You inherited a house on Long Island. Should you sell, rent, or move in?


“Living in the home is probably ideal in most cases. But I would never suggest uprooting your life over money unless you absolutely had to.”

– Eric Ramsay

OK, here’s the situation.

A parent just passed away and left you the house. You don’t live anywhere near it, and aren’t sure what to do.

In the meantime, you’re paying taxes and utility bills, besides having the lawn mowed.

This 3 bed, 1 bath ranch on 1/3 acre is supposed to be an asset, but it’s currently a liability. You have to move quickly.

But what do you do? Especially in an uncertain real estate market.

Do you sell it? And if so, do you fix it up first?

Or do you rent it out? And what are the pros and cons of renting? Lastly, do you add a bathroom, maybe an addition, uproot your life and move in? We checked in with local expert Eric Ramsay of Ramsay Realtors in Bay Shore for some expert advice.

Click here to get in touch with Ramsay yourself, or call 631-336-9563.

You can also email

How much could I sell for?

This is the easy part, and simply involves contacting a local real estate agent. Ramsay Realtors would provide you with a free comparative market analysis on the property before doing anything else.

“It’s hard to make any decisions without knowing what you could get for the house,” he said. “But once the fair market value is determined, you can start making some informed decisions.”

The market price would be determined without any improvements to the home, but only based on a comparison of what similar houses are currently selling for in your area.

How much could I get for rent?

Ramsay Realtors also markets homes and apartments to rent, and their realtors have a trove of data at their disposal to ensure you’re getting the market price for your rental before any lease is signed. Ramsay could market the house for you and, best of all, the incoming tenant typically pays the broker fee. 

This is a great way to turn that liability into an asset seemingly overnight.

“Although renting can be a great option, New York has a very tenant-friendly legal code,” Ramsay said. “If your tenant, unfortunately, falls on hard times it may be difficult to evict them.”

So there is some risk.

Also, he added, other people might not take care of the house and property as well as you would, so you risk the property losing value over time if it’s not kept nice, or worse.

Out-of-pocket, typical maintenance costs are also a factor to keep in mind. Also, being a landlord will take up some of your time.

How much might the home be worth in 10 years?

“Since 1991, the average annual home price has increased about 4% per year,” Ramsay said. “It’s difficult to speak on where the market will be in 10 years, but historically prices continue to increase. Especially on Long Island, where there is little risk of one main employer closing shop or one main employment industry contracting, which can lead to steep local market declines elsewhere.”

Before selling, should I add another bathroom or renovate a kitchen?

“Before selling it’s going to be best to consult with your realtor and let them guide you on what improvements to make,” he said.

In other words, don’t do anything without some expert advice.

“While some improvements might be worthwhile, other improvements can be costly and unnecessary,” he said. “A new coat of neutral color paint can go a long way though!”

Or do I pull out a line of credit, improve the home, and just move in?

Sometimes doing an extension or otherwise adding more money to a house is a great move, Ramsay says.

“Unfortunately, sometimes it can be the other way around,” he stressed. “There’s only so much value a property can hold, and it could end up being tough to get the money you put in, back out. Consulting with a real estate professional and discussing your options is your best bet.”

And Ramsay’s expert advice is free.

“Every situation is unique,” he said. “Living in the home is probably ideal in most cases, however if you have kids in another school district, it might not be the best time to relocate them. Or maybe you just have connections to another area. I would never suggest uprooting your life over money unless you absolutely had to.”

Again, click here to get in touch with Ramsay yourself, or call 631-336-9563.

You can also email

If priced right, how quickly could it sell?

This is what it’s all about: pricing.

“Pricing the house competitively will allow for a multiple-bid situation in today’s current market, especially with a low housing inventory,” he said.

So, basically, if it’s priced to sell, you might get that asking price you’ve dreaming of anyway. If it’s priced too high, you might hear crickets.

“With multiple bids as a seller you will have the ability to take the deal that suits your needs best,” Ramsay said. “And from the right potential buyer.”

Should I make any necessary improvements to attract FHA buyers?

Not yet, because it could be a waste of money.

“I would recommend crossing that bridge when the situation arises,” Ramsay said. “If the buyer for your property is an FHA buyer and something going on with the house is not FHA approved, we should have the ability to fix the issue pretty quickly to get the deal done.”

Last time: Click here to get in touch with Eric Ramsay, or call 631-336-9563.

You can also email, or fill out this form:

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