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Time to Sell; How to Break the News to Your Renters

Auburn Investor Meeting with RentersInvesting in Auburn single-family rental homes may begin with buying properties, but it’s important to keep your end game in mind. The bottom line is, there will come a time when you would want to or need to sell your rental homes, some of which may still be occupied. Selling rental property with existing tenants can be a real difficulty. Your renters may have any number of different reactions to the news, and you likely won’t be able to tell what their responses will be. But if you talk to your tenants the proper way, you can help ease some of their fears and even get them on board with the selling process.

Being keen enough to talk to your tenant about selling a rental house requires some careful planning. You may likewise need to do some research into local laws. Landlord laws can vary widely from place to place and may place restrictions on property owners looking to sell an occupied rental home. Before you raise the subject of selling with your tenant, make sure that you understand the laws in your area and that your next steps do not violate the law or your tenant’s rights. It’s also important to think about your tenant and what you know about them. This can help you to plan out how and what you say to them more carefully.

As soon as you have a good idea of how you want to approach your tenant, it’s a great idea to discuss your plans with them in person. While you can and should notify your tenants about the property’s new status in writing, things will likely go much better if the first time they hear about it is from you directly. If allowed, consider setting up an in-person meeting or video conference with your tenant. Explain your plans to sell the house, and then give them time to ask questions.

You may want to try and anticipate their questions ahead of time so that you have answers ready. Tenants will likely want to know whether they will be forced to move when the property sells, even if their lease hasn’t expired. They will probably want to know who will be buying the house, even though you may not know that at first. If you are selling to another investor, try to pass on as much as you know about the new owner’s plans, including whether the new owner will assume the current lease or require new terms. If you don’t already have a buyer, consider asking your tenants if they are interested in buying the property themselves. They may want to remain in the home so much that they are willing to buy the property from you directly.

Conversations about selling your rental house can be very emotional for your tenants. After all, selling the home they live in likely means significant changes for them. They may even feel resentful or betrayed. Those can be hard feelings to overcome. If your tenant does become emotional or upset, do your best to stay calm.

Along with comforting them, try to offer them as much time as you can to adjust to the news of the impending sale. Offering more information about the expected time frame can help give your tenant a sense of how the next few months will proceed and permit them to start making any necessary plans. Then, as the process begins to move forward, be sure to send regular updates about the sale and plenty of notice if you need to enter the property with a potential buyer.

If you handle things well and maintain open lines of communication, your tenant may not only accept your plans to sell; they may even be willing to participate in the process. With the right support and assurances, your tenant could help make the selling process a smooth and efficient one. But no matter how they react or feel, it is important to respect your tenant’s privacy and to obtain their permission before showing the house.

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed with all the tasks and responsibilities of property management? See what Real Property Management Metro West-Worcester can do for you! Give us a call at 508-329-6000 or contact us online today.

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