My Relatives Live in My House But I Want to Sell

My Relatives are living in My House and I want to sell it – What Can I Do?

While we all may have had the unwanted house guest outstay their welcome, eventually they left and the world was right again.

What about the relative, (you know the brother or sister that never had it together) that was living in your parent’s house and then your parents passed away?My Relatives Live in My House But I Want to Sell

In the will, your parents left you the house and the brother or sister that is living there doesn’t quite understand why you want to sell it. Of course, they have no money to buy you out and you have no intention of paying for a house that you are not going to live in.

So you come up with an equitable arrangement, the can continue to live in the house, make any mortgage payment that is left, pay the bills, pay for the maintenance of the house, pay the property taxes and of course the home owners insurance.

After all if was Mom’s and Dad’s intention to let them live there as long as they needed? Right?

Then you find out that they are three months behind on the mortgage, or if it is paid off that they have not paid the property taxes in three years. The roof that needed to be repaired two years ago now has partially collapsed and needs to be replaced and finally, they have let the homeowner’s insurance lapse.

[Read more: How to Sell a House Without a Real Estate Agent]

You get this news, but not from them directly, you get it in bits and pieces, like  from the County unable to collect the property tax from them  and decides to go after you. So when you confront them with the obvious questions they become defensive and explain that they just can’t seem to make it work.

There isn’t enough money to go around and that they didn’t tell you because they felt guilty or didn’t want to hear a lecture.

I know that this may sound extreme, but it’s what happens when family lets family occupy houses with the expectation that everything will be just fine.

You think about it long and hard and you finally realize (after years) that the house is no longer the asset you once had; it is now a liability and so are your relatives. You understand that while mom and dad intended for your brother or sister to live there as long as they needed, mom and dad never intended for them to tear apart what they had for years struggled to maintain.

You realize that the only way out is to sell the house.

Of course, they can’t afford to fix it up let alone buy you out and you need to make some very tough decisions.  Then it hits you – if you put what is necessary back into the house to get it in ‘Market Ready Condition’ for a sale, will I ever get it back out as in return on investment? If I pay for all of the work, will my relatives be living there while it is going on, and if so will they move out when it’s done?

[Related Post: Should I Sell with an Agent or to an Investor Outright?]

But if I fix it, how will I get them out? Even if they agree… Will they hinder or help the sale of the property by their presence until they do leave?

I have seen this very scenario over and over again, and while its sounds like an exaggeration of the truth it is not.

Homeowners are generally not ready to make the hard decisions that they would with their own houses when they inherit a house from a parent. The emotional baggage of doing what mom or dad would have wanted and the process of blowing that completely out of proportion seems to be the norm. It usually takes years for them to realize that what their parents wanted was adult-functioning children and by enabling the sibling they have not done what their parents would have wanted.

Interject a sibling that has always taken advantage of a free pass and the two are like matches and gasoline. It is just a matter of time and BOOM… the inevitable explosion occurs.

Have Questions? 

If you have got a house that has fallen apart because of  years of deferred maintenance, or has delinquent property taxes and other liens (like unpaid Bail Bonds, etc.) and you are concerned what you need to do, you owe it to yourself to find out how much your house is worth before you pour thousands of dollars back in when there may never be a return on your investment.

If you have got a relative living in a house that you own and you know the house will never fix itself then call your local Real Estate Investor and let them make you a fair Cash offer to purchase the house. It may be your only way out.

Image adapted by Flickr
Peter Westbrook

About Peter Westbrook

Peter Westbrook is a local Cash Home Buyer / Real Estate Investor in Stockton, Sacramento and Modesto CA and Tulsa Oklahoma. He has written numerous real estate articles that have been published here and by other blog and news outlets. Peter has appeared on several local and national news reports regarding the state of the Stockton and Sacramento Real Estate Markets.

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