How To Sell A Tenant-Occupied Home

The home selling process is like a puzzle. Making sure you have all the pieces is one thing; getting them to fit is the challenge.

Selling a tenant occupied home in Phoenix may look different from the picture on the puzzle box, but it doesn’t have to be more complicated. Some tenants can be quite useful during the process of selling. Others are unhelpful or even unhappy, which can hinder or halt your chances for closing the deal.

In any case, a successful home sale depends on everyone working together. If you’re unsure about how to deal with current tenants, here’s what you need to consider.

Review Rules

What do you know about Arizona state’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act as it pertains to renters? Ideally, you know a lot. If you don’t, it’s your responsibility to learn the terms for selling a tenant-occupied house. If you’re choosing to work with an agent to sell your Phoenix home, make sure they have experience with renter-occupied home sales.

The good news is, selling a tenant-occupied home is fairly common. Also, the renters market in Phoenix is strong so there’s plenty of potential interest when it comes to finding investors. Depending on the buyer and the terms of the lease, you might be able to transfer agreements and allow the tenants to remain in the home during the landlord exchange.

Just because your renters are flexible and your property happens to be in a hot neighborhood doesn’t guarantee a fast and profitable deal. You’ll want to consider your approach to entering the market based on your expectations and timelines for selling.

Establish A Timeline

Generally, occupied homes are generally less attractive to prospective buyers and  most professionals will push for waiting until the lease runs out before listing the property. Obviously, not everyone can afford a vacant house during the transition. It can take months between listing and actually selling. Not receiving rent payments during this period might be a financial burden too great to bear.

Waiting may a definitive option if you’re dealing with an upset tenant. Not everyone is going to be happy to learn their home is being sold out from under them. Notify tenants as soon as you’re sure of your decision to sell. Ideally, you can notify them well in advance of the 30 or 60 day period stated in the lease.

Here’s what you shouldn’t do: go behind their backs. If your renters learn about the home sale through an ad in the paper of their home for sale, you’ve deceived them.  Of course they’ll be mad. Be diplomatic. Sit them down and explain the situation as often as they need explaining. As the property owner, you have the right to sell whenever you want but that doesn’t mean other people won’t be affected by it.

What’s In It For Everyone?  

Well-informed tenants make great allies. Most tenants will start shopping for a new place immediately but you might be able to offer them a deal from which you both benefit. If you’re confident about selling quickly, you can use renters to your financial advantage.

Would they be willing to keep the place clean and stay away for scheduled open houses? Maybe they have furniture appropriate for home staging. Plus, the longer they stick around, the longer you collect rent. Be sure to compensate them for their cooperation. You might offer to pay their moving costs or a reduced rent during this time.

Should You Kick Them Out?

If they’re truly awful, the least you can do is respect their rights before you decide to fight for yours. If being diplomatic doesn’t work and you don’t want to evict them, The Cash for Keys method allows you to offer them money to get out.  If they don’t respect your terms and you want to kick them out, hire a lawyer to handle the process. The cost of an eviction can set you back a serious chunk of change. Pursuing legal action in this regard should be a last-ditch option.  Also, beware that laws tend to favor the renters over landlords.

In a perfect world, tenants cooperate and homes sell fast for top dollar. In reality, every home sale is a complex puzzle requiring some help to put together.

Selling a home is tough and we’re here to help. offers solutions for Phoenix home sellers like you. Learn more about selling your home fast for cash. Give us a call today and we can discuss your options for a quick and easy home sale!

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