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Selling an Inherited Property in Chesapeake

Selling an Inherited Property in Chesapeake

Selling an inherited property in Chesapeake or anywhere else in Virginia? Before you line up a buyer, you need to know that selling inherited property may not be as easy as it sounds.

Selling an inherited property in Chesapeake or anywhere else in Virginia is centered on the title to the property. Whoever has the title has the right to sell the property. Deciding who has the title is not always a clear-cut process.

Find the Title Before Selling an Inherited Property in Chesapeake

Step one in selling an inherited property is finding the title in the local courthouse deed records books. Simply saying, “I own the property and I have the title because I inherited it,” is not good enough for a mortgage company or other lender.

A lender wants proof of the claim in writing from official records.

Title insurance companies also want that same kind of proof. A title insurance company offers insurance to back up the claim that the property deed transfer is legal and everything is in proper order.

Even if the buyer is offering cash, he wants proof that he is really buying a clear title to the property.


So what is this proof everyone seems to want? The buyer wants:

  • Legal evidence that you own the property
  • You have the right to sell it
  • A combination of both.

Proof of ownership

Proof of who owns the property is done via a title search. A title clerk goes to the courthouse property records vault to trace the chain of ownership. These records can go back to the founding of the county.

Some of these records are centuries old on the east side of the United States.

Records in more recently settled areas may go back 100 years or less.

Right to sell

The right to sell comes in different ways.

1) You own the property outright and have the legal right to sell it. This is straightforward.

2) You have written permission from the owner of record to sell the property. This kind of permission should be notarized as well.

3) You co-own the property with other people and have their permission (see No. 3 above) to also sell their shares in the property.

In Your Name

The easiest way to selling inherited property in Chesapeake is to get the property into your name. Once done, you can do whatever you like with it.

When people have a good last will and testament, it creates a clear line of succession. Getting the property from the deceased person’s name into your name is a matter of filing the proper paperwork at the records office inside the courthouse.

Without a will, transferring property gets more complicated than filing an itemized tax return.

A Will

A probated will is crucial to selling an inherited property in Chesapeake or anywhere else in Virginia. A probated will means it has gone through the vital records department, probate court or the equivalent. The will was found legal and valid.

Without a will, things get hairer and more tangled than a pomeranian that has never been brushed.

If someone dies without a will, the court system has to step in and decide who gets what from the estate. If that person had real estate, you cannot sell it until and unless you get permission from the relevant court.

The court functions as the estate executor. The process can take a while.

Settle the Estate

To settle an estate without a will, the court has to contact all immediate family members and notify them of the death and the property the person owned.

In general, this is any surviving spouse, children and descendants of those children. You can imagine that in the case of a large family, this is time-consuming.

Once all potential inheritors are served and their claims processed, the court can give you permission to sell the property.

Sometimes, potential inheritors cannot be contacted. If that happens, the court has to make a ruling to handle their share of the estate.

Remember that pomeranian? It just transformed into a herd of sheep that was not sheared for 3 years. Finding everyone and getting everyone to agree may be as difficult as finding an honest politician.

In some cases, a lawyer can handle contacting other inheritors and getting a sales agreement from them.

Have a will. It makes things so much easier for those you leave behind.

A Probated Will

Once a will gets processed, probated is a common legal term, then the executor takes over. The executor carries out the terms of the will. Sometimes, the executor decides who gets what.

When the executor gives you the property, you transfer the property to your name. Then, you can sell it. If you are the estate executor and you decide who gets what, then you can transfer the property to yourself.

Sales Agreement

If you jointly own the property with other inheritors, you need a sales agreement.

Get. This. In. Writing.

Seriously. Families are torn apart every day over inheritance and deciding how to divide an estate. This is another reason why a will is so important. The person making the will spells out everything ahead of time. Since it is in writing, it is hard to successfully argue against it.

You need a written agreement with joint inheritors in the absence of specific directions in the will. This will not prevent all hard feelings later, but it cuts way down on the chances of that happening.

Here are some points the agreement needs to cover:

  • How much money does each person get when the sale is completed ?This can be a percentage or a flat amount.
  • The sale price. This is where percentages are important. If the sale more than the agreed price, how is the extra distributed?
  • How to handle the sale. Will you hire a real estate agent or do a For Sale By Owner?
  • Who is responsible for dealing with the real estate agent?
  • All details regarding the expenses surrounding the sale such as auction fees, advertising, real estate agent commissions and such. All the expenses should come out of the sale proceeds first, but this too is something that should be in writing.

Get this agreement notarized.

Selling an Inherited Property Within the Family

If the sale is within the family, you still need the ability to sell the property, as discussed above. You absolutely need a sales contract.

If you want to sell the property to a family member, you may want to include some extra provisions in the sales contract. For example:

The property has a large body of water. You may want to keep access rights to the water for fishing, swimming or other recreational activities. Be sure this agreement gives you a right-of-way access down to the water.

These kinds of sales riders are mostly in cases where large pieces of land (or water) are being sold along with a house. If you are just selling a house and the plot of land with it, you probably do not need continual access.

A Straightforward Sale

Interested in selling an inherited property in Chesapeake for cash? Great, let’s look at this as a straightforward sale. You have the legal right to sell the property and have any and all needed agreements in hand.

Here are the steps to follow:

Settle claims

Settle any and all claims on the property. This could be a mortgage, taxes or some other lien. A title search at the courthouse will show these items.

In the case of a mortgage, you may need to continue making payments until the house is sold. Once the house is sold, the mortgage is paid off first.

Some other liens can be settled through the property sale.

Tax liens have to be settled before the property is sold. Smart buyers will not buy property with a tax lien.


Find out how much the property is worth. An appraisal company will give you a starting point. Real estate agents can also tell you the value.

If you understand how property taxes are figured, you can use the tax information to get a reasonable value estimate.

Now, set your price.


Start advertising the property for sale or contract with a real estate professional. If you hire an agent, they handle all the advertising.


Negotiate with the buyer. If you have an agent, this person handles the negotiations for you.

When you settle on a price, attend the closing and sign the paperwork. If you cannot be at the closing, have the paperwork sent to you overnight express and return it the same way.

An Easier Way to Selling an Inherited Property in Chesapeake

If you have a clear title to the property you inherited, there is an easier way to selling your inherited property in Chesapeake.

Call me.

Here at Onyx REI we buy real estate and offer a fast closing. You do not worry about juggling that sudden extra mortgage payment or upcoming taxes. You get your money fast.

Stephen "Josh" Ralph

Retired Air Force veteran Stephen, along with his wife Michelle, founded Onyx REI. Together, they help home sellers navigate the real estate market throughout Hampton Roads, Virginia.

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