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Selling A Tenant Occupied Property

Tenant occupied home

The ins and outs of selling a tenant occupied property are complex enough we thought the subject deserved its own article.  So, let’s dive in to some of the pros and cons of the situation:

Pros

-No vacancy time

-Tenants may have nice furnishings for showing “staging”

Cons

-Hard to enter and schedule showings

-May have pets in the home

-Cant guarantee 100% of showings will occur

-Can reduce sales price

-Cannot guarantee cleanliness

-Buyers may be uncertain how to buy a leased property

-Only conventional loan buyers can purchase if lease is longer than 60 days post-sale


The reasons not to sell a tenant occupied property can greatly outnumber the reasons to.  The no vacancy time is an important one, and this is where it is easy to get caught up because it sounds like a way to save money.  In our experience though, it tends to cost you more than you think. Making the home as appealing as possible can be much more difficult with the tenant in place.  Below are a few reasons why.

It Can Be Difficult to Guarantee Cleanliness and Overall Showing Condition

Showing a property that is clean and upkept on the inside makes buyers feel right at home.  Many tenants have kids and/or pets that can be difficult to have everything cleaned up after all the time.  Buyers may comment on small things like this when they should be looking at how beautiful your home is, and how they can see themselves moving in with everything being perfect.

Home staging companies like White Orchid Interiors do very well with capturing buyers emotions and turning them into dollars for you.  They create a space that turns your home into a beautiful showroom that potential buyers fall in love with.  Walking into a staged home, buyers feel welcomed. There is a sense of cleanliness and order. When there is no clutter in a staged home like there is in any personal residence, buyers feel like they can to move in and live a clutter free life (easier said than done).

For more information on the benefits of staging, HGTV.com makes some good points. Staging a home is at the other end of the spectrum versus showing a home tenant occupied, and is a good discussion for you and your agent to discuss.  Depending on the market and the specific home, selling a property vacant versus tenant occupied can bring in an additional 5% to the closing table. That is an estimate and there are many factors that can affect that number, but bringing the best product (your home) to the market can make a significant difference.

Tenants May Not Approve Every Showing

They may be great tenants, and their lease does require they allow showings during the last portion of the lease, but things can come up.  The tenants are not as invested in the success of the sale as you are, and this can affect the price your home sells for.

Buyers in today’s market want to see properties when they want to see them.  A lot of times this means now.  Being able to give the buyer what they want can lead to a significant increase in showings.  To sell your home for top dollar, you want as many people as possible to see it. If you can get the most people in a short amount of time, this can even lead to a bidding war.

Bidding war or not, remember it only takes one person to pay the price that you are looking for.  If a tenant for any reason does not allow that right person in on the right day, it may lead to price concessions on the home, and longer days on market.  Once your tenant starts moving out and packing, if the home is still on the market it can really affect showings in a negative way.

There may also be situations where the tenants cannot leave the home, but still approve a showing.  I don’t know if you have been involved in a showing when the occupants of the home (sellers or tenants) have been present, but it is definitely not what buyers are looking forward to.

Pets

This is a tough one and luckily does not affect every transaction.  One of the number one rules of selling a home is to make the pets disappear.  Not literally, but removing any trace of them is a good start. Prospective buyers may not like pets and don’t want to picture one in their home.

When selling a tenant occupied property, their pet may be home during the day unattended.  Showing a home that has a pet following you around can distract buyers from what they should be looking at: your home.

For a great breakdown on selling a home with pets in it, check out TheBalance.com

Summary

By selling your home tenant occupied it can save on vacancy time, but it may cost you more in the long run.  There are exceptions to every rule, but the more you set yourself up for success in the sales process, the more likely you are to walk away with the most money possible for your home.  

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