How to Sell Inherited Property


If you have inherited property that you intend to sell, you first should look into whether there are any mortgages or liens on the property that need to be paid. You also should research the current value of comparable properties in the area. One major concern may be how to calculate your profits.

Pay any outstanding property taxes and then keep them current. Make sure that the property has been paid off. There may be other bills, which will need to be paid out of the sale of the property. Not all properties inherited come free and clear.

Contact a real estate agent to sell the property for you. Get an appraisal and then deduct probable expenses from the potential sales price. Be sure to include mortgage payments, taxes, homeowner insurance, appraisal fees, real estate fees, fees for inspections, and any other expenses related to the sale of the home. This will give you a better idea of how much money you can expect to collect following sale of the property. Discuss the list price, as well as the bottom line offer that you are willing to accept.

Think about having an estate sale or auction. This may reduce the length of time you will be responsible for continuing to maintain the home in the interim between inheriting and then selling the property.

Sell to a cash buyer. You may not get as much money for the property, but you likely can sell it more quickly. Sellers who sell to cash buyers usually get about 80% of the real estate’s market value.

Talk to your attorney and/or tax advisor before signing any contracts or other legal documents. You will need to consider the tax consequences. Stepped-up value, or the value of the property at the time when the previous owner died, allows for less taxable gain when the inherited property is sold. Any appreciation in the value of the property during the decedent’s lifetime is forgiven. You are taxed only on appreciation after inheriting the asset. If the property has declined in value since you inherited it, you may be able to claim a loss deduction on your taxes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Property received as an inheritance is not considered to be income by the person who inherits it. The adjusted basis of a home is its fair market value at the time it was inherited. How long you own the property before you sell it will determine whether any profit earned on the sale will be short-term or long-term capital gain. In most cases, when you add up the value of the home at the time you inherited, then add in any costs for improvements you make to the property in order to sell it, the home likely will not sell for much more. If there is no gain when you sell the home, you will owe no capital gains tax.

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