Tips For Selling A Home With Tenants

Kyle Hiscock

Kyle Hiscock | Greater Rochester NY Real Estate | Pittsford NY Realtor at RE/MAX Realty Group

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Guide On How To Sell A Home With Tenants

Tips For Selling A Home With Tenants

Tips For Selling A Home With Tenants

Selling a home can be a fairly complex process.  When you add tenants into the equation, it can be downright difficult, if the proper steps are not taken.

If you’ve decided that you want to sell your home rather than rent it out and have tenants in place, you need to understand what tips you should follow.  Again, selling a home with tenants doesn’t have to be impossible, if the right advice is followed.

Read on to find out what the best tips for selling a home with tenants are and you’ll be on your way to a successful and smooth home sale.  Homeowners who have a property they’re selling that is tenant occupied and decide to avoid following these tips are likely in for an uphill battle and frustrating home sale.

Determine Whether You Should Sell Your Home With Tenants Or Without

The first tip for selling a home with tenants is to determine whether or not you should sell your home with tenants.  There is no doubt that selling a vacant property is easier, but it is not always feasible as there maybe a long term lease in place.

If your investment property is occupied with tenants who have several months remaining on their lease, unless the tenants are willing to vacate prior to their lease expiring, you may have no choice to than to sell your home with tenants.  On the other hand, if the tenants only have a few weeks or a month or two on their lease, it maybe advantageous to wait until the tenants lease expires to sell.

The reason it may be advantageous to wait until a tenants lease expires is because it will make showing the property significantly easier and also the home will probably show much better when vacant.  It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to coach tenants on how to prepare for real estate showings, which is critical when selling a home.  There is only one opportunity to make a first impression and having buyers walking into a messy, cluttered, or dirty home is not going to make a great first impression.

It’s also possible that in a lease situation to “buy the tenants out.”  This is when there are several months remaining on their lease beyond the closing date but you provide them with an incentive to vacate the property, such as giving them a free months rent.

Understand Tenancy Rights, Rules, & Laws

One of the biggest mistakes that are made when selling a home with tenants is not understanding the tenancy rules and laws.  It’s important to first understand that tenancy laws can vary from state to state.  It’s highly recommended when selling a home with tenants that you review the tenancy laws.

If you’re selling a home with tenants, you can find tenant rights for your state on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website, also known as HUD.  The last thing that you need when selling a home with tenants is a potential lawsuit because you did not understand what tenant rights applied in your state.

It’s recommended that if you have any questions about tenant rights that you consult with a local attorney.  Obtaining the professional advice from an attorney may have a small cost associated, but could save you thousands of dollars and many headaches if issues can be avoided.

Hire A Real Estate Agent With Experience Of Selling Homes With Tenants

Choosing An Inexperienced Real Estate Agent Must Be Avoided When Selling A Home With Tenants

Choosing An Inexperienced Real Estate Agent Must Be Avoided When Selling A Home With Tenants

Selling a home with tenants is not something that all real estate agents have experience with.  Choosing the wrong real estate agent can make selling a home with tenants next to impossible.  Selling a home with tenants requires the real estate agent to be very organized but also have the ability to get the tenants on their side.

As you interview potential real estate agents when selling your home that is tenant occupied, it’s critical you know what questions to ask real estate agents during an interview.  A few questions to consider when interviewing agents to sell your tenant occupied home include;

  1. Have you sold tenant occupied homes in the past?
  2. What is your method for coordinating showings?
  3. Do you use a showing service or do you schedule the showings yourself?
  4. Have you had any problems in the past while selling a home with tenants?
  5. Do you have any past clients whose tenant occupied home you sold that we could talk with?


These are just a few of the most common questions to consider asking while interviewing agents to sell your tenant occupied home.  Having a top real estate agent who has the experience of selling homes with tenants can make all the difference between a smooth sale or a rough one!

Meet With The Tenants

If you have no choice but to sell your home with tenants because circumstances don’t allow you to wait until the tenants vacate your property, you and your real estate agent should meet with the tenants.  There are several things that you and your agent should discuss with the tenants to help make the home sale go smooth.

Below are some important things to discuss with tenants before listing your home for sale.

Inform The Tenants Of The Sale

A huge mistake that some landlords make is not informing their tenants that the property is going to be put on the market.  Recently while selling a home in with tenants in Rochester NY, the owner told the tenants the reason I was looking at the house was for an inspection, not to provide a comparative market analysis.

It’s important that if you’re going to be selling your home that has tenants, that you inform them that it is going to be listed for sale.  Think about how angry you would be if you were renting a home and woke up to a for sale sign in the front lawn.  If you’re looking to have little cooperation from the tenants when selling your home, not informing them of the sale is a great way to accomplish this.

Provide Assurance To The Tenants

One of the biggest fears of a tenant is that they will be homeless when a home is being sold.  Many times this is because they believe that if the home is sold in the first couple days on the market that they will need to be out.  It’s important to discuss with the tenants that if the home sold tomorrow that they still have the right of sufficient notice of when they would be required to vacate the property.

In the Greater Rochester NY area, tenants have the right to a full 30 day notice of when they have to vacate a property and this notice must be served prior to the first of the month.  For example, if a tenant is served with a notice to vacate on August 1st, they have the right to stay in the property until September 30th.  If they were served with the notice on July 31st, they would have the right to stay in the property until August 31st.

Talk About The Home Sale Process With The Tenants

Explaining The Home Sale Process To Tenants Is A Smart Idea To Eliminate Confusion!

Explaining The Home Sale Process To Tenants Is A Smart Idea To Eliminate Confusion!

When selling a home with tenants, you and your real estate agent should discuss how the process works.  It can make a huge difference if the tenants understand how showings will be setup, how much notice they will be given, what to expect once the home is under contract, as well as a variety of other things that may arise during the home sale.

Below are some things that your tenants should understand about the home sale process.


Since the amount of time it takes to sell a home will vary and the number of showings will vary, the tenants need to understand that there could be one showing or twenty until the home sells.  Setting this expectation in the beginning it critical should the time it takes to sell the home be longer than anticipated.  When discussing how showings work, it’s vital to stress the fact that they will be given sufficient notice for showings, typically 24-48 hours.  Any more notice than 48 hours can be detrimental to a home sale as the potential to lose a buyer because the inability to access the property exists.


There are many reasons to have a home inspection when buying a home.  The fact is, the majority of buyers will elect to have an inspection.  When explaining the home sale process to a tenant, it’s important to discuss the potential that there will be a home inspection.

This is important since a home inspection can take several hours to complete, depending on the inspector.  Similar to showings, it’s important to stress to the tenants that they will be provided plenty of notice as to when the inspection will be completed.

Bank Appraisal

Another step in a real estate transaction, if a buyer is obtaining mortgage financing, is the bank appraisal.  It’s a good idea to explain to the tenants the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection.

Stress to the tenant that the bank appraisal is generally quicker than the inspection and that they will be provided with sufficient notice, just like they will for showings and the home inspection.

Final Thoughts On Selling A Home With Tenants

Selling a home with tenants can be fairly simple if the right tips are followed. Providing a tenant with the proper information about the sale process and also assuring them their daily life will not be incredibly inconvenienced is important.  Having an irate tenant or a tenant who is not cooperative can throw a wrench in the home sale process.

Other Top Resources For Selling A Home With Tenants

Do you have a home in Rochester NY that you’re selling that is tenant occupied?  If so, the above tips for selling a home with tenants should give you a strong understanding of what how it can be done, without tons of headaches.  If you don’t have a real estate agent in Rochester NY who has experience with selling homes that are tenant occupied, contact me and I’d love to talk with you!

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About the authors: The above article “Tips For Selling A Home With Tenants” was provided by the Keith Hiscock Sold Team (Keith & Kyle Hiscock). With over 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

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