The day you inherit a house, you may think your problems are over, and there will be no more struggling to find the rent or meet the mortgage payments. You might imagine that all you have to do from now on is make enough to pay the bills and put food on the table. Inheriting a house can provide an incredible sense of security. Yet, before you grab the key and start to make yourself at home, there are a few things you need to address.
There may be issues to resolve before you move into an inherited property
- Is it really all yours? You need to check that the title is clear. Sometimes there are disputes about the will. A long lost relative may appear and make a claim on the property. Or someone may have a lien on it. All of those things need to be addressed.
- Are there any unpaid bills? Do not assume the mortgage is fully paid. Also, you need to look at the state of the property taxes and utility bills.
- Are there ongoing fees? Some properties come with expensive monthly or yearly fees for maintenance or to a homeowner’s association. If you cannot afford to pay them, it may be better to sell the property.
- Is the property habitable? If the roof is full of holes, you might want to think twice before leaving your previous home. Some buildings need expensive repairs.
If you inherit a property, check out the conditions and debts attached to it before you make any decisions. An attorney can help you assess the situation and understand your options. You may decide it is better to sell than move in.