Inheriting property is often the result of a family death. Such a period is often a difficult one and having a whole new property to deal with can add to the stress. However, in many ways, it can be one of the best things to come out of the loss of a close one. Whatever you choose to do with the property, you’re likely to get something positive out of the end of it. Here are your three main options and how to negotiate each one smoothly.
The most popular option is to sell the property. If you choose to go down this route, check with any siblings that this is also the route that they would like to go down – you don’t want an inheritance dispute on your hands.
Before advertising the property for sale, you will need to decide what to do with the possessions. This can be an emotionally testing job, as you will likely have to part and sell with items, some of which you may have grown up with. It’s possible to delay this job to a later date by putting all the possessions temporarily into self-storage. You can then sort through them in the future, deciding what you may want to keep and what you may want to part with. Such a strategy can be particularly useful if the property still has a mortgage to pay off or has high bills to pay– you’ll want to sell the property fast in such a case to pay off these debts, which will mean putting the possessions somewhere quickly.
Some people may wish to hang onto a property for a while and renovate it in order to up its value before selling. This may be particularly important if a job was left half-finished prior to inheriting the property.
You’ll want to contact anyone that still sends post to the property to tell them that the occupant no longer lives there. This may involve cancelling subscriptions, which occasionally may require passwords. This site offers a full guide on all the things you may wish to cancel such as utilities and memberships.
You can then sell the property yourself or go through an agent. Because you may not live in the area, hiring an agent may work out more efficient for scheduling visits and marketing the property. Remember to hire other service such as a surveyor and solicitor too.
Renting out the property can be another route to go down if you don’t want to part with the property, but don’t want to live in it either. Similarly to selling up, you will need to move out any belongings first. If there is a mortgage still being paid off on the property, you should then look into converting this a buy-to-let mortgage. You may then have to get a surveyor in to check that property is fit to rent.
You may not live near the property, in which case you’ll need to decide how to go about being a long-distance landlord. Many will find a property manager to take care of the duties for them including finding tenants, vetting them and attending to any issues they may have in the property. You will still be required to pay for any mortgage or repairs and should keep regular correspondence with the property manager. Be aware of renting a property abroad – any income you make from your tenants could be liable to double taxation (both countries may wish to tax you for your profits).
If the property is local, hiring a property manager can still be a way of lessening the burden, although you may wish to save money and handle it all yourself.
The third option could be to sell your current property and move into the inherited one. It’s likely that the inherited property could still have sentimental value and could be a happier place to live than your current property. Alternatively, it may be more practically better suited for your needs. On a financial level, it may also be mortgage free.
There are still many things to consider when moving into an inherited property. Hiring a health and safety surveyor may be useful for spotting any damage to the property they may eventually need to be fixed. You should also check the current rate of gas and electricity – you may think your quids up by moving into a bigger property in which the mortgage has been paid off, however the utility bills may make up for it.
You should also check that the location and area are right for your current needs and future plans. You may have to commute a little longer to get to work. Alternatively, you may be thinking of moving somewhere else, which may require finding a new job entirely – if so, check that the job market is good in the area. If you’ve got kids or thinking of having them, you should also check that the nearby schools are of a good quality.
You then still need to negotiate what to do with possessions. Moving in may be a way of keeping onto the house’s sentimentality, but you won’t be able to keep all the inherited possessions and move in your own possessions. Again, you could put some items in self-storage and then decide what to do with them at your own pace.
If you have a partner or children you should also check that moving into the property is what they really want to do. The property may not have the same sentimental value to them and you may be able to get more practical advice from them (a partner may not want to be pulled away from a job and your children may not want to be pulled away from their current school). Of course, they may be totally behind you and it may benefit you all in terms of schooling and work, in which case moving in would be the right thing to do practically.