You’ve inherited a house, and your family members are living in it for free. As long as you aren’t incurring any expenses as a result of them living in that property for free, there may not be an issue.

When there are problems or you need to make a decision that they may not agree with, that’s when things get tricky.

It’s always uncomfortable when you’re the technical landlord of a family member and things aren’t working out. If you aren’t the type to throw your weight around, you probably have a lot of reservations about how you want to handle the situation.

Thinking ahead of time and making everyone a part of the process can help a lot.

  1. Decide What You Want to Do With The Property


Since the property belongs to you, you can do one of three things:

  1. Live in it
  2. Sell it
  3. Or rent it out.

Before you decide how to deal with the family members who are living in it, you need to be sure what it is you want to do. Having less ambiguity in the situation is crucial in helping things come to a swift conclusion. It’s best to make up your mind before you bring it up in conversation.

Another thing you might do if you simply don’t want the house and you aren’t interested in cashflow, is directly signing the property over to someone who lives there. If you own the house outright after the inheritance and there isn’t an existing mortgage, you can use a quitclaim deed to quickly and easily transfer ownership. If there are still payments to be made, you can still transfer to the home, but you’ll need to work with the lender to make those arrangements.

If you want to sell or rent the house, how do you want to approach that?

Would you rather have a buyer or a renter who is completely unrelated to your family, or do you want your family to be ones buying or renting it?

Formulate a plan, and be clear in what you expect the outcome to be.

  1. Evaluate the Situation

Are you the only person who inherited the property?

If you inherited it jointly and one of the inheritors lives in it, you can’t sell it or rent it out from under that person. Everyone whose name is on the house needs to agree about what happens next.

Before you plan anything, discuss it with other people who legally have a say in the final decision. If you need to sell or rent the home to someone outside of your family, what is the surrounding market like?

Are you going to be able to do so easily, or will you be waiting for a buyer for a long time?

Think about the timeframe you’re working with and make sure you have a reasonable ballpark before you present anyone with information.

One of the most important parts of evaluating the situation is considering how your family members are going to feel about your choice. Are they in a position where you’ll be making their lives more difficult?

Are they still grieving and holding onto the property for sentimental reasons?

Empathy counts for a lot.

Put yourself in their shoes before you decide to make a move.

  1. Talk to Your Family Members

Talk to your family about your inherited house

If the family members living in the house you inherited don’t have a claim to ownership, you ultimately have the final say in what happens. That doesn’t mean you should push and shove to get your way – the last thing you want is a family dispute, especially after the passing of a loved one.

How You might want to sell or rent the home because you’re in an emergency financial situation. Your family might be a little more understanding if you’re candid about that from the beginning. They won’t want to see you struggling, and if struggling is imminent, it helps to be forthcoming. They’ll likely be a lot more helpful and supportive.

Listen to what they have to say and consider their points without being dismissive. Listening is the most important part of communication, especially when their opinions may differ from yours. Be careful not to shut anyone out, even if you’re positive about the move you want to make next. Don’t invalidate anyone’s feelings before you decide you need to do something drastic.

Come to a Satisfying Conclusion

You might need to make some compromises. If you want to sell the property but the family members living in that property can’t afford to move, see what you can do to help them out. If you’re going to profit from the sale of the home, sharing the money might be a solution that everyone can get behind. They’ll have the funds to relocate, and you’ll have the profits from the home.

It’s equally as important to consider time. Your family members deserve an adequate amount of notice before a huge change is made. Give them a few months to get used to the idea. This will make the process easier, and no one will feel like you’re acting behind their backs. Everyone should feel thoroughly informed, because the choices you make are affecting them.

When It’s Time to Sell

In an ideal situation, you’ll be in complete control of the timeframe when you sell. You’ll also want access to cash, especially if you’ve planned to share the funds with the family members who live in the inherited property. Southern California Home Buyers can help you out on all fronts.

We understand how delicate your situation can feel. We’re ready to close whenever you’re ready to close, whether it’s in as little as a week or as long as a few months from the time you contact us.

We’re ready to handle all of the sale paperwork and the technical aspects of the process. We want to make things simple for you by providing you with a safe and reliable way to sell your inherited property.

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Doug Van Soest
Doug Van Soest

Hi I'm Doug! I'm a professional Investor here in SoCal. My wife Andrea and I have been purchasing homes for over 12 years and have helped over 500+ happy sellers just like you. If you'd like to remove the burden of finding a buyer and eliminate a lot of stress from selling your home we can genuinely help your situation.