Selling a home is a multi-step process beginning with market research and ending with a closing. The process can take weeks to months, depending on the condition of the property, market value and market conditions, and other factors such as the season and even the skills of your real estate agent. Here are a few key points to know when selling a home. 

1. A home inspection is one of the most important steps in a real estate transaction. A certified home inspector will inspect and investigate every inch of the property to look for problems such as rotting structures, broken pipes, and cracked foundation walls. They can also identify other problems that could spell financial trouble for the buyers in the near future. You can have a pre-listing inspection that occurs before listing your home for sale, so you know if there are any potential issues with the home. This can be helpful rather than waiting for a buyer to make an offer on the property and finding an unexpected issue during the home selling process. 

2. After listing the property, your real estate agent will likely hold an open house or even live video-chat tours to generate interest in the home. Just because you’ve listed a home on the market doesn’t mean your expenses and obligations have stopped. If the property has a mortgage, those payments must still be made on time. Utility bills, such as water and sewer, electric, trash removal, cable, and any other connected utilities must also be paid. You may also encounter additional expenses and even demands on your time to keep the property in tip-top shape.

3. The timeline for selling your house can vary, but when multiple family members are involved, legal nuances and personality conflicts may arise over handling the sale of inherited property. You may also have questions about transferring the ownership of properties between relatives, tax implications, among others. If questions arise, your real estate agent can provide advice about the home selling process and your relatives’ estate planner can guide you through any complex financial or tax processes.

Hidden hurdles when selling an inherited house

Any real estate transaction can have its share of ups and downs. And the process of getting from an offer to closing day is often rife with obstacles. Selling an inherited home is certainly no exception. In fact, you may be more likely to encounter some surprises simply because the circumstances are different or you’re not as familiar with the property as you think you might be. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate the selling process:

Executors can keep an estate in probate for years. This enables the executor or other beneficiaries to have use of the home and other assets, without actually transferring ownership of the property. This is a temporary situation, however, as all property must eventually be transferred to another party.

Handle equal distribution carefully. Personal Wills may specify that the value of the estate must be divided equally between siblings or beneficiaries. Challenges may arise when it comes to agreeing on the value of assets such as sentimental belongings. 

Try not to feel guilty about items you choose not to keep. Not only is it emotionally draining to sort through decades of cherished possessions and memories, but heirs are often riddled with grief and guilt about not holding onto every belonging that carries a memory.

If the property is “underwater,” you may have other options. Heirs may have the ability to disclaim, not accept, the inherited home, if there are issues like climate risks or more money is owed on the mortgage than the home is worth. You’ll also want to check to ensure there are no liens on the property before putting it on the market.

You may be facing more repairs than you realized. If the home was occupied by a loved one who was unable to keep up with regular home maintenance adequately, the property you’ve inherited could have both visible and hidden problems. These problems will almost certainly arise during a home inspection no matter if you’re selling a home in Atlanta, GA or Vancouver, CA. Depending on their severity, these issues can cost you thousands of dollars – or even a sale.

You and your sibling(s) may not agree on things like the purchase price, who gets to live in the inherited house, how necessary repairs should be handled, or anything involving the property you’ve inherited jointly. The truth is even siblings who otherwise get along quite well can find themselves in a heated argument about their former family home. If you’re selling an inherited home with your siblings it’s important to have the right resources at hand so you can navigate any disagreements. 

Selling a home you’ve inherited from a loved one who has passed carries much responsibility. It’s already an emotional process and adding the typical stress that comes with selling any property can easily make the calmest person feel overwhelmed. Having the right information and resources can prepare you for any obstacles that may cross your path, making the sale process smoother and more bearable. #RedFin