In a perfect world, before you set about selling your town property you would have emptied it of all evidence of human habitation, called in the best staging pros on the planet, and set off to vacation in a Caribbean island spa-hotel so you could sift through the dozens of offers in comfort.
“Let’s see,” you would soon be musing to no one in particular, sipping your first mimosa of the afternoon as you thumbed through the sheaf of faxes from your area agent; “should I accept this all-cash offer for 150% of comparable value—or hold out for this one for 200% of comp that came in with only 50% earnest money…?”
It is here where we might best depart from this reverie to point out that in this less than perfect world—the one that we actually live in—the more probable situation is one where your local property is fully occupied, either by your own family or a tenant.
How do you make the most of that mimosaless situation? If you and your family are the occupants, your area property fits the most common profile, so the standard to-do’s apply: you will want to clear the clutter and store any non-essential furnishings; de-personalize as much as practical; deep clean; and work with your agent to make showings as routine as possible.
But what if you have a tenant? It’s going to be a true balancing act that affects four parties: seller, listing agent, tenant, and buyer. Of these, the one with the least to gain is the tenant, who is paying for the privilege of tenancy while being asked to keep the property clean and showable on the others’ schedules.
Let’s face it: this could be a minefield. Almost any tenant’s interests lie elsewhere. In fact, they may very well like your area property so much they would just as soon discourage prospective buyers—and there are subtle (and less-subtle) ways to go about that!
One solution that is sometimes offered involves this creative procedure:
Compensate the tenant for their cooperation by offering a significant bounty (say, 20% of the monthly rent) to be placed in an escrow account. It’s a meaningful award for the tenant’s full cooperation—one that will grow with the payment of each month’s rent. It will be turned over upon the completion of the sale. This ingenious plan has the effect of reversing the natural order of things. Since the amount in escrow grows with each passing month, rather than becoming increasingly annoyed with each ensuing showing, the tenant is increasingly incentivized to make the property ever more appealing. There’s cash on the line! In fact, as the escrow account builds, who’s to say the tenant won’t start doing some arithmetic…and start considering becoming the buyer himself…???
In any case, the best results for selling your area property happen when there is rock-solid communication between the listing agent and owner—and when a tenant is involved, that’s another party who should be included as well. It’s the best way to insure that everyone can go about their business with a minimum of disruption and inconvenience.
If you are sizing up the coming fall market, whether your area property is occupied by a tenant or your own tribe, I hope you will give me a call to discuss how I can get the results you’re after!