Selling an investment property is quite different than selling your primary residence. When you are considering selling a property that is tenant-occupied you will need to think about how the tenants may impact the sale of the home. The lease terms and your selling timeline will dictate how you can sell the home. You could sell the home with leases in place or wait for the leases to terminate before listing the property. If you wait for the leases to terminate you will appeal to a larger buyer pool, and the selling process can be facilitated more easily. That being said, there are benefits to selling an investment property with tenants in place ( hello instant rental revenue!) If you determine that selling with tenants in place is the best option for you, following the advice below will help you sell your rental property with relative ease.
When you’re considering selling your rental property, the first step is to locate your lease or leases if you have multiple tenants. Look at when the lease term ends and the monthly rent. Does the lease terminate at a time of year that is favorable for selling for the highest dollar? Does the monthly rent match the market rate? If you’re not sure, you should contact a real estate professional to find out! If your rental revenue is below market rate, and the tenants have a considerable amount of time left on the lease it may be better to wait until closer to the lease termination date to sell.
Next, you will want to look at the fine print in the lease that dictates how the property can be marketed. Identify what rights you as a landlord have to market and show the property. Some leases will allow for showings within a certain amount of days prior to the lease ending. Other leases may state that the tenant can pay a fee to waive the landlord’s right to allow showings during that time period. If you determine that listing your home for sale with tenants in place is the best strategy, you MUST adhere to the showing terms dictated by the lease. Furthermore, you will want the tenants to be cooperative in the process.
Communicate your intentions to sell early on; you will want to ensure they understand that the lease terms will stay the same when the property is sold. The only difference will be the landlord is changing hands. At closing, the security deposit will be transferred to the new owner, and the new owner will deliver instructions for paying rent to the tenants. You also need to make sure to have a plan for how showings will be allowed and how much notice the tenants need prior to showings. Will you communicate showing requests by a text or phone call? Do you need to inform all tenants or is their one point person with whom you can communicate? Are there certain times or days that will never work for showings? How much notice does the tenant need to allow a showing?
In addition to clearly communicating showing notice protocols, it’s also important to set expectations for how you would like the home to be presented fo showings (free of clutter, clean counters, beds made, etc). Ultimately, you can’t force the tenant to ensure your property appeals to buyers. However, you may be able to incentivize tenants with a discount on rent, a gift or you could offer a free home cleaning prior to an open house. In the end, this small expense is well worth it to ensure the home shows well and thus yields a higher sales price.
Selling your rental property with tenants in place means you are selling your property to an investor! Investors have one primary goal - to purchase a property that will provide a return on investment. In order to determine how profitable the property may be, investors will want to know all the figures. Make sure that the monthly rents are marketed. If you have detailed records of expenses and improvements to the property you should provide these. If you installed a new roof last year, or your property has a 10% cap rate, these are facts the investor will want to know! Make it as easy as possible for an investor to see the financial benefits of your property.
Do you have questions about selling your Austin area rental property? Give me a call, and I’ll be able to help you determine the best strategy for your unique situation.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.