Did you suddenly become an “accidental” landlord and not know what to do? We’re talking about those not infrequent occasions when you’re told you’ve just inherited a single family home that was left to you by your deceased uncle. Or aunt, or whoever was nice enough to think of you. This may in fact happen to you or someone you know in the future and when it does, don’t be caught flat footed but understand what to expect.
If you’re getting a phone call or certified letter from a probate attorney stating you’re the heir to real estate, if it hasn’t gone through the complete probate process it soon will be. Probate makes sure the all personal and real property has been transferred to the proper parties as designated by the deceased’s will or trust. If there is neither, the probate will have to go through the courts. That said, once the home is in fact all yours and gone through probate, what do you do with the property?
If the home was used for a primary residence, you have two choices—sell or rent. Or, if the home is located where you live and you’d rather live there instead of where you’re now living, you have a new home but the same question regarding your current home. Should you sell or rent?
There are real estate agents and others who have relationships with probate attorneys offering their services. That means you can expect a few solicitation letters from those wanting to help manage or sell your property. If you just want to wash your hands of the whole affair and sell the now vacant home, the agent will be able to provide you with a comparative market analysis that will give you a good handle on how much you can expect to net if sold.
The same agent can also run a market rent survey telling you how much the property would rent for should you take that route. Sometimes this is the easiest choice which gives you time to really think about your best options. Renting the property for a year allows you to explore the positives and negatives of keeping or selling the home. Renting now gives you options in the future. Selling now doesn’t.