If you are a landlord who has decided that it is time to cash in on one of your rental properties, then you likely face the common issue of selling a tenant-occupied home.
Opening the home to a variety of real estate agents and prospective buyers is undoubtedly an inconvenience to tenants, especially since they are not related to this real estate transaction and are facing the stress of moving out in the near future.
Tenants, as opposed to owner-occupants, have nothing to gain from the sale and can sometimes be reluctant to let showings happen. Nevertheless, it is important to cooperate with tenants and keep them informed about showings. After all, without consent for showings, selling becomes difficult. How can your listing agent and other buyers agents overcome this obstacle?
You can find the solution in four key steps:
- Establish clear communication with the tenants
- Make the most of every opportunity
- Adhere to established boundaries and respect the tenant at all times
- Take advantage of technology when the unit is unavailable for showing
Wait for the Lease to Expire
Of course, the easiest way for you to open up the property for home showings and an easy sale is for you to wait until the lease expires. Once the lease has expired and the tenant has moved out, you're free to do with the property what you wish.
Be aware that different states have different requirements for landlords who do not intend to renew their lease with their tenant. It's important to follow all laws when ending an agreement with a tenant. Failure to comply with laws, including notice requirements, could slow the process of getting the tenant out of the house. Consult with your real estate attorney months before the lease is due to expire. Your real estate attorney can help you decide whether this is the right time to end the lease, and if so, what the best way is to get that done.
Get to Know the Tenant's Schedule
It is a good practice to sit down with your tenants and be completely open about how you intend to sell your property by the end of their lease. Communication is vital in order to work out acceptable showing times and conditions that are respectful of your tenant's work schedule and family life. Be respectful of their boundaries in order to keep them cooperative during this time.
Expect Limited Showing Times
When selling a tenant-occupied property, prepare yourself for fewer showing opportunities. Your listing agent, however, will make the most of the opportunities you do have. One way to maximize time is to schedule multiple showings in the same time slot or back-to-back. Another good practice is to instruct other agents to not linger in the property after the showing is completed, but to finish the conversation about the house in their car or on the phone.
Common Scheduling Constraints Need to be Respected
Tenants who have small children often prefer showings to happen while their children are awake. They will also be hesitant to have people over during a naptime or after their children's bedtimes. Parents of older children may prefer showings to happen during school, while tenants with dogs will need to make the proper arrangements to contain their pet during showings.
When you make a clear-cut timeframe where agents and buyers are permitted, there will be little to no conflict regarding consent for showings.
Get Creative With Media
Sometimes it is not possible to get inside the house due to a discordance between the buyer's schedule and the tenant's schedule. In this case, you can get creative with some alternative showing options.
Making a video walk-through of the property that you can post online is extremely helpful in this situation. Videos can convey the mood and ambiance of the property in a way photos cannot. Showing the prepared video to prospective buyers can keep their interest hooked until they can actually get in to see the property itself.
Where There's a Will, There's a Way
The right listing agent knows what it takes to sell your home, even when it is tenant-occupied. By using an arsenal of marketing strategies and communication skills to cooperate with your tenant, you will be able to get buyers into your rental unit so you can get it sold.
The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage
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