Buying or Selling a Home/sell inherited home
QUESTION: I inherited my mother's house in Texas when she died a few months ago. I plan on selling it as soon as it clears probate. She probably owes almost as much as it's worth, so I don't want to spend much to sell it. I have someone interested in buying it, but other than what I find on various websites, I have no idea how much to ask for it. Can a realtor give me a reasonable appraisal for a small fee without me having to hire a realtor to actually sell the house? The interested buyer says he's okay with working directly with the title company. I'm okay with that if I know best way to determine the value. Thanks for your time.
ANSWER: Hi Ed.
As a Realtor, I would be remiss to not suggest you use the professional services of a Realtor in your area to do the paperwork and provide ALL of the required disclosures. The last thing you need is to have this now willing buyer become the plaintiff in a case against you because you didn't disclose - fill in the blank -. Even best friends and family will turn on one another when it's about money and the opportunity to sue for what they perceive to be damages.
However, with that being -strongly- advised, you do have the right to sell the home on your own. You could seek the assistance of an attorney or go through a FSBO, aka For Sale By Owner, website that will provide some guidance.
As for market value: Your best bet is to hire an appraiser. They are an impartial third party. Just be sure both you and the buyer agree on the selection. Note: The difference between an assessor and appraiser. An assessor works for the county and determines property taxes. An appraiser determines the market value of a home based on condition and the 'comparables' in the home's local market. Ordinarily, an appraisers 'bread and butter' is working for lenders.
Whatever you do, do NOT depend on sites such as Trulia, Zillow, etc. NO ONE from there has entered your mother's home, know the crime level, infighting with neighbors, drove her neighborhood, etc. They are only using a mathematical algorithm of 'if this than that' for size and age of the home.
Good luck. And, sincere condolences for your loss, Ed.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: I appreciate the quick response to my initial question. If I use a realtor, aren't they able to give a fairly reliable estimate of the value? Then for lending purposes, the buyer can have it appraised if they decide they're interested? Thanks again for your help.
My apologies for the late response. Your follow-up question, for some unknown reason, ended up in my Spam file. Fortunately, I check it before deleting...
Yes, you could definitely call a Realtor and get their opinion of market value. And, yes, the buyer will have to pay the lender's third party appraiser. The small fee you mentioned can be negotiated with the Realtor.