Edlen: Inherited a House? Know the Options

By Michael Edlen
Special to the Palisades News

Eventually, many people need to decide what to do with a home they have inherited. Generally, this will be the case when a family member has passed, and there are several alternatives that are well worth exploring and evaluating before making important decisions. Some people may become trustees who are responsible to family members and perhaps others who have a financial interest in the property.

There are various options to consider, including selling the house, leasing it, moving into it, or perhaps developing and then selling it. I advise people to meet with a financial advisor to compare some of the options for the use of asset funds and to also compare with alternative investment opportunities.

An experienced local real estate agent can help in the decision-making process as well. He or she can do a professional analysis of the potential market value as a sale or a lease.

Michael Edlen

The agent can also recommend which home improvement actions would have a good return on investment in order to maximize the highest value of the property.

Some agents may also provide added services such as coordination of clearing out the house and preparations before the beginning of marketing. This might include painting, carpet cleaning or replacement, landscape upgrading and professional house and window cleaning. Which of these items to address would depend on whether you decide to sell or lease.

In some cases, the decision may be to make every effort to retain the property for present or perhaps future family use. If one heir will be occupying it, various alternatives will need to be discussed so arrangements are made to fairly compensate other heirs who may be disadvantaged for the time being.

If the decision to sell the property is postponed, and none of the heirs will be living in it, then leasing it for a year or two may be the most favorable decision. This will provide cash flow to the heirs quickly, and also give time to decide which long-term plans to make.

Most family or trust heirs decide to simply sell the property. Others develop it with a substantial investment to expand and/or upgrade it before selling.

However, a serious consultation with a local real estate agent is highly advisable before an heir decides to consider that latter course of action, as there are many aspects that could make this a risky decision.

Michael Edlen is ranked in the top one percent of all agents across the country. For more information, visit MichaelEdlen.com ,call (310) 230-7373 or email michael@michaeledlen.com.

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