How to Sell a House With Tenants

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Classic Group BK667334

How to Sell a House with Tenants

There are many people who owned houses in the Sarasota-Manatee County area that they were unable to sell after the Real Estate market crash that we had here recently. Some of them unintentionally became landlords. Now that prices have recovered and they can sell, some of them are considering selling. Their question is do you wait for the tenant to leave or do you sell with the tenant in place? I have come up with a list of questions to ask yourself and the tenant before making a decision.

When does the tenant’s lease expire?

If the tenant has many months left on their lease than you are essentially selling an investment property. The new buyer will have to honor the lease. In some areas of town where there is a lot of rentals it may be a positive to have a good tenant in place. In other areas that are mostly owner occupied , if the buyer can’t move in for many months, you are limiting the number of buyers who will be interested. The bottom line is that unless the tenant is on a month to month agreement, it may not be worth even thinking about putting the house on the market.

Can you work with the tenant?

You may have a good relationship with the tenant. In that case you can probably talk to the tenant, and explain that you want to sell the house. If the tenant is currently keeping the house relatively clean, then you should be able to make a deal with them to continue doing so. I would offer an incentive to the tenant so they are on your side. You could lower their monthly rent a little bit in exchange for letting you show the property and also offer to pay them some money after a successful closing. Before you make an agreement with the tenant, it would be a good idea to let the tenant know exactly what to expect. (If you don’t know what to expect when a house is on the market, you can contact me) It isn’t easy living in a house that is for sale, and the tenant should know this upfront so you avoid problems later. However if you explain to the tenant exactly what to expect and they agree, it could be a be a win-win for everybody. You would be getting some monthly income while the house is on the market, and then tenant is receiving the incentives that you offered.


The Tenant Will Not Cooperate With You


What if the tenant is not agreeable to you selling?

It is very important to have the cooperation of the tenant because the tenant can easily make selling the house a nightmare. The tenants don’t like to be bothered and they might not want to move either. I remember listing a house with a tenant in place, and the tenant had to approve the showings. The tenant got tired of me calling her to make appointments so she blocked my phone number. The tenants can also keep the house messy, or if they are home they may intentionally or unintentionally scare away potential buyers. If you can’t make an agreement with the tenant, then I wouldn’t bother selling the house until the tenant moves out. If the reason you want to sell is because of a bad tenant, then that is a different story. If you contact me, I can help you with that.

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About the Author,

Jason Silverstein has been has been a life long resident of Sarasota, FL and a Realtor since 1998, he writes based on his experiences.  You can find more listings or information about me at  To subscribe to my blog click here.

Comments (1)

Chrissi Chapman Topoleski
Coldwell Banker Realty - Woodbridge, VA
Passionate about helping others achieve success!

Homes with tenants in place can be deal-breakers for reasons you've cited. I advised a client today to wait until hers moves out to list.

Feb 25, 2016 02:54 AM
Jason Silverstein

Good Advise.

Feb 25, 2016 03:21 AM