Purchasing the property I’m currently renting

3 Replies

I’m interested in purchasing a duplex I’m currently renting. It’s in an up and coming neighborhood, the unit next to me has been vacant for months, and their lawn is completely overgrown. I see this as the perfect opportunity to purchase my first deal from the absentee owner but I don’t know where to start!

Should I have the property inspected/appraised?

As a tenant, am I (legally) allowed to? (My biggest question)

When I reach out to the owner should I mention the inspectors findings, if any?

HELP! I live in a fairly competitive market and I don’t want anyone to take advantage of this deal before I can. 

@Account Closed I wouldn't suggest an appraisal or inspection before speaking with the owner. You'd likely need access to both sides and you'll spend close to $1000 getting both done. I would suggest your first step to be to have a conversation with the owner, see whether they are interested in selling and if so if they have a price in mind. If you can come to an agreement on price or at least word that they may be willing to sell, you can then submit an offer to them with inspection and appraisal contingency. Once they've accepted your offer, inspection and appraisal are part of the due diligence. however if they don't want to sell or want too much for it, it won't do you any good to have it inspected or appraised.

@Account Closed you're welcome! Another aspect to consider is that it's best to determine a price based on your (or a Local Realtor's) research and get it in writing before the appraisal. That way if the appraisal comes in low you have negotiation room but if it comes in high they can't increase the price. Say they'd consider selling for $200k and you would agree to that (I have no idea of your market, just a random example number) and your appraisal comes in at $180k. You can try to negotiate a lower price (although you can't force them to drop the price), but you have a way out of the contract on your appraisal contingency if they refuse to lower. Some states appraisal contingency allows exit from the contract if appraised low even if they will lower price. Check with a lawyer for specifics on your rights with your state's offer contract to be sure. If it appraised at $220k and you're agreed on $200k, you can feel even better about your purchase. If you get the appraisal first and tell them it's worth $220k, they likely wouldn't sell for $200k. A local realtor can run a CMA (comparative market analysis... NOT the same as an appraisal) to give you an idea of market value before moving forward on it. Just a warning though, in my area duplexes are often held extremely long and rarely sold, finding good duplex comps to compare is difficult in some areas. What part of the country are you in? Theres likely someone from BP local to you that could help with some local market knowledge.