Selling Your Property with a Tenant in Residence

There may come a time when you decide you need to part ways with your investment property. Having to put it on the market is hassle enough when the property is empty. But your investment property has a tenant living in it, you say? Well, that definitely makes things more complicated. But not to fear – there are things you can do to make the whole process go smoothly so you can successfully sell your property!

  • Give the tenant notice – the laws vary, but typically you have to give your tenant no less than 30 days notice that you are selling the property. This applies regardless of the status of the lease. If you know farther in advance that you will be selling, and you have a good tenant, it’s nice to notify them informally before that. They’ll want to know they may need to look for a new place to live, or at least will be dealing with a different landlord. This courtesy is not just for their benefit – a happy tenant will be more cooperative and can help you through the selling process.
  • Get the property ready – request time with the tenant to enter the property so you can ensure that it is ready to show. This may include painting, having the carpets cleaned, and other basic home repairs to make the property more appealing. You can request that the tenant keep the place tidy, but there is no guarantee of this. This is one reason why a good, happy tenant comes in handy when you try to sell.
  • Let the tenant know about showings – when selling your house, you typically need to give the tenant 24 hours notice of a showing (depending upon your local legislation). However, we all know that agents and buyers are not always well prepared. If you get more than 24 hours notice of a showing, tell your tenant instantly. He/she may be more open to last-minute visitors if you play nicely!
  • Let your agent know that the tenant may be there – the tenant does not need to leave the property when there is a showing. In fact, many choose not to. So prepare your agent so they can handle the showings accordingly. Prospective buyers may want to ask the tenant questions, so this is something they should be prepared for!

When you’re selling a property that has a tenant living in it, it’s important to try and be somewhat accommodating with your tenant so they will do the same for you. And if your tenant wants to keep living in the property after it changes hands, make sure to put in a good word for them with the new landlord. Passing on your tenant screening report and any other documentation you have that will help establish the tenant’s credit will stand you in good stead with both tenant and buyer.

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