Here’s a tough situation quite a few caregivers find themselves in: being responsible for selling a home that’s not in great shape. What do you do when no one seems interested in buying and you can’t afford to keep it?

Q

My sister and I inherited the house we grew up in after my mother’s passing. We are struggling to sell it.

The house needs some repairs and is in need of a renovation, but we can’t afford to do this. There’s a $9k mortgage.

It’s been listed at $50k, but hardly anyone is even looking at it. What can we do to sell the house?

If we can’t sell it, what can we do so it doesn’t damage our credit? I was told that if the house goes into foreclosure it will ruin our credit.

A

If the title is in the name of the estate, then it doesn’t affect your credit at all. If you put your names on the title, then it will. Sell it ‘as is’ for anything over the mortgage and realtor fees. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. The loss of your parents and your childhood home must be difficult. The right family will come along, fix it up, and again make it a loved home with happy memories. Peace of mind is priceless. – Kathy C.

I was in a similar situation about 10 years back after the death of my brother. There was a higher mortgage than yours and it needed lots of repairs. I let it revert to the bank (just quit paying the mortgage) and they sold it at a sheriff’s auction. Funny thing is, the new owner got in touch with me and had me over to see the improvements he made. He’s a real nice guy and it’s comforting to know my brother’s home went to him. – Martha P.

Lower the price and it will sell. – Catherine D.

You may not want to make big financial decisions when you’re in grief. Give it a little time. – Kris M.

I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sure you have a lot of emotions going. Try to think of the house sale like a business. Sell it quickly and take what you get. Don’t worry about what you could get, since you can’t afford to make it ‘marketable.’ – David F.

What about donating it? Perhaps someplace like Habitat for Humanity will take over the mortgage and fix it up so someone can live there. – Mari D.

Is it your mortgage? Unless the mortgage is in your name what happens will have nothing to do with your credit. – Jack R.

If you’re in probate, be aware that you may need the probate judge to approve the price and buyer. This needs to be part of the listing. This adds time to closing and frequently results in a lower sales price. Probate judges are used to houses selling for somewhat less than they’re worth. – Jana D.

Not every upgrade or repair you make has to be expensive. – Cori C.

Are you listing with a realtor? Ask her to market it to investors who may be willing to do the work. If you’re not getting bites, you’re priced too high for the work that needs to be done. You have room to drop it. – Jennifer M.

If you just want to get rid of it, see what an auctioneer thinks it will bring. – Erica J.

Look into local real estate investor Facebook groups. Join and post the ad there. Check out FSBO (for sale by owner) groups. – Patrick N.

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