I Inherited a House in Georgia – What DO I do?
Handling a Georgia house in Probate can be a long and drawn out process. First, we are sorry for your loss. We have lost family too.
This can be a very challenging time for many reasons, and dealing with property ownership is tough at the best of times. A short list of things to do with a house that needs to be Probated are:
Get all the family members together to decide who will be the administrator. If the estate has a “Will and testament” and has assigned an executor, then that person (or the administrator the family assigned) needs to be sworn in by the probate judge for the position.
Once that is done, now the probate process begins…
I have a Georgia estate with a house, in probate, now what?
Here’s a few important considerations to help you make the right decision:
1) Make sure the mortgage is paid.
Many people completely forget to pay the mortgage on a house being probated. You didn’t have this house last month, so it takes reminders to get in the habit. Find the mortgage information as soon as possible and contact the mortgage company. They will require a copy of the death certificate and the paperwork from the judge assigning you as the administrator (or executor). Don’t let the payments get behind. The bank can still foreclose on the house while in probate if the loan is not paid. The estate should pay the loan, but if there is not enough money in the estate, you may have to pay the loan yourself and get paid back later.
2) Sell your house in probate or rent.
If the estate your probating in Georgia has more than one heir, you will need to have a meeting with the other family members to decide on what to do with the probated house. The house will need to be sold or deeded to the heir you decide (or the will says) should get it. We can help with both of these.
3) Property ownership costs money.
Turning a probated house into a rental property in Ga can provide a supplemental income for a long time, but it may cost some money to get the house ready to rent. Most inherited houses are coming from a family member that has lived in the house for a long time. The house you inherit will probably need to be rehabbed (at least, carpet, paint, lighting fixtures, etc.). An average cost (by our experience) of a basic rehab for a standard 1500 sqft house can be about $6000- $12,000, depending on the age of the house and how well-kept the house was.
4) Selling a property for top dollar costs money.
We buy Ga houses in probate. Most of the houses we buy are in “as-is condition”, because it is faster and easier on the family. If you decide to sell the house for top dollar, be aware of a few things that will help.
– The inherited house will need to be rehabbed (same as renting) to get top dollar. Selling the house may require paying for better quality products (counters, carpet, etc.) than if you were just renting the house though.
– An appraisal of the probated house at the time the owner died will be needed.
– PLEASE CHECK WITH A TAX PROFESSIONAL ON THIS PART. The house can be sold for the appraised value at time of death (or less can provide a “loss” on your taxes) tax free. Taxes will have to be paid on any proceeds of the sale over the appraised value. The probated house does not have to be sold right away, you just need the appraisal to show this new adjusted “Basis” whenever you do sell the house.
5) If the market is growing, hang on to the investment.
Deciding to sell the house now or later could depend on the current real estate market. If you’re not sure what to do with the house in probate, another option is to lease the house for a while and then sell it later. We can help you analyze the value of your property today versus the long-term benefits of renting.
6) Uncle Sam wants a piece of the action.
Don’t forget to discuss your inheritance with tax and legal professionals before you take action. There are major property and income tax consequences that will dramatically impact what you decide to do with the inherited house.
7) Consider all your options.
In order to complete the probate process and close out the estate, all asset will need to go somewhere or be sold. We offer probate services that can help with this.
Call us to schedule a consultation. 478-273-0062 or opt in the form.