If you've inherited a house you'd rather not live in, here are some things to consider—before you accept it. Before we get to the selling or renting part, calculate the cost of:
- Repairs and renovations.
- Any debt that would pass to you with the home.
- Annual property taxes.
Yes, you may decline your inheritance if it's too burdensome to accept, as long as you're not already named on the deed, and as long as you meet applicable deadlines
for submitting a notarized disclaimer of interest form.
Now let's look at selling or renting.
1. Selling an Inherited Home Can Produce High Tax Savings.
The federal tax treatment of an inherited home, when sold, can be highly supportive of a deceased homeowner's loved one or family.
Under IRS stepped-up cost basis rules, you may sell without paying tax on the gains that accrued since the deceased homeowner first bought the house. You'll pay capital gains tax only on any increase in the property's value between the time you inherited and the time you sold. These savings alone can be a great gift to you.
Inheritance taxes are not a major factor for most homes, and that factor is easily checked.
2. Working Out a Shared Inheritance Commonly Means Selling.
Are you one of several beneficiaries? Does everyone agree on what to do? One sibling may wish to sell. Another might want the house. These factors typically mean someone will sell their inherited interest.
Selling after a loved one has passed away is quite often the best decision for all concerned. It relieves family or other loved ones of the costs of repairs and upkeep, utilities, taxes and insurance. It also ensures that everyone receives an equal share of the gift.
3. You Could Have a Choice of Which House to Sell or Rent.
If you inherit a free and clear title, you can move into your inherited home, and enjoy it without debt, while selling your current home. Be sure to use the time when the home is in probate to speak with your real estate agent about preparing the home for sale.
Renting out the house for investment income is another option. Your real estate agent can check for any zoning restrictions and offer you further pointers.
Tip: If you rent out the home it won't be a primary residence, so it won't get the capital gains tax benefit when you ultimately sell the home. Yet certain rental property spending is tax-deductible, and rent-related income has a low tax rate.
Need Advice to Fit Your Situation and Today's Market? We're Here to Help.
Inheriting real estate can put a lot on your plate. Your real estate agent can advise you step by step, offering indispensable knowledge when you need it most.