advice on maintence and giving a tenant notice when selling house

4 Replies

FYI, the house in question is a 3/2 and would be priced in 160-180k range. Located  in Savannah, Georgia.

I am looking to sell a house soon and would like to get advice on the following two things:

1) The house currently has a rental tenant. We have an ongoing lease and I can give the tenant 45 days to move out at any time. I like the fact that I'm getting monthly rent from the tenant of course. I have a mortgage to pay; I could absorb the hit and pay the mortgage without rent for a few months if I have to, but it's not my first choice. My worst case would be that I make the tenant move out before even putting the house on market, then it takes months for the house to sell with no rent coming in. But I get the impression that 2017 Georgia is a sellers market so maybe having the house take a long time to sell will not be a problem.

On the other hand, I could let the tenant stay during the selling process. The tenant is already aware I am wanting to sell and is okay with this, but once I put a "for sale" sign up, I expect the tenant to start looking for another place. But it might take a month or two for tenant to move on their own. If the tenant is still living there, I'm wondering if having the tenant still in the house might itself discourage prospects from buying - e.g. if I have not given tenant their notice yet, then the prospect would have to wait 45 days to move in. I could wait until I have a contract on the house and then give tenant their 45 day notice. It often takes 30 days to close from the time a contract is offered anyway, so then buyer would only have to wait 15 more days to move in. So I have all these choices, not sure what is best.

2) The house has a lot of old things. Everything works and the tenant is not complaining about anything, but... Roof is at least 25 years old. No leaks but I'm sure a house inspector will tell buyers that they will need to replace the roof sooner rather than later. Water heater is at least 20 yrs old - working fine but again, it's not going to last forever. HVAC is also working fine but fairly old. I'm wondering, generally speaking, how to net the most money from selling this house? I think the roof is going to be the worst thing - should I replace the roof before I even put house on market? Maybe replace water heater too? Or should I sell the house just as it is, knowing the I will probably get lower offers and/or some negotiating and possibly the deal falling through after a house inspection? If I offer to pay for a home warranty for one year for the buyers, will this help?

What are realtors' thoughts if they have had these situations before?

I think your wise to install a new roof, you can take the cost off your taxes and it will only add value to selling price, and it gives the buyer the peace of mind that they won't have to worry about a huge ticket item and shows your maintaining the property..

Water  heater,, is a no brainier.. I'd put new one in also for same reasons.

Keep the tenant as long as you can but give yourself some lead time to freshen up the interior, on a Single family home most are likely looking for personal use and I'd have it empty once you list it.

Showing a home with someone in is not optimal the tenant's idea of cooperation is not always easy to define and a messy place doesn't give a good impression, wasted time with occupied in my opinion.

Normally, we serve (in some States required) a 60-day Notice of Intent to Sell.  Looks like you're on M2M so the tenant would have the option to vacate easily - - OR to remain and let the new owner decide.

I would opt for the repairs too and agree that showing with tenant in residence can be a real problem, as even their fixtures can clutter the space and give the appearance of being just too small.

@Glen E ... selling a home is always easier when it is vacant. We have sold a few homes which were tenant occupied and by offering the tenant a little money, they kept the home spotless. It really depends on the tenant.

Most buyers looking for a home to live in are very concerned about unknown repair costs. If a property inspection identifies something like a roof or water heater being near the end of its life, replacing it is probably the best choice. Having the home look well maintained and clean is the most important thing.

Nice to see everyone agree on the advice - makes the decisions easier. Everyone, thanks for taking the time to answer!

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