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How to Sell a House You Inherited in Pittsburgh

Inheriting a house in Pittsburgh is a significant event that comes with a mix of emotions and responsibilities. Whether the property is a cherished family home or an unexpected asset, deciding to sell it involves navigating legal, financial, and emotional landscapes. This guide will walk you through the essential steps to sell an inherited house in Pittsburgh, aiming to simplify the process and maximize your return.

Understanding the Pittsburgh Housing Market

Pittsburgh's housing market is as diverse as its neighborhoods. From the historic charm of Victorian homes in Allegheny West to the modern condos in Downtown Pittsburgh, understanding the local market trends is crucial. The city's economy, driven by education, healthcare, and technology, supports a stable housing market, making it an opportune time to sell. Researching recent sales in the area or consulting with a local real estate expert can provide insights into your property's value.

Probate Process

The first step in selling an inherited property is often going through probate, a legal process that validates the will and transfers the property to the rightful heirs. In Pennsylvania, probate can be straightforward, but it's wise to consult an estate attorney to navigate the process, especially if the will is contested or the estate is complex.

Title and Ownership

Ensuring clear title is critical. You'll need to address any liens, mortgages, or legal encumbrances that may affect the sale. Sometimes, multiple heirs or unresolved estate debts complicate ownership, requiring legal resolution before proceeding with the sale.

Step 2: Preparing the Property

Assess the Property's Condition

Before listing the house, assess its condition. Consider a professional home inspection to identify any major issues that could affect the sale price or lead to negotiations down the line. Repairing significant problems or making cosmetic improvements can enhance the property's appeal and value.

Declutter and Stage

Inherited homes often come with a lifetime of belongings. Sorting through personal items is an emotional task, but decluttering is essential for staging the home effectively. Consider hiring a professional stager to showcase the home's potential, making it more attractive to buyers.

Step 3: Set a Fair Market Price

Determining the right price is a balancing act. Set it too high, and the property may languish on the market; too low, and you might not realize its full value. A comparative market analysis (CMA), conducted by a real estate agent or appraiser, compares your property with similar ones recently sold in the area, helping to set a competitive price.

Step 4: Choose Your Selling Strategy

Hire a Real Estate Agent

An experienced real estate agent who knows the Pittsburgh market can be invaluable. They can handle everything from marketing to negotiating offers, providing guidance through the entire process. Their commission is typically a percentage of the sale price, but their expertise can often net a higher selling price and faster sale.

Consider a Direct Sale

For a quicker sale, you might consider selling directly to a real estate investor or a company that buys houses for cash. This option can be less hassle, with no need for repairs, staging, or open houses, but the offer may be below market value.

Selling It Yourself (FSBO)

If you're up for the challenge, selling the house yourself can save on agent commissions. This route requires significant effort, from marketing and showing the home to negotiating and closing the sale, but it can be rewarding for the right seller.

Step 5: Market the Property

Effective marketing is key to attracting potential buyers. High-quality photos, virtual tours, and detailed listings can highlight the property's best features. Utilize online platforms, social media, and traditional channels to reach a wide audience.

Step 6: Negotiate Offers

Be prepared to receive and negotiate offers. This phase can be complex, involving not just the sale price but also contingencies, closing costs, and timelines. A real estate attorney or your agent can help navigate these negotiations to ensure your interests are protected.

Step 7: Closing the Sale

Closing involves a lot of paperwork and legal formalities. You'll need to settle any outstanding issues, pay off liens or mortgages, and transfer ownership to the buyer. Working with a reputable title company or real estate attorney can ensure a smooth process.


Selling an inherited house in Pittsburgh involves a series of deliberate steps, from understanding legal requirements to preparing the property and choosing the right selling strategy. The process can be emotional and complex, but with the right preparation and support, it can also be a rewarding opportunity to honor the legacy of the loved one who left you the property.

Whether you opt for the expertise of a real estate agent, the simplicity of a direct sale, or the hands-on approach of selling it yourself, being informed and prepared is key to a successful transaction. Remember, every inherited property is unique, and so is every selling journey. Tailor your approach to your circumstances, and you'll navigate the sale with confidence and success.

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