Nearly all residential real estate transactions involve both a financial and an emotional component. For example, a motivated seller might take less money and a needy buyer might be willing to pay a little extra. But where inherited real property is concerned, the emotional factors are often much more prevalent.
Strong emotional attachments are the norm and not the exception. Children develop seemingly abnormal attachments to stuffed animals and security blankets; in the same way, some adults have abnormal emotional connections to a family home, even if they have not lived in it, or even seen it, for decades. In fact, the lost property may be more traumatic than the lost loved one, because relationships become strained but fond memories grow fonder over time. So, it is both impossible and dangerous to sever these emotional ties, but it is possible to manage them and sell the house faster.
Set the Tone Early
By immediately framing the matter as a financial transaction, joint heirs can manage the emotional impediments to a sale without discounting the emotions themselves. Partnering with an attorney at the outset will help immensely. Such a relationship is important anyway, because in New Hampshire, the probate court must issue a license to sell the property and houses are often subject to a creditor claims period. There may also be liens on the property, and an attorney is in the best position to find them.
In certain scenarios, it may even be advisable to disclaim the property, and a lawyer must definitely be involved in these situations.
Survey the Market
All existing homes need some work to make them marketable, and some need a lot more than others. As a very general rule of thumb, selling the house to an investor is an option if it is borderline uninhabitable and may be impossible to sell at a profit. Houses that are in fair condition can be rented or minimally upgraded to meet mortgage company requirements and buyer tastes. It is almost always a good idea to sell houses that are in good condition on the open market.
An attorney that is cognizant of the emotional, financial, and legal aspects of inherited property sales is a trusted advisor in these situations, and a lawyer can communicate your agenda in a meaningful way that resonates with reluctant heirs.
A deceased loved one’s home is more than numbers on a spreadsheet. For help in selling assets quickly and fairly, contact us today.
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