Your parents were trying to treat you and your siblings fairly, so they left the family home to you all in equal shares. Now you and your two siblings have to figure out what to do with it.
In an ideal world, you and your siblings will be perfectly in sync with your wishes and feelings and that will make the disposition of the house easy. Selling it and dividing the profits from the sale may be easiest, but you should also understand your other options:
- You can share the house.
Maybe this means each of you will live there, taking up residence in your former rooms and sharing the common areas — along with the upkeep, utility bills and taxes. Maybe you’ll rotate through the house in turns (particularly if it’s a vacation home), each of you claiming a few different weeks of the year.
Whatever you decide to do, you should consider having a written use agreement that defines how the property can be used, who is responsible for what kinds of maintenance or damage and so on.
- One of you can buy out the others.
Maybe your oldest brother is the only one who is emotionally tied to the property. If so, you and your other sibling can negotiate a buy-out agreement. If your brother has the cash to buy you out (or is willing to trade off some other part of their inheritance in exchange for you quitting the deed to the home), you may be through the process fairly quickly.
If your sibling doesn’t have the cash or credit to buy you out right away, you might agree to a payment plan — but use caution. Essentially, that puts you in the position of being your sibling’s loan holder, which could complicate your relationship if they have financial issues down the line.
- Rent it out and split the profits.
Turning the family home into a rental may be a viable option — and it can be profitable in an area where rents are high.
Again, however, it’s wisest to have a clear agreement between you and your siblings about each party’s rights and responsibilities when it comes to maintenance, bills and other issues.
Real estate issues can be complicated under any circumstances. No matter what your plans for your inherited home, it may be time to speak to an attorney.