Acing a straightforward home sale can be hard enough…selling a tenant-occupied home can even harder. Why? Tenants are an additional variable, some times a wild card variable, to the entire process of scheduling showings, knowing that the property is show-ready and being just plain difficult to deal with due to their own feelings of displacement and disruption.

Here are some tips to help make a property’s tenant your ally rather than your (and your seller’s) enemy.

  1. Treat the tenant as you treat your client.
    1. Show the tenant courtesy and compassion about the “intrusion” of potential buyers into “their” space.
    2. Get the tenant’s contact information so you can separately and individually tell the tenant about any showing appointment.
    3. Know the tenant’s work schedule and try as best as possible to schedule showings around their schedule.
    4. Just as you give the seller 24-hour notice on a viewing appointment, give the tenant 24-hour notice.
  2. Learn ALL that you can about the tenant from your seller. The new buyer may want to extend the rental agreement to that tenant under their ownership.
    1. Is the tenant working? Doing what? When? A tenant working nights would be less amenable to having viewings during the morning hours than a tenant working days. The same is true for a tenant working days and having “intruders” in the space at night.
    2. Does the tenant pay the rent on time?
    3. Is the space nicely maintained?
    4. Does the tenant have many guests/visitors?
  3. If necessary, suggest to the seller that he/she hire a cleaning service to keep the tenant’s space show-ready.
  4. Keep the tenant informed every step of the way during the buying/selling process.
    1. Tell them immediately when the property has a signed offer.
    2. If at all possible, help the tenant find another place to live/rent.
  5. Make yourself a resource to the tenant.
    1. Tenants are potential property owners.
    2. Tenants are potential clients. Your potential clients. Now is the time to engage and solicit their trust in you as an agent who is and will look after their needs and interests.