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How to Sell Inherited Real Estate

Posted Sunday, March 29, 2015

Having to deal with the passing of a family member, especially a mother or father, is a process that could take weeks or months. Whether the death was expected for months or was an unexpected tragedy, part of the stress that must be dealt with during this time is carefully going through your loved one's will and the family inheritance. If you are listed as one of a number of your family members to inherit real estate, you can choose to either keep the real estate in the family name or sell it during a normal property sale transaction.

The following tips will provide you with some level of knowledge about how inherited real estate transactions work and what you need to do to stay compliant with any relevant tax, federal or real property laws when you sell real estate.

Verify the Ownership Status of the Home

The process of selling an inherited piece of real estate isn't easy, and the first step is to double check that your deceased loved one was actually the owner. This can be done by hiring a real estate attorney to check records for you.

Probate Court and Creditors

Once you've verified the owner of the property actually was your family member, the property might have to pass through probate court, depending on its value. The court will likely require one of the heirs to obtain a license to sell property in your state. You'll need to double check to see if this is a requirement.

The next step is the "creditors' claims" process. If there are any outstanding debts incurred by your deceased family member, creditors will be able to claim what is owed to them from the inheritance. All assets go through the same process before they can be distributed to the heirs.

If you discover that the property will be too much of a burden because of any outstanding mortgages that may add up to exceed the value of the home, you must take steps immediately to disclaim it if you don't want to inherit it.

Investigate the Market

The next step is to investigate the market. Verify and record the listing and sale prices for similar homes within your neighborhood. Make any repairs on the home that are necessary to pass inspection, and disclose additional repairs, if needed.

For a fast sale, list the home at below market value to attract more buyers. If the home is in poor shape, try to market it to investors instead of mainstream buyers.

Talk With Bidders and Make the Sale

The last step in the process is talking with potential buyers. You should prepare to be flexible with the price and all parties should be willing to make a sacrifice for a quick sale. Determine the minimum amount you want the house to sell with the other heirs and stick to that number.

Emotions run high when it comes time to sell real estate that was included as part of an inheritance. Any family members that drag their feet when selling the home should be carefully reminded about the importance of liquidating your loved one's assets as a means of putting the death behind you.