What Happens to the Mortgage When You Inherit a House?

Inheriting a house brings with it challenges, especially if the house comes with a mortgage. What happens to the mortgage when you inherit a house? Under certain circumstances, the mortgage documents may require the beneficiary to repay the entire loan in a very short time; a balloon payment, in other words.

What Happens to the Mortgage When You Inherit a House?

Depending on you and the lender, there are several things that can take place on the death of the owner:

Due-on-Sale Clause

The mortgage documents signed by the borrower often include a due-on-sale clause which states the entire loan is due and payable if the borrower transfers the property to someone else. When the original borrower dies, ownership is legally transferred to a beneficiary. If the due-on-sale clause is included in the mortgage or refinance agreement, you might be required to either pay off the mortgage or sell the property to pay off the loan.

There are Exceptions to Due-on-Sale

There is an exception to the due on sale clause provided by the  The Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982. It provides an exception to the due-on-sale clause. The law allows a close relative who inherits property to assume payments on the mortgage and retain ownership of the property. A joint tenant, who shares title to the house, may also assume the mortgage; the most common situation involves a surviving spouse who still lives in the residence. If the property is inherited by a non-relative, the mortgage lender may still be able to enforce the due-on-sale clause. In practice, lenders often allow anyone capable of making payments to keep the property and simply assume the mortgage.

Other Considerations

Legal Zoom says, “If a relative does not inherit the property and the lender intends to enforce the due-on-sale clause, the lender must provide a notice of acceleration and give the new owner at least 30 days to satisfy the accelerated loan. The law allowing relatives or joint tenants to assume a mortgage applies only to properties with less than five dwelling units. Thus, an apartment building with five or more dwelling units is not covered, and the mortgage due-on-sale clause would be enforceable no matter who inherits the property.”

Possibility of Foreclosure

A lender has the right to foreclose on an inherited property if the new payer is a fool and  fails to maintain payments or is unable to sell the home to satisfy the outstanding amount on the mortgage. If interest rates rise or an improving real estate market boosts home values, the lender may have an even stronger motivation to foreclose on the home.

What about Reverse Mortgages?

If the owner passes away, the estate must repay the reverse mortgage within a limited time, usually six months. If the property passes to you as a beneficiary, you will have to repay the amount advanced to keep ownership of the home. Otherwise, you will have to obtain a new mortgage or sell the property to satisfy the reverse mortgage.

Look to Your Options

If you decide that selling the house is your best option, how fast do you want to sell? In a hurry, then call us to sell the house fast.

Ask now for our FREE information about How to Sell Your House Fast.

I am Christian Dunlap and my company, ChristianBuysHouses.com, buys houses all across Hampton Roads, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth.

Give me a call today at 757-705-8812, and I will do my best to provide you with the fastest and fairest home selling solution you need.

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Christian Dunlap

I am a family man with four kids and one heck of a beautiful wife. For work, I'm one of those, "We buy houses" guys, which basically means I buy houses for cash through out Hampton Roads, fix them up and then resell them. It's a very rewarding career that affords me to the opportunity to meet and help out people from every walk of life.