Selling Renter Occupied Property: How to Reduce Stress, Declutter and Maximize ROI

18 June 2018

By Darcia

Selling with tenantsThere’s no doubt that selling renter occupied property can be a nightmare – for the sellers AND the renters, not to mention the real estate agent.

After all, consider the renter’s perspective. First, finding another place to live can be stressful, especially if they had no intention of leaving the unit at this time. They will not likely be happy about the cost of moving and they’ll worry about keeping their belongings safe while strangers invade their personal space. Some tenants will feel they have to work extra hard to keep the place presentable while others will simply not care what kind of mess prospective homebuyers’ walk into.

On the owner and Realtor’s side, it can be equally stressful. Coordinating walk throughs and visits with tenants can be difficult, and only they renter know what condition potential buyers will walk into. Clutter, pets, personal items, dirty dishes and new scuffs or damage, for example. As an unfortunate result, the home may be on the market longer than if it wasn’t tenant occupied, and it might even sell for a lower amount.

Of course, it’s almost always ideal to wait for the tenant to vacate before beginning your real estate marketing campaign. Sometimes, however, that’s not a viable option. So, what are some things you can do to minimize the stress and maximize the ROI, if a property must be listed while tenant occupied?

3 Tips to Reduce Stress, Declutter and Maximize ROI When Selling a Renter Occupied Property

1. Turn it into a positive.
List the property as an “income generating” owner occupied unit.
Prepare financials to back this up and have them, as well as the rental lease terms, ready when an investment buyer shows interest. I recently utilized this strategy and an investment buyer purchased sight unseen, relying on the wisdom of his agent.

2. Acknowledge the renters concerns while helping reduce clutter.
Offer to pay for a storage unit so the renter may store their valuables, family heirlooms and artwork. Stress that this will help them stay organized while packing, as they can move boxes to storage as they pack them.

3. Incentivize the renter to work with you.
There are many ways to incentivize the renter, such as:

– Offer to hire a weekly maid service and try to schedule walk-throughs as close to the house cleaning schedule as possible.

– If you want / need to hold an open house, send them away for the weekend! I once offered a tenant free use of my cottage, and they were more than happy to take me up on the offer. The evening before the open house, I used the opportunity to make some minor repairs.

– Offer to hire a dog walker, if they have a dog. If you have showings or walk-throughs, schedule a neigbourhood dogwalker to come by and pick up the dog just before the appointment.

The most important thing to remember is, if you don’t provide incentive for the renter to keep the property clean and clutter-free, they’ll rarely find the motivation on their own. It’s in your best interest to be as warm, communicative and transparent with the tenant as possible. If you have the cooperation of the renter on your side, you are more likely to get the most out of the sale.

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