Tips for Renovating Estates in Probate

Homeowners in the United States know the value of a home renovation project. Whether you’re based in California, Florida, or New York, you’re likely a member of a broad club—one that conducts home improvement projects on a regular basis in order to routinely improve upon the quality of life and cash value of your home.

American homeowners spend over $400 billion annually on renovation projects, according to a Harvard study into trends in the U.S. property market and after-market improvement sector. Home improvement within your own space is a given. This is simply a part of life as your family grows and changes around you. Our needs evolve as we welcome children into the home, and we then see them sprout up and eventually leave on their own adventures before our very eyes.

What should you do with a home within an estate, though? Heirs are often stumped when it comes to improvement projects on a home that they’ve suddenly taken an ownership interest in after the loss of a parent, aunt, or grandparent. Renovating an estate that has reached the probate process requires a different tactic than a home improvement project on your own home. This is because the fate of this property is far from decided. If the home will be split across a number of beneficiaries—you and your two siblings, for example—then the calculation for pouring money appropriately into the home becomes even muddier. With these tips you can work to make the image a little clearer and make the right decision for you and your family.

Decide on a plan for the home.


Coordinating with your siblings or beneficiaries in order to create a coherent plan is the first step toward renovating or selling a home that you’ve been given in a will. One of your siblings may want to take up residence in the home, or you may all be in agreement on a quick sale to liquidate the property. Organizing a meeting amongst each of the beneficiaries is the best way to understand each person’s perspective and hopes for the property. This is also the best way to head off any conflict that may arise as a result of a difficult estate to split evenly.

Speaking with your loved one and understanding their will and wishes is the best way to gain a clearer picture of how these assets should be divided, of course. However, in the absence that naturally comes during a probate period, communication between heirs is the best remedy for infighting. If you’re in agreement over selling the property, then utilizing one of many trust loans available to recipients of an estate can be your best bet on sprucing up the property for the open real estate market.

Alternatively, a trust loan or other financing option is a great way for one sibling to buy the shares in a property that’s jointly owned by the other beneficiaries. Mortgage financing can give you the cash you need to make your family members whole and take on sole ownership of the home in question. This is a great option for a growing family that wants to move out of a home that has become too small for their needs. With the added weight of your inherited share, the overall price of the property is reduced to a far more favorable figure. Of course a fair appraisal will be required in order to make everyone else in the probate stage whole, however.

Target quality of life upgrades.


A home that has been willed to you is often one with an outdated style. Our parents and grandparents built a life in their homes based on an older manner of thinking, and their spaces often reflect a different time than the current. Home buyers these days appreciate modern amenities, a swimming pool in the backyard, and additional space to stretch out; perhaps even a home office that can accommodate their current work-from-home load.

Approaching a pool builder is a great way to add value to the home without a major expense to go along with it. Many homeowners ask “how much does it cost to build a pool in Tampa?” and the truth is that swimming pools pay for themselves in resale value. Houses in the Tampa Bay area are being constructed with in-ground pools and a waterfall, hot tub, or custom pool tile features as a standard inclusion in the backyard.

Also, an in-ground pool in your backyard gives you the ability to lounge in style in a see-through bikini or one-piece swimsuit. Whether you’re looking to sell the home or move in and make the space your own, the inclusion of a reworking of backyard landscaping is a great way to improve upon the overall quality of life that one enjoys as a homeowner.

Think about quality of life upgrades when taking possession of a home during probate. These will make great additions, whether you’re looking to retain the space as a homeowner or sell.