What to Do If You’re Inheriting a House You Don’t Want

What to Do If You're Inheriting a House You Don't Want

In Today’s Article:

Inheriting a house comes with strings attached – and some of them are nasty.

While the prospect of inheritance might seem like a windfall and an investment for the future, taking on a deceased person’s debts and duties can quickly become too burdensome to bear.

Some people would rather do without such trouble.

Keep reading to help you understand whether it’s best to keep an inherited house or come up with a better solution.

Why You Might Not Want To Inherit a House

Inheritance is a double-edged sword.

Accepting the property, wealth, and responsibilities of a deceased loved one’s death often comes with strings attached. When it comes to an inherited house, there are many reasons why somebody might not want it.

For some, the location may be inconvenient or undesirable.

Others may already own a home with no need for another. In some cases, an inherited house is in poor condition and in need of expensive renovations.

That’s on top of the emotional burden of inheritance. A property might, for instance, hold painful memories or symbolize a difficult time in a person’s life. The thought of owning and maintaining the house might simply be too overwhelming and can sometimes cause emotional stress.

Understanding the Legalities of Inheriting a House

Understanding the Legalities of Inheriting a House

The legalities of inheriting ownership of a home are complicated, with multiple legal tangents and legal ramifications to consider. Probate, estate taxes, inheritance tax, and property transfers are all examples.

Probate is the process through which a deceased person’s assets are distributed to heirs and beneficiaries. Depending on the complexity and the jurisdiction, this process can drag on for months.

Tax Implications of Inheriting

In the United States, federal estate taxes only apply to estates valued over a certain amount (depending on the state). This amount is adjusted for inflation.

However, some states impose their own inheritance taxes or unique rules. The state of Texas, for example, allows heirs to qualify for a homestead exemption if they inherit property that will become their family home or primary residence.

Capital Gains Tax

Capital gains tax is a significant aspect that requires careful consideration in various financial transactions. One particular scenario where it becomes relevant is when you inherit a house and intend to sell it. In such cases, the capital gains tax is levied on the difference between the sale price and the property’s tax basis, which is determined by the market value at the time of the original owner’s death.

Navigating the realm of tax law concerning inherited properties can be complex and intricate. Therefore, seeking guidance from a tax professional is highly recommended. Consulting with an expert in this field will not only help you understand your unique tax situation but also provide valuable insights into potential strategies that can save you from significant estate taxes.

By collaborating with a tax professional, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved with capital gains taxes, including exemptions and deductions that you might qualify for. Additionally, they can provide expert advice on various estate tax-saving techniques tailored to your specific circumstances.

What the Average Inheritance Process Looks Like

As noted above, inheriting a home usually begins with the probate process.

During this time, a person’s will is first validated before their assets are cataloged and appraised. Outstanding debts and taxes are paid from the estate, with the remaining assets left for distribution to family members or heirs according to the terms of the will.

Once the probate process is complete, inherited property formally transfers to a new owner. Usually, this entails filing a revised deed with the county and updating the property’s title.

At this stage, the new owner takes possession of the house and assumes responsibility for it, maintenance, expenses, mortgage payments and taxes included.

Working With Professionals To Navigate Inheritance

The intricacies of the inheritance process are challenging and daunting. Probate is not something many of us go through often in our lives, so it’s advisable to seek professional help. You may want to seek the assistance of:

  • Estate attorneys
  • Tax advisors
  • Real estate agents

An estate attorney can provide legal advice and represent you throughout the probate process. They will ensure the terms of the will are carried out appropriately. Meanwhile, a tax advisor can help you understand the tax implications of your inheritance.

A real estate agent can assist with selling the house quickly if you want it taken off your hands.

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What To Do With an Unwanted House

What To Do With an Unwanted House

If you find yourself inheriting a house you don’t want, don’t worry. You have options. You might consider one of the following:

  • Renting the house for passive income
  • Selling the property
  • Donating the house to a charity
  • Signing the property over to somebody else

Renting the Property

Renting an inherited house can provide a steady stream of income that more than covers the maintenance costs, property taxes, and insurance. However, becoming a landlord comes with its own set of potential headaches.

You’ll need to find and manage tenants, stay on top of maintenance issues and ongoing costs, and ensure you’re compliant with local regulations. In rare cases, you will deal with unpleasant tenants or be forced to evict them.

Property management firms can make this process smoother in exchange for a share of the profits. Whether or not the added stress of managing a property yourself is worth the additional income is up to you.

Selling the Property

Selling an inherited home is often the most straightforward option if you don’t want to keep it. The proceeds from the sale can be used to pay off any other outstanding debts, and to pay property taxes and you can invest any remaining capital to increase your personal wealth.

Signing Over the Property to Somebody Else

If another heir or beneficiary is available and interested in the house, you might consider signing it over to them. This option requires the agreement of all parties involve and may surface other legal or financial complications for other heirs.

It’s worth considering this during the probate process if you would prefer to sign your house over to another heir.

Donating the Property to Charity

Donating the inherited house to a charitable organization is a selfless deed that can support a worthy cause. However, the process isn’t simply a matter of signing over a deed.

In addition, not all charities accept real estate donations. In some cases, it may be easier to simply sell the property and donate the proceeds.

Tips for Selling an Unwanted House

Tips for Selling an Unwanted House

If you settle on selling, you should look to make a quick and efficient sale that doesn’t strain your nerves. Even so, you want to get the most bang for your buck – and in some cases, that can mean waiting for a sale.

Don’t Rush Unless You Have To

It’s important to be respectful in the wake of the death of a loved one. Remember that there are other grieving people involved in the process and that you may not be thinking clearly if the deceased person was close to you.

If possible, take your time in making the decision to sell an inherited property.

Stay Wary of Predatory Realtors

You should try to avoid falling into the clutches of greedy real estate agents who are only looking to turn a quick profit. Honest real estate agents will appraise your home and find a buyer willing to pay its full value.

If you rush headstrong into a sale with the first realtor who knocks on your door, there’s a fair chance you aren’t getting a fair deal.

Assessing a Home’s True Value

It’s crucial to determine the fair market value of an inherited home or property.

Doing so will help you to set a competitive price and attract potential buyers. An appraiser can help you determine your property’s value based on its state of repair, the average price of houses in the same area, and prevailing market conditions.

Preparing the House for Sale

Preparing a house for sale can be an involved and lengthy process depending on the state it’s in. Usually, the preparation stage involves cleaning, decluttering, and staging the property. It may also involve making necessary repairs or renovations to improve appeal.

Once it’s free of clutter and staged as an open house, it’s time to invite potential buyers inside.

Finding a Buyer

Effective marketing is essential for a successful sale.

Real estate agents are pros at finding hungry buyers and they can help you create an effective marketing strategy. This can include listing the property, hosting an open house, networking to find potential buyers, and negotiating a sales price with them prior to closing.

Selling Your House for Cash

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You don’t have to go the traditional route of selling your unwanted house via a real estate agent. If you’re keen on making a fast sale, you can consider selling to a home-buying firm.

The benefits of selling your house this way are numerous:

🚀It’s fast and convenient

🏚️Home-buying firms purchase houses as-is

🤝You’re almost always guaranteed a sale

📜Paperwork and the legal process are simpler

🚫You won’t pay real estate fees and commissions

💵These companies will often pay closing costs

When selling to a home-buying firm, you only need to reach out with a few details for the firm to make you a fast cash offer. All that remains is to accept (or reject) it and move on.

You won’t need to make repairs, doing any cleaning, stage an open house, or look for buyers.

Ease the Burden of an Unwanted Home

Inheriting a house can be a complex web of emotional encumbrance and fickle legal irregularities.

Whether you choose to rent, sell, or sign over your house to somebody else, it’s essential to consult with professionals and take steps to ensure a smooth transaction.

At TX Cash Home Buyers, we put home sellers across Texas first. Click here to learn how to sell a recently inherited home quickly and hassle-free.

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About The Author

Lisa is a dedicated real estate professional specializing in assisting homeowners with burdensome houses and complex situations. Lisa and her team provide valuable guidance and solutions to homeowners navigating challenging real estate circumstances. Her commitment to delivering efficient and professional assistance makes her a trusted partner in helping homeowners find optimal resolutions for their property challenges.

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