How to Sell an Occupied Property
Monday, February 04
Selling a vacant house or apartment can be quite demanding and time-consuming. If you decide to sell an occupied property, you should equip yourself with a great deal of patience and endurance because there are also some specific troubles you will like come across. So what are they, and how should you cope with them?
First of all, you should bear in mind that the house or the apartment you intend to sell is inhabited. Moreover, your tenants are counting on you, or rather on the agreement. Unless you are an annoying person trying to complicate their lives every time you drop by to collect rent, or you make up dozens of absurd reasons just to be able to visit them and check on them, it is very unlikely that they will help you make your dreams come true. But that is to be expect. After all, if you were the tenant and you spent hours decorating and arranging the spaces, giving the rooms spirit, you probably would not be too anxious to give your landlord a hand to speed up the selling process.
So the first thing to remember when selling an inhabited property when the lease is not yet over is that you cannot count on your tenants in terms of tidying up and making their home spick and span so that the buyer will be charmed by the wonderful rooms. But don't worry: despite these perils, occupied properties have one great advantage compared to vacant ones. When a buyer sees how the rooms can be made use of and how practical they are, it influences her decision considerably. Besides, the location plays a great role too. Just imagine a Cabbagetown real estate and compare it with an ordinary apartment in a condo tower. I guess the first one has more inviting atmosphere to offer.
If you have an honest relationship with your tenant, you could discuss your plans with him to find a solution that is acceptable to both sides. If you don't, you will have to be a little bit more patient. Either way, informing her about your intentions in advance is your duty, or at least your moral duty. If the tenant is unwilling to leave the property, there is an old trick that usually works: rent relief. A good friend of mine Lorne Marr could tell you about it. As he found himself in such situation, I suggested using this trick to him and it worked like a charm. Of course, the amount depends on the situation. You will very likely have to be more generous if the buyer wants to move in at once and the lease hasn't expired yet.
I assume I don't need to stress that the tenant has the full right not to leave the property until the lease agreement is over. That is the second very important thing to remember. You are expected to inform not only the tenant that you are planning to sell the the house or the apartment, but also the buyer about the fact that there is a tenant living in the property. It is your legal obligation and if you fail to do so, you can get a lot of trouble. Breaching the lease agreement is the worst thing you could do.