The death of a loved one is always difficult, and often the last thing anyone wants to think about is what to do with their loved one’s possessions. If you find yourself handling a property left to you or other family members, it doesn’t have to be a burden. Here are six important factors to consider when you inherit a house.
1. Emotional Moments
Many people consider moving into a house left to them by a loved one. While this can be a great idea, there are a number of factors to take into account. One of the most important is the possible emotional baggage that may be left behind with the home. If you are sharing the inherited house with a sibling or another family member, you’ll need to have a calm conversation about your respective intentions.
2. State of the House
If you’re considering selling the house, its condition is one factor that will determine its value. Older homes almost always require moderate to extensive repairs before they are marketable.
3. Existing Debt
Often, the sale of the estate will cover any debt left behind by a loved one. Outstanding medical bills, loans, and other types of debt are often difficult for those in mourning to pay. If you want to keep the house and are faced with such debts, you may have to sell a lot of the contents. If that will not cover the debt, consider selling the house and keeping some of the sentimental items. A picture that reminds you of one of your favorite memories can be more meaningful than an empty house.
4. The Neighborhood
The neighborhood can be a major factor in deciding whether or not to move into the house, sell it, or rent it. Check into nearby schools, local watch programs, and the closest stores. All these things can make or break a neighborhood.
Also look at the renter-to-owner ratio in the area. If there are a lot of renters and the house is in good condition, you may want to try renting it yourself. If the house needs a lot of work, you could market it to investors who have the money to do the repairs.
5. Moving Expenses
While it may make sense to move into an inherited house, consider if you’re financially able or ready. Owning and maintaining a home is difficult, especially if you have been a lifelong renter who is considering ownership for the first time. In addition to your regular bills, you have to consider the additional expenses of property taxes, insurance, and all repairs to the house and property for the duration of your ownership.
6. Cost of Realtor
If you are planning to sell the house, you’ll have to decide if you’re going to sell it yourself or hire a realtor. Consider the cost of a realtor compared to how much work you’re willing or able to put into the sale. It’s also important to remember that it is a loved one’s house and that you may not be able to handle the emotional attachments involved in selling it.