If you’ve suddenly inherited a house, you may not be prepared for the questions and issues that can arise. And if you make the wrong decisions, you will likely encounter financial, emotional, and family problems before long.
Forewarned is forearmed, they say, so here’s some of what can go wrong when you inherit a house in Florida.
What Can Go Wrong When You Inherit a House in Florida
You May Owe More Taxes than Anticipated
Most people don’t have to worry about estate tax because of the very high exemption (in the millions), and the estate tax was even temporarily suspended on 2010. But also mostly suspended in 2010 was the step-up provision. So in considering what can go wrong when you inherit a house in Florida and when you intend to sell it, you need to consider the stepped-up capital gains situation.
The step-up provides that you pay capital gains taxes only on the gains above the fair market value at the date of the decedent’s death. It has nothing to with the price the decedent paid for the house – unless the step-up falls in one of the years when it was changed. In that case, you may owe a lot more in taxes than you bargained for.
The Mortgage May Be Bigger than You Thought
Generally in the past, when an elderly parent or relative passed, the mortgage on their house was paid off. These days, though, it’s common for elderly people to take out a reverse mortgage on their home to supplement insufficient retirement funds.
You need to be aware, then, that a reverse mortgage cannot be assumed by heirs. And in the case of a standard mortgage, you can assume the mortgage only if you live in the house yourself. So if you intend to rent the house, you may have to refinance it in your own name.
The House May Need Repairs and Upgrades
With respect to what can go wrong when you inherit a house in Florida, this one may be the most costly. Most of the time, people inherit a house from a deceased elderly parent or very close relative. Besides not having the physical ability to perform maintenance and upgrades, many elderly people don’t have the money for it either. And if they do, they may simply choose not to because they know they won’t be living in the house very many more years.
If you plan to live in the inherited house, this may not be a huge concern. But if you intend to rent it or sell it, you’ll have to make repairs to make it presentable and upgrades to bring it up to code and meet other legal and insurance requirements. Installing a new HVAC system or re-wiring the house will involve a big chunk of money.
You May Have Problems with Relatives and Joint Heirs
But what if you’re not the only heir? That can be a problem. Suppose you and your siblings inherited the house jointly. If you want to sell it, your brother may want to rent it, and your other brother, to live in it himself. You can see what a powder keg waiting for a spark this is.
In most states, joint heirs of a home are considered tenants in common, and one heir can force a sale if it comes to that. The process, however, is expensive, and the emotional and familial consequences are likely to be highly unpleasant.
So what can go wrong when you inherit a house in Florida? Quite a lot, actually, if you’re not up to speed on tax laws, mortgages, and upgrade issues. It is best to contact a qualified professional to help head off these issue quickly.
We’re ready to help you reach your real estate goals and will be glad to answer any and all questions. Contact us by phone at (321) 549-8686 or fill out the online form.
House Beagle is not just a house-buying company. We are different from the rest. We are real estate consultants. Owned and operated by a local Brevard County family, we help our neighbors evaluate their real estate related situation so that they can make the best decision for them. We are real estate investors, so yes, we’re looking to make money. BUT we value integrity most. Sometimes that means we make less, so you can make more. While we could make more buying your house for cash now, we will give you options, including listing on the MLS, since we operate a Licensed and Insured Real Estate Brokerage as well.
You may need to sell because you inherited a house. We can close on your timeline giving you time to vacate so that you can sort through family heirlooms. Or if you need to sell a house fast because of a legal situation such as in the case of a foreclosure or divorce, we can help. We can close as soon as a clear title is determined. You don’t have to clean the house, and you can leave behind anything that you don’t want. We’ll even donate items that can be used by someone else.
If you want an honest, local real estate consultant to help you decide what to do with that house that needs too many repairs, or you’re a tired landlord, or the house causes distress in another way, contact House Beagle today. Not only will we give you a cash offer for your house, but help you determine the best strategy for you. We are your local real estate consultant!