Inheriting a property can be exciting; however, it can also be overwhelming, especially if you’ve
never owned a home before.
It’s easy to make mistakes after inheriting a property. This guide will help you get it right and make the most out of your inheritance.
Establish Legal Ownership and Assess Outstanding Liabilities
Establishing ownership is perhaps the most critical step of all. As such, it should be your priority.
Just because you found that the property went to you in the will doesn’t mean that you automatically have full ownership.
You’ll need to have your name recorded with your local government as the official property owner. Once you’ve established legal ownership, you’re ready to start taking the next steps.
Remember, if you skip this step and start trying to sell or make alterations to the property before establishing legal ownership, it could be unpleasant.
Don’t start spending money on renovations right away. If you try to sell the place after making repairs without establishing ownership, you could lose all of the money you sunk into the upgrades.
There is one thing you should look into before going through the motions to establish legal ownership. Any time you inherit a property, you should make it your business to find out if it comes with any outstanding liabilities attached to it, such as a never fully repaid mortgage.
Unless the original owner took out a home loan insurance policy, you could get stuck with the delightful responsibility of paying off the remaining balance on the mortgage.
Decide if you Want to Keep the Property or Sell it
After you inherit a property and establish legal ownership, you’re going to have a big decision to make.
Do you want to keep the property and perhaps pass it down to your children or grandchildren, or would you rather sell the place?
Preferences aside, there’s another question you’ll have to ask yourself before moving forward. Can you afford to keep the property?
If you’re already up to your neck in mortgage payments on your own house or have other obligations, keeping the property you inherited might not be an option.
For those of you who simply can’t afford to hold on to inherited property, your focus should be on selling it.
On the other hand, if you want to keep it and can afford to do so, that’s great too, so long as you have a solid plan. Whichever route you choose, the rest of these steps will still apply.