There is nothing more painful than losing parents. The experience is traumatic and stressful. To complicate the situation, you must deal with legal issues, such as settling your parent’s home by selling it, which is usually complicated and time-consuming.
The process can be emotional if you have personal memories connected to the property. Nevertheless, you have to navigate the process and handle it in the best way possible. The good thing is that there are a couple of steps that you can follow to make the selling process a success. Read on to find out how to sell your deceased parents’ home.
1. Complete Funeral Services
After paying the hospital bills and finalizing with the accident attorney if your parent(s) were involved in an accident, you should proceed with the funeral arrangements. You might decide to bury or cremate your parent based on their final wishes before passing on. If you decide to do a burial service, hiring a burial service company would be best. They will help you to make arrangements and do the burial in a proper way. Be sure to acquire a headstone before the burial day and an extremely nice touch will be a funeral bouqet.
While burial is the most common funeral service, you can decide to cremate your deceased parent. Before cremation, it would help to look for affordable cremation service and ask for cremation prices from cremation services near you or on your shortlist. While costs should not be an issue when a loved one dies, it is best to look for affordable services to prevent you from paying more money or remaining in debt after burying or cremating a loved one. After the funeral services, you can start the process of selling your deceased parents’ home.
2. Determine Estate Status
Prior to selling your deceased parents’ home, you should determine the status of the estate. Just because you are the heir does not necessarily mean that you own the property. You can own the property in three different ways.
One way is through the probate process. The property you should inherit from your parents will go through the probate process to determine who will inherit it, whether your parents left a will or not. Through a probate process, a court will guide the distribution of the estate and prevent anyone from clearing the home before following due processes.
While the process can be complex and time-consuming, it should not worry you because it is standard. Depending on individual state laws in the United States, the process can take months or even years. It would be best to hire a probate attorney to help you with the case.
The second way to determine the rightful inheritor of your parents’ property is by looking at the available living trust. A living trust is a document property owner, also known as trustees, names beneficiaries to inherit their property after they have passed away. A living trust might determine the rightful heir to a specific property and help solve disagreements between disputing heirs.
The good news about inheriting property via a living trust is that you might be exempted from estate taxes. Additionally, you will be in a position to sell the property immediately because there will be no need to go to court to determine asset allocation.
Lastly, you could inherit your parents’ home through a valid death deed. You would be able to inherit your parents’ estate if they transferred ownership using a death deed. The death deed, also known as the beneficiary deed, eliminates the need for a probate process. Nevertheless, a death deed is not recognized in every state. Therefore, you should confirm with your state laws to determine if it is liable.
3. Determine Estate Executor and Inform All Involved Parties
Although you have inherited the property through a probate process, living trust, or death deed, it does not necessarily mean that you are the executor of the property. Additionally, there could be other parties, such as your siblings or family members, who have also inherited the property. Therefore, the viable thing to do after determining that you have inherited your parents’ home is to inform your estate executor and other involved parties, if there is any.
The executor will determine how the house will be sold. If your parents owed debts when they passed away, you need to pay the creditors before selling the home. Otherwise, issues will arise and prevent you from selling your parents’ home. Contact your estate planning lawyer to determine if there are creditors who need payment.
It would also help to conduct a title search to determine and confirm the legal ownership of a property as well as claims or liens on the property. A title search should be clean before proceeding with and completing any further transactions.
4. Solve Inheritance Disputes
If there are any inheritance disputes, you should solve them before they become serious issues that may prevent you from selling your parents’ home. The disputes could be caused by siblings, other family members, or creditors. The best thing to do is sit down with all involved parties to discuss disputing issues and solve them.
Some of the things you should discuss and determine are who has inherited the home or what belongings, who is responsible for preparing the home for sale, and who will pay outstanding debt, expenses, and taxes. It would be best to determine who will divide the proceed, how much the home will sell for, and who will handle the sale. Discussing and solving these issues will help you solve disputes.
If you cannot agree on your own, it would be great to go for family counseling or hire an arbitrator to help you solve the issues.
5. Pay Debts, Outstanding Bills, and Taxes
As a general rule, debts don’t disappear when a person dies. Debts owed by the owners of an estate must be paid even after their death. Estate debts owed by your deceased parents should be paid from the estate. If there is not enough money from the estate to pay the debts, you can pay them yourself using your own money. Also, contact banks and mortgage lenders to inform them that your parents have passed away and that you will be clearing any debts they have. Either way, the debts must be paid before you proceed with selling the home.
Besides debts, you should pay any outstanding bills on the property. Just because the property owners are deceased does not mean bills will not accrue. So long as the property uses water, electricity, and other utility services, bills will continue to add up. Maintenance services, such as landscaping and security, must also be cleared. Pay all utility bills and services to ensure your parents’ home has no outstanding bills before you sell it.
In addition to debts and bills, certain taxes must be paid following the death of property owners. Selling an inherited home is attributed to a couple of taxes. One of them is the estate taxes. An estate tax is a fee charged by the federal government against the deceased person’s estate who passes their property to heirs. Some state governments also charge estate taxes.
Another type of tax charged are inheritance taxes. They are purely charged by state governments and not federal governments. An inheritance tax is charged against the beneficiary who inherits property from a deceased party after estate taxes are paid, and property is distributed. However, not all states charge inheritance taxes.
Capital gains tax is another tax type that might require payment. It is only charged if the beneficiary of the property makes a profit from inheritance. It would be best to consult an attorney to determine which taxes you are liable for paying.
6. Determine the Value of Your Deceased Parents’ Home
After all debts, bills, and taxes are cleared, it is time to establish the property’s value. The property’s value comprises the value of the house, yard, and other belongings that will be sold. The total value will factor in remodeling costs, mortgage, and current market value.
Thanks to technological advancements, you can use online valuation tools to establish your parents’ home worth. You can also use comparative market analysis to determine the price. However, the best way to determine the exact price is to work with a professional appraiser who is well-versed with real estate market prices in your local area. Using an experienced appraiser will help you establish the right amount and give you peace of mind because they will be working with your best interest at heart.
7. Remove Personal Items from the Home
Once you have established the right amount for your deceased parents’ home and are ready to sell it, sort through the property and remove personal items.
Different family members may want to take various items of value to them. Contact your wills lawyer to determine who our parents wanted to inherit various items to avoid any issues. If no will is available, share the possessions equitably among the available heirs.
Apart from distributing items among heirs, you can decide to donate some to charity and children’s homes. This would enable your parents’ legacy to live on. Another viable option is to sell valuable items. You could share the raised money or use it to cover other expenses in the home. Whatever you decide to do with your parents’ items, hire moving services to ferry them to designated areas.
Aside from removing and dispensing items from your parents’ home, you should collect all important documents and keep them safe. The documents could include will and bills. Also, look for and keep insurance documents, such as home insurance and church insurance, and investment and financial documents. Please get rid of personal documents like identification cards and social security numbers to prevent people from using them to impersonate your deceased parents.
8. Ensure Home Security
You should ensure security even after clearing your parents’ house to protect it from criminals and intruders. You can secure and safeguard the property by changing locks. Your parents might have given copies of the property keys to neighbors and other people. Changing the locks will prevent people from accessing the property without your permission.
Also, change the property’s security system. You can install new surveillance cameras and alarm systems. Hire a security guard if need be. Though beefing up security comes at an additional cost, you will have peace of mind knowing your parents’ home is safe from criminals and vandals.
9. Prepare the Home for Sale
The next step after removing personal items from your parents’ home and securing it is to prepare the home for sale. Start by decluttering and cleaning the house. Afterward, call a professional to inspect the house and do necessary repairs and replacements.
Besides, you could do various remodels to increase the house’s value and attract more customers. Some of the remodels you could do include upgrading the kitchen, renovating the bathrooms, and installing new fixtures. Landscape the yard and repair the fence and gates to make the exterior more beautiful. A remodeled house will sell as quickly as possible.
10. List the Home for Sale
After emptying, cleaning, and remodeling the house, list it for sale. You can decide to hire a real estate agent or sell the house yourself.
If you settle on hiring a real estate agent, work with an experienced agent that understands the local market. They should have been in the business for a long time and have adequate credentials. Be sure to ask for previous clients and testimonials to verify their credibility.
If you decide to sell the property yourself, treat it like any other transaction. Don’t include any emotions in the transactions. Do due diligence to determine the best way to sell the house. Ask for advice from family and friends who have handled such transactions before. Sell the home at a profitable price.
Selling your parents’ home after they have passed away can be a very challenging issue. Follow these tips to help you make the transaction a success. Separate your emotions from the process and treat the sale like any other transaction. Contact real estate agents if you need help selling your deceased parents’ house or have any questions regarding the process. You can also seek the help of family counseling services to help you get through a difficult experience.