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Not easy to sell house with tenant

Plenty to think about when selling house with a tenant

Dear Heather,

I am going to put my house on the market, but I can’t afford to leave it empty so I am going to rent it out. Is this a good idea?


Dear Seller,

Nothing makes a real estate agent’s heart drop faster than hearing “it’s tenanted”. That’s because, you may be making it very difficult for us to get the best price for your property, and effectively you are tying our hands.

1. You will lose buyers

When a property is tenanted it means there will be a delay of some sort before a buyer can gain vacant possession. This doesn’t always work for a buyer, sometimes timing is everything and most will want to move in.

They may have just sold their property and need to move in as soon as possible. They may not want to rent in the interim, particularly if they have a family, as that is a tremendous upheaval.

2. Your property may not be shown as often

Scheduling appointments with tenants that co-ordinate with the buyer can be very difficult. A vacant or owner-occupied home will be shown more, simply because it’s easier to arrange.

3. It is not really fair for the tenants

Put yourself in their shoes. They are paying a fair rent, which you are benefiting from, when suddenly a sign appears in their yard and people start driving by and snooping over the hedge, the phone is constantly ringing from agents who would like to view, probably at times that are not particularly convenient. Is this what they signed up for? Probably not. And it can make for a friction-filled landlord/tenant relationship, which is probably not what you signed up for either.

4. Your home will not look its best

Tenants are not motivated for the home to sell. In fact, just the opposite. They don’t want the home to sell as they don’t want to move out or get a new landlord they know nothing about. Therefore, they may well make it awkward to view and, when you do eventually get an opportunity, the house may not show well. Not every tenant is neat and tidy, and not every tenant wants to “stage” the home for a prospective buyer. Why should they? What’s in it for them? This can cost you a significant amount on the bottom line of your sale.

The last word

Your house will sell for more money in less time if it doesn’t have a tenant in it, unless you have an exceptional tenant who is paying an excellent return on investment, which may attract an investor.

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for 28 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Read this article on Facebook: Ask Heather Real Estate