Selling an Inherited House in Pennsylvania: The Ultimate Guide
What is an Inherited House?
An inherited house, as you might have guessed, is a residential property you received as an inheritance—usually when a loved one passes away and leaves their property behind in their will. This type of property can bring about a mix of emotions. On one hand, it might be a meaningful legacy from someone you cherished. On the other, it could be a financial burden, demanding maintenance costs and property taxes.
Still, an inherited house is not just an emotional or financial wildcard; it’s also a legal entity. In the eyes of the law, the inherited home represents a tangible asset that must adhere to specific regulations during the transfer of ownership. This legal dimension adds another layer of complexity to the inheritance process, particular when multiple beneficiaries are involved.
Navigating through these issues can be challenging, particularly amidst the grief and loss of a family member. That’s why understanding the basics—the legal framework and financial implications—can guide you through the process, whether you plan to keep the house or sell it.
Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s will is validated in court. It involves many steps, including identifying and gathering the deceased’s assets, paying their final debts, and ultimately, distributing the remaining estate to the rightful beneficiaries.
Interestingly enough, probate isn’t just about proving the validity of a will—it’s also about managing cases where no will was left by the deceased. In these situations, probate ensures that the assets are distributed according to state law. In Pennsylvania, this process is managed by the county Register of Wills, which adds another layer of procedural uniqueness to consider.
Can I Sell My Inherited House in PA Without Probate?
Pennsylvania law does allow certain probate exemptions, providing avenues to sell an inherited house without undergoing the complete probate process. These options could make your life easier, particularly when you’re focused on selling the house quickly.
- Joint Ownership: Joint ownership allows you to avoid probate if the deceased was a joint owner of the property, with rights of survivorship. In such cases, the surviving joint owner automatically inherits the property.
- Revocable Living Trusts: A revocable living trust, created when the original owner was still alive, can harbor the property and exclude it from probate. Because the house is owned by the trust, it’s not part of the deceased’s probate estate.
- Gifts: If the inherited house was given as a gift before the death of the owner, it is not part of their estate and does not require probating. This, however, necessitates a sufficient paper trail to prove the gift transfer.
How to Sell an Inherited House in PA With Multiple Beneficiaries
In cases where an inherited house is left to multiple beneficiaries, selling the property becomes a bit more complicated. The rights of each beneficiary need to be thoroughly considered, and unanimous consent for the sale is usually required.
When one or more beneficiaries don’t agree with the decision to sell, it can throw a wrench in the process. Disputes like this can end up in court, causing stress, expense, and delays. Mediation or negotiation is often the best first approach to securing agreement and avoiding further legal battles.
What if All Beneficiaries Don’t Agree to Sell
In situations where all beneficiaries can’t reach an agreement, partition actions may be an option. A partition action divides the property so that each party has ownership of a portion. If partitioning the property isn’t possible—for example, with a single-family home—the court may order the property to be sold and the proceeds distributed amongst the beneficiaries.
Options for Selling Your Inherited Property in PA
Pennsylvania offers a range of avenues for individuals looking to sell their inherited property. Here are some options to consider:
- List With an Agent: Employing the services of a real estate agent can be helpful. They bear the burden of marketing your house, negotiating prices, and handling paperwork. However, their service is not free. They usually charge a commission fee that’s deducted from the overall sale price.
- For Sale By Owner (FSBO): Selling the property yourself can save you commission costs, but it also means doing all the legwork yourself—from showing potential buyers around to negotiating final prices. It’s hard work, but in some cases, it could be the best option.
- Cash Home Buyer: Cash home buyers can be a quick solution for a speedy sale, especially if the property needs significant repairs. Companies like ours, Yes I Pay Cash, specialize in buying homes as-is, offering a hassle-free process to homeowners.
Sell Your Inherited House in PA For Cash!
Yes, I Pay Cash! We make selling your inherited house straightforward and stress-free. We understand the emotional and financial challenges that come with an inherited house. Our aim is to simplify your life by offering a swift, cash-based transaction.
We don’t ask for repairs or renovations—instead, we buy your house as-is. There’s no waiting or suspense. We don’t use traditional bank financing, so there are no delays. Our cash offers are quick and firm.
Additionally, you save on agent commissions and avoid the stress of open houses. We handle all the little details of the transaction with professionalism and care, offering you a peace of mind deal.
Sell My Inherited House in PA - Common Questions
Do I need to pay tax when selling an inherited house in Pennsylvania?
Yes, selling an inherited house in Pennsylvania might incur inheritance, capital gains, or estate taxes depending on your particular situation. It’s wise to consult with a professional.
Can I rent out an inherited property rather than selling it?
Absolutely! If the conditions are right, renting out the property could provide a steady income stream. However, remember this option also entails ongoing maintenance and management costs.
What's the difference between inheriting a house and receiving it as a gift?
The main difference is that an inherited property is received after a person’s death while a gifted property is transferred while the owner is still alive.
What happens if the inherited house has an outstanding mortgage?
Any outstanding mortgage must be settled either through estate funds or from the proceeds of selling the house. If the mortgage isn’t paid off, the lender could foreclose.
I've inherited a house jointly with others. Can I sell my share?
This depends on the type of ownership. If you have a “tenants in common” ownership, you can sell your portion without the consent of other owners. If it’s “joint tenancy”, all owners would have to agree to sell.
Final Thoughts: Selling an Inherited House in Pennsylvania
Selling an inherited house in Pennsylvania can seem overwhelming, but with the proper guidance and understanding of the process, it is indeed manageable. No matter how you choose to sell—whether through an agent, on your own, or through a cash home buyer like Yes I Pay Cash—remember that the solution that works best for you is always the right choice.
At Yes I Pay Cash, we buy inherited houses in Pennsylvania, including Allentown, Reading and Philadelphia. You can also sell your inherited property in Harrisburg, York and Lancaster.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or financial advice. Please consult with professionals for advice specific to your situation.
Central Pennsylvania Estate, Probate and Inheritance Resources
Get A Cash Offer On Your Inherited Property
Tariq Thomas, has been a full-time real estate investor since 2002 and has personally flipped hundreds of properties. He is the founder and owner of Yes I Pay Cash - We Buy Houses. Tariq's goal is to help home sellers find the best solution for their real estate needs, whether that's selling their home quickly, getting top dollar, or avoiding the hassle of a traditional home sale.
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