Did You Inherit a House? Here are Your Options

May 31, 2022

Inheriting a house can be a great thing. Though it may very well benefit you, it’s also important to look out for unexpected complications.

The first thing to do when you inherit a house is to get educated on what that entails. Then look into what your options are and what steps to take to get there.

The will and your own financial scenario or relationship to the deceased, may complicate things. Note that the following assumes that the house you inherited is unoccupied and that you’re its sole inheritor. It’s always best to consult with an experienced estate attorney as laws vary by state.

Let’s take a look at this list to give you an idea of what you can do when you inherit a house.

What options do you have with a house you inherit?

The main options you have with an inherited house include:

In a less typical scenario, you may choose to decline the house. But before you make a decision on which one of those options you prefer, you’ll want to find out a few things.

How much is the property worth?

Getting a property value is more complicated than just looking up the numbers with a company such as Zillow. You can also work with a real estate agent to get a comparative market analysis.

Every house is unique and the condition of the home plays heavily into how much you’ll be able to sell or rent it for. Inherited homes are often in disrepair and may require cleanup and renovation before they can be sold via a real estate agent on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or rented.

Is there a mortgage?

If the property has a mortgage, you’ll need to contact the mortgage servicer. The company will likely require a death certificate and verification of new ownership. For any bank-owned properties, the easiest course of action is often to pay off the remaining mortgage. If the mortgage has a due-on-sale clause, you may be forced to pay off the mortgage. Conversely, if there was mortgage protection insurance, the balance will be paid off.

If there’s a mortgage, you may not want to (or be able to) pay off the mortgage. In that case, if the property has an assumable mortgage, you can likely take up the monthly payments. Refinancing may also be an option. Not making the mortgage payments may send the home into foreclosure, complicating your options.

Are there any debts related to the house, liens, or other carrying costs?

You’ll want to check to see if there are any outstanding bills related to the house, including property taxes, unpaid contractor bills, or a home equity loan all of which you’ll typically be responsible for paying. A title search will reveal if there are any liens against the house. You’ll also want to think about how much the house will cost you every month in maintenance and regular bills such as electricity and gas.

Once you know how much the house is worth, what you’ll owe on the house, any other debts associated with the house, and the monthly or yearly costs associated with owning the house, you can decide if you’d like to move in, sell, or rent the property. Of course you may already have a home you live in and don’t want to leave or you may not want to move to where the house is located. In that case, you’ll either want to rent the home or sell it.

Rental responsibilities and headaches

While you may be able to rent a home out right away, inherited properties are often in states of disrepair. You may need to do significant upkeep before the property is rentable. This might range from a deep clean and new appliances to updating the kitchen and putting on a new roof — or the home may require a complete gut renovation.

As a landlord, you’ll need to educate yourself on the rental laws in your municipality and state. You’ll have to market the property, screen tenants, and set up a lease. You’ll also be on the hook for regular home maintenance, things like trimming bushes, cleaning the gutters, and other important tasks. And then there’s the late-night clogged toilet calls. One solution to this headache is to hire a property management company.

Sell without stress

If you decide to sell your inherited property, you’ll want to choose an approach that values your time and gets you the most money. There’s a lot of mistrust for “we buy houses” companies that specialize in off-market properties that often take advantage of property owners who need to sell quickly.

Sundae does things a bit differently. The Sundae system isn’t meant to give you a low-ball price for quick money. You don’t need to make any repairs or even clean if you sell with Sundae, a step that’s often necessary to sell the traditional way. And you won’t need to worry about an iBuyer’s single offer, which you could have multiple with Sundae. Instead, Sundae puts your property in front of a host of qualified buyers who are looking to invest in properties like yours. With investors from around the country placing offers on your property, you can feel confident that you’re getting a fair price.

The benefits of Sundae

Josh Stech met Andrew Swain and founded Sundae in response to a housing industry rife with predatory behavior. One of the key foundations is helping homeowners sell in a stress-free way that also helps maximize your profit.

Here’s what Sundae offers:

  • No pressure to accept an offer if you don’t want to. You only accept the offer that works for you. And you’re free to reject all of them, too.
  • Flexible terms on the sale. When you sell a home through Sundae, the sale works on your timeline, with closing options from 10 to 60 days.
  • Access to a cash advance. Once you have accepted an offer, all necessary closing documents have been signed, a clear title report has been received, you may be eligible for a cash advance of up to $10,000. Of course, every situation is different so it’s important to ask about your eligibility, especially as advances vary by location.

Working with a company that you trust can help make a difficult life moment, such as the sale of an inheritance property after the death of a loved one, a bit easier.

See if Sundae is the right fit for you

Get in contact with a Sundae Market Expert to find out if Sundae can help you get the best price —fast — for your inherited home. Review how the step-by-step process works and then get started in the process to sell your home as-is for cash today.

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Erin B

Erin Behan is a writer and editor covering real estate investor strategy for Sundae. She's lived in L.A., New York, and Atlanta and currently resides in Portland, Oregon, where she writes and edits for a number of outlets, including WebMD, Farmers Insurance, and Vox Creative. She spends her free time hiking with her two boys, snuggling with her cat, and enjoying the best of the Pacific Northwest.