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inherited house

It may have been grandma’s house while she was alive, fragrant with the smell of baking cookies and enriched with the love she had for all her visiting children and grandchildren. But it’s been a month since she passed away and nothing has been done for the property while everyone was focused on the funeral service and getting the estate process underway. –  inherited house

Only a month, and already it looks as if “The Addams Family” is in residence! The un-mowed yard and dying landscaping, storm damage to the picket fence and window shutters, and the formation of a new lake where drainage is blocked with debris have all begun the deterioration.  And that’s just the outside.

In spite of sentimental attachments, inherited houses tend to fast become a heavy burden for an heir(s) who have no interest in taking residence.  It is astonishing how quickly even a previously well-maintained property will take on a look (and reality) of decrepitude once no one is living in it and maintaining it.

Be assured that regardless of unpreparedness you are to be saddled with this responsibility, the longer it sits vacant, the more the positives erode and the negatives increase as it evolves into a “neglected property”.   It is frequently best to let it go on to a new owner who will care for and treasure it as did your loved one, as quickly as you can arrange a sale.

Here are 4 reasons why you should sell your home fast –

  • Cash is needed to pay the property taxes, perhaps an existing mortgage, HOA fee, and other obligations, as well as insurance. Unless you pay what is owed, after only 2-3 months liens and foreclosures will have the same consequences as for any other property.
  • Unless maintained the house and yard will deteriorate even faster than an unpaid mortgage loan. The downhill slide detracts from the marketability of the house. The out-of-pocket cost to the heir(s) can go well beyond paying the neighbor kid to mow every once in a while.
  • No matter how beloved the previous resident, count on the neighbors to become quickly aggravated at the decaying vacant house on their block and to report it to the city, bringing you a city nuisance action. If the deterioration goes far enough – and that can happen faster than you think – at some point, you could even be facing condemnation.
  • Thinking of installing a tenant while you sort out the long-term decisions? Before you can rent it, defects must be addressed almost as if you were selling to meet marketability, ordnance, and building code standards. Prospective tenants must be screened, and once they are in you’ll be dealing with whatever issues they bring, as well as ongoing repairs and maintenance.

Time will not stand still while you ponder if you should sell your house. As property conditions fester, options for either sale or rental become more difficult, even impossible. Act in your own long-term best interests, keep the memories and photos and let the property go forward to a new owner before the problems have a chance to grow.


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