Author Topic: Selling when there's a tenant + long distance  (Read 1046 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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Selling when there's a tenant + long distance
« on: August 13, 2014, 08:53:25 AM »
DH and I have, we think, decided to sell our rental.  Current lease is up Feb. 1.

What the best way to go about this?  Of course we'd like for the property to be vacant for as short a time as possible.  But it likely needs new carpet, rather badly, before we sell.  (I know we could do a carpet allowance upon sale, or just sell it as-is WRT flooring, and we are considering that, but it looks like our best bet would be to install new carpet and perhaps do a few other small projects.)

Do all of you typically offer the tenant some sort of rent reduction for putting up with showings and maybe some work?  Do you offer a flat fee or $x per visit?  Or do you wait until it is empty to make improvements and then sell, meaning a much longer time frame where we are paying a mortgage on an empty home? 

Also, we will be doing all this from across the world, which complicates things.  We have a realtor we know well and trust, which helps, but any tips would be appreciated.  I'm not worried about things like signing carpet, but more like having someone pick out carpet for us, walk through and see what work needs to be done, etc. 


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Re: Selling when there's a tenant + long distance
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2014, 09:23:38 AM »
This is from a tenant who has gone through this on a short sale for 10 months. Technically, you do not have to pay the tenant anything. But I think it would go a long way to show good faith. You are disrupting your tenants life greatly with showings and the second you tell them you are listing it for sale they are likely going to be pissed. At that point its really the tenant selling the house while you do nothing. Its an awful position to be in for the tenant. They expected peace and quiet when they signed a lease and now you  are disrupting that with coordination and showings. I completely recommend waiting until the end of the lease to put the house on the market while it is vacant.

If its not possible to list the house empty. From my experience here are some things to keep in mind.
- Be courteous of their time. I felt bad for her financials so was pretty forgiving initially. Offering up a few times that would be good for showings and politely requested they stick to those slots. My landlord would inundate me with texts for showings outside those times. It was so annoying. Of course, great times for showings were nights and weekends which were exactly the times I want to be home relaxing after work. Also, if time windows are being used be courteous and let the tenants know whether you will or will not be using that timeslot each day. I hated leaving my house for two hours only to realize that no one even came. A simple text to say "no showings enjoy your day" would have been appreciated
- Get a competent realtor who will respect the tenant. My landlord had a realtor who would show up unannounced and walk right in. One time I was watching TV I politely let them in and complete the showing. Another time I was sleeping. Yet another time I was by myself in the shower.  Even though I was in a secure building in my own apartment I did not feel safe anymore. I let it slide the first time but after that I yelled at the realtor AND the buyers and made them leave.
- If you want the place to be tidied up or show ready expect to compensate the tenant for doing so. Why should they have to do their laundry and clean the kitchen just because there is a showing? Additionally, any comments about a messy place will not be well received. I purposely left my place a wreck sometimes just in spite because I would get texts telling me to do my dishes...
- Your tenant has no obligation to leave the premises during showing. Several times I just sat on the couch in my pajamas on the computer. With this in mind you do not want an unhappy tenant who can point out all of the deficiencies or repairs needed. This is another reason why you want them happy!

There's plenty more. But it I haven't emphasized it enough I would list it while vacant. If you do not have the cash to float the payments without a tenant then you need to do your best to keep them happy. If not, there is a high probability of them sabatoging your efforts to sell whether on purpose or not.