What steps should I take after inheriting a house?

Most people would love to receive a house as a gift or an inheritance. However, this practice is not without its downsides. While you may not have to worry about things like mortgages and down payments, there could be all sorts of other liabilities and obligations lurking in the shadows. 

That is why the steps you take after an inheriting a home are so crucial. This guide explains how to maintain your newest asset so you get the most out of the real estate exchange. 

Think about what you would like to do with the home 

If there are no other inheritors and you decide to move into the home, it is recommended that you have an inspection performed. Even if you are relatively certain the home is in good shape, an inspection will find hidden problems, such as cracks in the foundation. An inspection is also important if you plan on selling the home. While homes can reasonably be sold when in need of repairs, making updates can increase the value of the property and its selling price. You can also choose to rent out the home to earn a passive income. When renting, all potential tenants should be rigorously vetted to prevent problems in the future. 

Update utilities so they are in your name 

In all of the above scenarios, there is likely to be a lapse between your ownership of the home and when it can be re-occupied. Regardless of the time frame, utilities should be changed over to your name as soon as possible. If utilities are shut off it could cause serious problems within the home, especially if the property is located in a region subject to cold weather during the winter. Lack of heat can result in frozen and burst pipes, which will be your responsibility to repair. Additionally, find about taxes associated with the property so you do not fall behind. 

Make a plan for belongings 

Inheriting a home often means inheriting all the personal effects contained within. If you are the sole inheritor, you will naturally want to keep sentimental items or those that have a monetary value. If you inherited the home with other family members, get to together to discuss who gets what. While these discussions can be contentious, it is important to approach them in good faith. For items that have no value to you or other inheritors, consider selling via an estate sale. You can also donate them to a worthy cause when applicable. 

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