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Keep your tenants happy while selling

By Cameron Smits

If you’re planning to sell your tenanted investment property it’s important to keep the tenants on side during the process.

Consider how a tenant views the whole process, which is likely an inconvenience followed by a possible eviction.

One of the best strategies is to be upfront and honest with the tenants throughout the process, including the possibility of the property being sold to an owner-occupier so they can start to prepare for potentially moving out.

It’s important to explain the period of time they will have after the sale to move, and you can also tell them that you will provide a reference for their cooperation.

Of course, if there is a fixed lease in place on the property then the tenants can stay until the end of that lease – unless they negotiate to leave early with the new owners.

However, if you own an “investment property” chances are quite high that another investor will buy it.

In this case, it is in their interest to present the property well and it is likely they could stay and the new owner will become their landlord.

By law there are some parameters around inspections, so it is vital to work with the tenants regarding when the real estate agent can bring buyers through and the extent of the campaign.

Inspections should mostly be fixed time open house to minimise inconvenience and the times should be agreed in advance.

Other inspections should be strictly by prior agreement with at least 24 hours’ notice.

You must state that no one will go through except as agreed and always accompanied by the real estate agent.

In an ideal world, your tenants will cooperate and present the property well, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes a tenant is uncooperative, messy or has horrible furniture, and you have to make a judgment call on whether to sell with them living in the property.

If it is unavoidable you simply have to do the best you can.

A really difficult tenant can make it difficult to sell at a good price and generally speaking tenancy laws do very little to help.

However, fortunately this is rare with most of the problems caused by the tenant being taken for granted, which can be overcome with good communication from the outset.

Also, don’t forget to ask them if they would like to buy because you just never know!

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