend on many factors, including things like your life situation, whether you are a sole heir or need to split the property with others, and the tax implications of any move you make. With so much to think about, you definitely want professional real estate advice — preferably from a specialist with experience in this niche.

Tax Consequences

If your loved one originally bought their home for significantly less than it’s currently worth, there are “stepped up” taxes to consider. If you keep the house, you’ll be taxed at the new market rate, which could take a big bite out of your inheritance; there are certain advantages to selling and writing off the cost of the sale. Likewise, estate taxes on large estates worth over $5 million should be taken into account. Be sure to consult with a tax professional to understand the consequences of your decision about the property.

 Different Selling Strategies

If you need to sell an inherited house, there’s more than one way to accomplish this, and an experienced Realtor is crucial for getting the job done right. If you’re looking for a quick sale, a real estate agent familiar with the local market and prospective investors can get the property off your hands fast and without any updating. If you prefer to get top dollar, that Realtor will advise you on the right updates and repairs to make and the best time to put the home on the market for the general public. What if your goals are somewhere in between? Trust a specialist in inherited real estate to tailor a plan for your needs.

 Homes That Need Work

It’s very common for inherited homes to need major updating to appeal to today’s savvy buyers. This is especially true if your loved one was older and lived in the home for many years. While a good Realtor will explain which updates are most useful in selling the house, a great estate Realtor recognizes that not all families have enough money left to make these investments before selling. When you talk to an agent with years of experience in estate sales, you’ll get the guidance you need to weigh the pros and cons of an as-is sale.

Not All Realtors Are the Same

All licensed real estate agents are qualified to sell a home, but there are many areas of specialty within the real estate world. To make informed choices about inherited property and to do the right thing by your family and other beneficiaries, choose to work with a real estate consultant who specializes in inherited property and estate sales. There’s simply no substitute for the know-how that comes from years of experience in this complex area, and working with a specialist will give you the peace of mind that you deserve in a difficult time.

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