How to Sell a Tenant-Occupied House: 7 Important Steps

Well… this is awkward.

You’re looking to sell a house fast in an appropriate amount of time and are ready to take the correct steps to doing so. There’s only one problem… your house has current tenants that you need to be respectful of.

Whether you’ve recently inherited the house in some fashion or have just been renting it out the last few years, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about this.

Taking the appropriate steps during this process is critical, veering away from them even slightly could potentially result in a sale falling through.

That said, here are seven vital steps to selling a tenant-occupied house and keeping everyone in consideration.

How to Sell a Tenant-Occupied House

The home-selling process with current tenants can be tedious at times. Here are the steps you can take to respect their boundaries and quicken the process.

Communicate on the Front End

It’s crucial to respect the current tenant’s privacy and rights during the entire process.

Remember, while they agreed to comply in the event of you selling the house, they didn’t agree to have their life turned upside-down while you do so.

The best way to get out in front of that is by having a thorough discussing (either by phone or in-person) to lay some ground rules and compare schedules.

That way when potential buyers inevitable what to schedule a show time for the house, you at least have an idea on when the house would be available for a tour.

There are several things that need to be discussed during this process, and making the tenants aware of it beforehand can make the events smoother for everyone.

Take Some Time to Get to Know the Tenants

Personal relationships make every encounter less hostile. Period.

That’s why taking a few minutes during your conversation to learn more about the tenants (and tell them more about yourself) can get the communication flowing in the right direction.

It’s better to let them see the personable side of yourself now and let them know that you aren’t solely fixated on the quickness of the sale.

That alone can ease the tenants’ minds and take the edge off any difficult discussions moving forward.

Request the Tenants Leave for Show Times

Regardless of how respectful both you and the tenants are toward each other during this time, it’s best for all parties if they not be around while buyers visit for a tour.

As previously mentioned, having an up-to-date schedule of theirs would give you solid times to schedule show times.

If none of those times work for a buyer, then request the tenants leave during a certain time window and offer them incentives like a gift card for dinner or paying them a small amount for each showing once the house is sold.

Lend a Hand in Upkeep for the House

You’re asking a lot on the tenant if you ask them to cooperate with the sale of the house and lay a list of things for them to do in up keeping the house during potential showings.

Because of that, be advantageous and hire a cleaning service (or volunteer yourself) to assist with the yard work, any renovations that may need to be done, etc.

Consider the fact that the tenants don’t have a hand in the fight in terms of the property’s sale.

If you rely too heavily on them to not only help the house keep its current condition but also make improvements, your sales process will be drawn out FAR longer than desired.

Instead, take it on yourself to seek expert advice on what needs to be done to the house, then improve the faults of the house to make it show-ready!

Help the Tenants Find a New Place

In a perfect world, you would be able to avoid the hassle of scheduling show times around your tenants agenda because they found a new residence fairly quickly.

However, things don’t always work out so ideally.

Truth is, your tenants may not be in a rush to find a new place, and even if they’re looking around, they may be struggling to find anything.

Take it upon yourself to assist them with finding a place in any way you can. Keep an open eye for properties you find, suggest a few house searching tools to them, and anything else to shorten the process.

Enforce a Strict Rent Payment Date

This step may seem harsh, but it’s fair and necessary for the expectation of the sales process.

If you’ve been letting the current tenant slack off a bit with their last few rent payments, this is a time where you can set a date for them to be caught up by or forgive the late payments in exchange for a quicker move out date.

Which one they choose is entirely dependent on the tenant’s nature, but either option provides you with some relief.

If the tenant has been diligent on making their rent payment dates, they deserve your flexibility and respect during the sales cadence.

Play ‘Therapist’ When Need Be

Selling your home is a business event, and even though business isn’t personal, there WILL be frustrations that arise.

Whether it’s the tenants, the potential buyers, or even the realtor, you as an owner may need to step in and referee certain situations.

Keep everyone in the loop with each other while still keeping each party a safe distance from one another.

If one side gets frustrated, it’s better that you manage their emotions behind closed doors to put out the fire before it spreads.

Sell Your Home Quicker!

Use these seven steps as a guideline for setting expectations of the sales cadence between your tenants and yourself.

Looking to expedite the sales process of your tenant-occupied home?

Be sure to check out this article of selling to a fast house buyer for more information on other routes you can take to sell quicker.

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