Legally, buying an inherited home isn't that different from buying any piece of real estate. It may feel very different, however, if you're negotiating with your siblings to buy the family home they inherited. The Bankrate website notes, it's best to approach the sale as if none of you had an emotional attachment to the house.
Setting a Price
As your siblings got the house for free, they may be willing to let it go for less than it's worth. However, they may insist on you paying full price, or be so attached to the family home they want way more than it's worth.
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The best way to negotiate without alienating each other is to treat the house as if it were a regular investment property. This requires you establish the fair market value of the house. Fortunately, the decedent's executor will have set a value on it as part of managing the estate. Ask her for the figures and use that as a starting point for negotiating with your siblings. If they insist on more money, there are arguments you can make:
- The bank won't give you a mortgage for more than the property is worth, as Kiplinger magazine points out.
- If they sell to you promptly, they don't have to spend money on hiring a real-estate agent or advertising the sale, or put effort into sprucing up the house to make it attractive.
- The sooner you take the property, the less they have to pay in property taxes and maintenance.
When Siblings Disagree
It's possible after you make your pitch that your siblings may not agree on how to proceed. For example, two may agree to sell, but another wants a higher price than you can afford. Co-ownership isn't a majority rules situation, the National Paralegal College says: The siblings who want to sell can't force the holdout's hand.
Any of your siblings can, however, file for partition. This requires going to court, telling the judge they can't agree on what to do with the house and asking her to partition it -- ordering them to sell the property. If the judge agrees you may win the house, but damage your relationships with the sibling who didn't want to sell.
Another option is to buy out the sibling or siblings who are willing to cut a deal. If, say, two of your siblings are willing to sell you the house, buying their interest makes you and the remaining sibling tenants in common. That gives both of you the right to use or move into the property. Your sibling may agree to this, or if he wants something different -- to rent the house out, say -- he can file for partition.
Transfer of Title
If your siblings agree to sell, they'll need to fill out the appropriate deed for your state, transferring title to you. Each state has its own format and rules for deeds, but all deeds must be notarized, then filed with the appropriate county office. This may be the Registry of Deeds or Country Recorder, depending where you live. The county is the one where the house is located.
There are several types of deeds, but the Fortenberry law firm says a quitclaim deed is probably one to use. By signing a quitclaim deed, your siblings give up their title to the property, but make no guarantees the title is good. They're risky to use in a regular home purchase, but common when buying from family.