I have personally inherited a home, however, I was also living in it at the time, so this blog IS NOT for that situation. This is for the person who maybe has lost a loved one and is now faced with preparing and selling their home. Here are some tips to help you get through the situation, hopefully, a little easier.
Get Professional Help - No, I don't mean get counseling (Although in some situations, you may need it!) I mean get an impartial Realtor to help you decide the best price and overall plan to sell the home. I emphasize impartial because you need someone who will look at the property without any emotional attachment whatsoever. If you are the person who is responsible to the rest of the family to do the best you can, then you need someone on the outside because you will need the expert to explain why a certain price is the right one for the home. On the other hand, if you are the sole person left with it on your shoulders, you need someone to help with all the decisions you will be making and if you are emotionally attached, it will be difficult to say the least.
Can You Say Pre-Inspection? - I would also suggest spending the extra money if you can to get a pre-inspection before you list the home. If you haven't lived in the home for a while (or at all) you need to know what issues it may have and address them as best as you can before you list the home. This will help you give you a position to be able to negotiate the best deal you can. By the end of the inspection and repairs (which there will be some, guaranteed) you will know your "product" very well and be able to accept or reject and offer with confidence.
Cleanliness is Everything - The next step is to go through personal belongings that may still be left behind. Give special things to family members for a keepsake, donate the stuff no one needs and throw away the other stuff that can't be donated or sold. Then, clean, clean, clean. In some cases, you may be able to paint a bit to help the home be in better shape, but, in a lot of cases, there may not be extra money in the "estate" to allow for those kinds of updates so the very best option in any home you are looking to sell is to have it as clean as you possibly can! Having it cleaned professionally might be a good plan, if you can, as well.
Put Away Your Emotions - This will be a difficult one, but, in the long run you will be glad you did. Put aside your emotional attachments to the home and it's contents, as much as you can. The home and the stuff in it is NOT your loved one. I am sure there will be moments that emotions may overwhelm you, but, when it comes to the sale of the home, you need to have your "business" face on. Your loved one would want you to do the best job you can for their estate and so will the rest of the family. You may feel like you are being uncaring, or unfeeling, but, you are in fact doing that because you DO care and want the best for all involved. If it is just you--and no one else--later down the road you will be glad you made level headed decisions instead of emotional ones. Emotional decisions can make you lose money on a home that you no longer need and can actually leave you in a mess if you aren't careful.
Be Patient - When it comes to selling an inherited home it is a process. Nothing moves quickly, because there are several steps before you just list the house, let alone how long it may take for it to sell. Our nature when someone passes is to "get it all over with", but, selling their biggest investment won't be a super fast and easy task. In some situations, things might move along quickly, but, if it doesn't, that is okay. Be patient and take things one step at a time and that will ensure that things are being dealt with as best as the possibly can.
When you inherit a family home, it may be a big blessing, but, it's not without a big responsibility. Make sure you have someone on your side to help you every step of the way to make the best choices for all of those concerned. You will be glad you did.--Jen Lush