Showing a tenant-occupied property with tenants living there can be challenging. Not only do you have to prepare the rental unit for a potential buyer, but you’ll need to follow specific steps when preparing your tenants’ homes and during the actual showing.
We’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to show a property with tenants in place:
Table Of Contents
• Can a landlord make you leave to show the house?
• Landlord showing apartment while occupied
⮩ Create a schedule with prospective tenants
⮩ Preparing a house for rent
⮩ How to show a home to a buyer
⮩ After the Showing of the Home
• When to hire a real estate attorney?
• Do You Want To Sell Your Rental Property?
Can a landlord make you leave to show the house?
Tenants have the right to quiet enjoyment of their primary residence. This means they don’t have to leave or make special arrangements for someone to enter during showings unless you follow your state’s specific law about how this process should be handled. Before moving forward with showings, speak with tenants about whether they are comfortable with entering into this type of agreement. If they aren’t, then scale back the number of open houses or reschedule them at different times so that nobody has any kind of negative interactions on your end!
Is it on the lease or rental agreement?
An open house is the showing of a home to potential buyers when tenants haven’t been given proper notice in advance. This means landlords have essentially violated their own leases if they allow showings without the tenant’s agreement. As such, it’s not appropriate for them to take any kind of action against clients just because someone shows up early or late; otherwise, you might end up with sticky situations (like potential tenants in the same room at once). The best thing to do in this case is to make apologies and reschedule showings at different times.
Landlord showing apartment while occupied
When a property is filled with tenants, it’s almost always filled with furniture. This means a potential buyer will immediately have an idea of how their own belongings would fit in the home without needing to empty out each room first! Plus, if you find a new buyer who wants to rent your property, then you’ve just added two more dependents on the lease.
Create a schedule with prospective tenants
As a landlord selling an occupied unit, your current tenant will need at least a reasonable notice before their home is shown, so make sure they receive written confirmation of the date and time well ahead of time.
If possible, showings should be during reasonable hours, like normal business hours, and not take place on weekends or after 6 p.m. when your tenants are more likely to be home with children or when family members visit frequently. You also might want to hold off on scheduling showings when your tenant is facing a milestone such as a major anniversary or birthday.
The best time to show the home and the optimal number of showings depend on what your tenants agrees to, and how long they intend to stay in their home. Since most tenants don’t like showing their homes, it’s likely that just one open house viewing is enough for them. If you’re dealing with difficult renters (like ones who constantly complain about everything), then you might also consider holding two or three viewings instead.
Preparing a house for rent
Before you show the property to prospective buyers, make sure it is clean, tidy, and properly maintained. To make the home more appealing to prospective buyers, you might also want to prepare by performing some of the following tasks:
Make sure the home looks clean and smells fresh.
This means washing all of your tenants’ sheets, blankets, and pillowcases so they look as good as new. In addition, vacuum every room of the house, dust all surfaces and make sure to wash floors with a neutral cleaner that doesn’t change their color or wood finish. You wouldn’t want to show a potential buyer a dirty bathroom or kitchen, would you? If items are stored on the floor (or too close to walls), remove them from closets and cabinets before showing the house. A clean environment is always a plus when trying to sell property!
Make minor repairs if necessary
If your tenants call about issues that are difficult to fix on-the-spot (like low lighting, loud noises, or apparent leaks), try to provide them with workarounds. For example, you could tell them that the issue has already been taken care of or that they need to navigate around it by following a specific path.
If possible, move most of your tenants’ belongings out of view.
Do NOT have any boxes stacked in plain sight since this will create clutter illusions for prospective buyers who might not be able to imagine how their possessions would fit in the house. In addition, don’t put anything on counters or sinks. You want buyers to picture themselves using all available space when visualizing what the home would look like if they lived there!
How to show a home to a buyer
Keep in mind that it’s illegal to discriminate against any person who wants to view property so make sure each interested party shows up on time and has valid photo identification at hand (to prove he or she qualifies as a potential buyer).
During showings, your tenant needs to be present with the key so they can open any closed doors. However, don’t have them stand around waiting for people to arrive since this will create an unfriendly impression for potential buyers. Your tenants should not answer questions about pricing or renovation plans but they are welcome to talk about their opinions of the neighborhood (like whether it’s family-friendly or nearby public transportation is available).
When you’re showing a property with renting tenants, always have a renter show prospective buyers around the house. If they aren’t available that day or if they don’t feel comfortable being there when people are walking through their home, then let them know that a family member is welcome to attend instead. Always have all showings scheduled after 6 p.m., since this is prime time for most potential investors and first-time buyers looking for investment property.
When you’re holding an open house, always make sure that showings aren’t taking place at the same time! This means establishing clear boundaries by telling visitors not to enter more than five minutes before and after your schedule times. Be polite but firm if someone shows up early or late; otherwise, you might end up with sticky situations (like potential buyers and tenants in the same room at once). The best thing to do in this case is to make apologies and reschedule showings at different times.
After the Showing of the Home
At the end of every show, give your tenant’s home a thorough cleaning before they head back inside. Remember that you want potential buyers to picture how their clutter would look like in each corner of the house so it’s important for them not to notice any dust or dirt when viewing properties!
When you hire cleaners, always ask them about their background and if their employees have ever served prison sentences (among other pertinent questions).
You don’t want anyone who has been convicted of theft working inside your tenant’s homes! Finally, before your tenant returns home, make sure you leave the keys in an easy-to-find place (like on top of their welcome mat or hidden under a flower pot) to save time and avoid potentially awkward conversations later.
Can a Real Estate Agent handle the showing of the apartment?
In most cases, a tenant’s rights take priority over the access of real estate agents. Usually, the tenant has to be present with the key so no one else is able to enter their home. However, if your tenant agrees to you showing a future new owner or future new tenants around on your own (without them being there), then it’s perfectly fine for you to show properties without problems!
Not everyone feels comfortable opening up their home to strangers even with their personal possessions safely tucked away. If your tenants aren’t comfortable doing this, then you could potentially lose them as clients (and lose out on top-notch references) so be careful about what kind of you share during showings!
When to hire a real estate attorney?
If you’re concerned about potential legal trouble, then it might be wise to hire a real estate attorney before moving forward with any showings. This way, your bases are covered and you won’t have to worry about running into any kind of housing code violations later on down the line! Plus, these kinds of professionals know exactly what steps to take (and which ones not to take) when it comes to showing properties with tenants inside.
What happens if I don’t follow proper procedures?
Depending on your state or local laws, landlords might be legally obligated to give the advance notice required to tenants paying rent, and failing to properly notify tenants about open houses could result in eviction proceedings or even hefty fines. Before hosting an open house, speak with your local officials (or check out their website) for more information about specific rules that are applicable to your area. There is one exception: If your tenant has failed to pay rent for an extended period of time or violated a lease term, you may be able to terminate the lease early, especially if you had this in an early termination clause.
Do You Want To Sell Your Rental Property?
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