Inheriting a home is an exciting, nerve-wracking and stressful time. The reason behind your newfound possession is undoubtedly a sad one. You’ve become a homeowner at the cost of a loved one’s life. But, it was passed on for a reason and the financial stability and security that follows is worthy of a smile.
However, things get tough when you’re new to the process – and most inheritors are. You need to plan specifically, step-by-step, to ensure you do everything needed to properly take possession of the home. Some may choose to keep it, some may choose to sell the house.The steps listed below will give you some insight on how the process works.
Step 1 – File the Will in Probate Court
The will must be filed through probate court. As found on the Bexar County Probate Courts Website, there are two of these courts in San Antonio. Both courts are located at Bexar County Courthouse, but in separate rooms – #117 and #123, each with their own elected judge and court staff. Speak with the courthouse and figure out which of the two probate courts is appropriate for your situation when you go to file the will.
Step 2 – Verify Ownership
Next, you must make sure you are the sole owner. The transfer of ownership will be straightforward if you are the sole person listed in the will. If any other beneficiaries hold rights as well, this could interfere with selling the property. The estate could be fought over in court by the involved parties, either to prevent selling or to make sure fair value is extracted from the sale.
Step 3 – Understand Tax Implications
You might have to deal with inheritance tax, municipal or state taxes, capital gains and more. The taxes on the property could also go up if the valuation is higher on the date of the deceased owner’s death. The home gets revalued then, which could leave you on the hook for a higher tax bill.
Step 4 – Maintain the House
Believe it or not, leaving a home vacant is an incredibly risky idea. If a homeless person simply walks in and dies, his or her death is your liability. This kind of story played out many times in the Detroit real estate market when their city went bankrupt. For this reason, and because of the risk of break-ins, an alarm and potentially surveillance system is a wise investment. Believe it or not, some criminals watch out for deceased individuals purely for the purpose of making an easy break-in. Further, you might want to make sure a little heat runs in the winter, or some AC in the summer, to prevent deterioration.
Step 5 – Get Insurance on the Home
Due to a change in ownership, you will have to get property insurance in your name. You can request a transfer from the existing policymaker. However, this process will not happen instantly and you need to make the initial communication to get it underway.
Step 6 – Cover Amounts Owing / Clear the Title
Is there still a mortgage out on the home? You might have enough equity in it that you will see a return after liquidating the home. Sometimes, you won’t come out ahead (market conditions are a factor here), and you could have to sell just to avoid burying yourself in debt. Keep in mind, you will be on the hook for mortgage payments up until you manage to sell off the property. As for cleaning the title, if you opt for a cash buyer this process will typically be handled by them instead.
Post-Inheritance, What to Do Next?
So, what do you do when you take possession of your home? By this point, you will most likely have decided whether you wish to keep or sell the property. If you wish to liquidate, that brings numerous complex issues to the table.
You will have to ask yourself…
– Is it in an area of San Antonio where you will need to do considerable upgrades to get fair value when you sell?
– Do you have the funds necessary to make the renovations, repairs or upgrades required to gather the most value when you sell?
– If you need to sell as-is, will the property sit on the market for a while, costing you in maintenance and taxes, or will it sell fast?
These are just three questions to go over. There are many other things to consider, but this goes to show how complex things get when you think the hardest part of inheriting a home is over. You could potentially elect someone to handle these steps and pay a small sum. However, there are no guarantees you will get anywhere near the right value for your newly obtained property.
Consider Instantly Selling Your Home
Cash buyers provide a quick and smart fix for all the complexities listed above. This route gives you the chance to get an instant offer and quickly receive payment for the purchase. The offer is sometimes more competitive than what you would expect by selling the traditional way – as with cash buyers, you side-step realtor fees. Furthermore, you get to skip various renovations and repairs that could leave you waiting to sell and facing upfront costs.
You must also look at the worst case scenario. What if you sell your home through a realtor? The closing period will undoubtedly be longer than it would through a cash buyer. Your offer will also be subject to major scrutiny, as an inspection report can shift the buyer’s evaluation of the deal you’re bringing to the table. With house buyers in San Antonio, the inspections are straightforward and they make a fast offer that’s guaranteed.
Plus, the issue of the buyer suddenly pulling out of the sale can arise. They might back out due to a sudden change of interest, likely leaving you with nothing or a $100 to $1,000 deposit at most. Additionally, their purchase offer might fall through if their lender doesn’t approve them for any reason. The percent of home sales that fall through is also on the rise – up to 3.9% of all sales in 2016, from 2.1% the year before.
Now you know how to inherit a house in San Antonio, and what options you have when it comes time to sell. Hold this info close to you while dealing with the courts, it will be invaluable advice as you go through the stressful processes you need to get done.