3 Tips to Ease the Sale of a Tenant Occupied House


Whether you own only a few rental properties or you have dozens, selling your tenant-occupied home presents its own unique challenges, and there several steps you can implement to help make the process easier on both yourself and the tenants.

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Put Your Tenant’s Mind at Ease

Oftentimes tenants become frustrated — or downright uncooperative — when it comes time to sell.

However, think of it from their point of view. Would you want a bunch of strangers parading through your home throughout the day? In addition to that, they probably will have anxiety over who the new owner will be, especially if they have had a good relationship with you as the landlord (assuming you are selling the property to another investor with a tenant in place).

But most likely investors do not want a tenant that they themselves did not choose. If you are selling your investment as a cash flowing property, the tenant(s) inside the property are a key part of this equation. Are your tenants relatively hassle-free and do they pay on time? Or are they troublesome and cause problems? If they are frustrated enough they might even damage your property in the process.

Your goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible. In real estate we always talk about team members, from realtors to escrow officers. If you are selling a tenant-occupied home, think of a tenant almost like a team member. You want them on your side during this whole process.

Think about it this way: the more cooperative the tenant is, the easier it will be to show and the faster you can sell the property. Besides, you don’t want a disgruntled tenant in your place, opening yourself up to a risk of damage to the property. With that being said, I have put together a few big tips to help you streamline the process and get the tenant on your side.

Related: How to Find Great Tenants Without Ever Meeting Them


3 Tips for Selling a Tenant-Occupied Home

1. Have All Your Paperwork Ready

Make sure you add a provision within the lease agreement that allows you to easily show the home if or when you decide to put it on market. Most states’ promulgated lease forms will have a section for this.

If you are selling the property with the tenant in place, make sure to provide a copy of the lease and security deposit with your title company as well (the deposit will be forwarded to the new owner).

2. Keep Them Up to Date on the Process

The more you lay it out for them, the more comfortable they will be. This means notifying them prior to any showings and keeping them updated as to where you are in the process. This goes for any potential inspections and appraisals as well.

Let the tenants know they will not be abruptly kicked to the street; rather, they will have a designated amount of days after the contract is signed to move.

3. Offer Some Sort of Compensation

You can be creative here, from offering a bonus for leaving the property in excellent condition and or returning their security deposit to offering to help to cover their moving costs. If the tenant is really being uncooperative, you can try implementing a cash for keys program. As the quote goes, “Help me help you.” You want to help them move in any way you can.

Related: Okay, so You Just Got Your First Inherited Tenant – What Now?

Other creative ideas include offering to pay them a certain amount per showing made payable at closing or offering to have the lawns mowed and the house cleaned each week to keep the house looking clean. If the house is going to be on market for several weeks or months, your tenants might see this as a bonus.

Selling a tenant occupied-home doesn’t have to be a headache.

Are there any tips that you would add to this list?

Make sure to let us know in the comments below!

About Author

Chris Feltus

Chris is an active real estate investor who buys and flips houses in the Dallas real estate market. He enjoys helping others along on their journey. In addition, Chris operates as a licensed Realtor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.


  1. I haven’t sold anything in a while, but last time I did, I gave the tenants a $25 gift card as a sort of “sorry you’re going to have people parading through your apartment” gift before we started showings. It was amazing how much it eased the process. I don’t think $25 would cut it anymore, it was a while ago, but then it was a lower end building.

  2. “Let the tenants know they will not be abruptly kicked to the street; rather, they will have a designated amount of days after the contract is signed to move.”

    I don’t see how this has anything to do with it. The lease will stipulate if/when they need to move, not the sale of the property. Because of this I always include a clause in my leases that I can give the tenants notice and have them move out in the event of sale of the property. If you do not use a similar clause in your lease (the legality of which may vary by state), you do not have the right to ‘kick them out’ (neither does the new owner). They might cooperate and go, but they might put up a fight (which they would win).

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