Selling a Home with Tenants: What to Consider

As homeowners in New York City, my husband and I find ourselves in the position of wanting to sell our home. However, we need to give our current tenants enough time to find a new place before we can put the property on the market. Located in Staten Island, our home is a single-family, fully-detached property with a small fenced-in yard.

We are unsure of the best approach for selling our home, so we have the following question: Should we list it with a real estate agent now, informing them about the tenants’ need for a few months, or should we wait until closer to the end of their lease to begin the sales process?

The Big Move: Navigating Real Estate

In this column, we explore various aspects of the real estate world, from searching for a new home to applying for a mortgage.

Dear Confused,

The answer to your question depends on your urgency to sell the home. While it is possible to sell the property with tenants in place, you also have the option to wait until their lease expires and then proceed with the sale once they have vacated.

Considering your inclination towards putting the home on the market as soon as possible, there are several key points you should take into account:

  1. Proper Notice: Ensure that you have provided your tenants with sufficient notice to terminate their lease. According to New York City regulations, if they have a month-to-month tenancy, they typically have 30 days or more to vacate, depending on their length of stay.

  2. Consult a Real Estate Agent: Seek advice from a reputable real estate agent regarding the sale of your property. Provide them with all relevant information, including the tenants’ duration of residence, current rental amount, lease expiration date (or agreed-upon move-out date), and their interest in remaining under new ownership. A professional agent can help you anticipate and address any unexpected issues that may arise during the sales process.

By taking these considerations into account, you will be better equipped to make an informed decision on when and how to proceed with selling your home.

Should You ‘Stage’ Your Home?

When it comes to selling your home, one important decision you’ll have to make is whether or not to stage it for showings. There are a few factors to consider, such as whether to vacate the home and have it staged, leave it empty, or show it with tenants still residing there.

Consider the Current State of Your Home

According to real-estate broker Adjina Dekidjiev, staging can be beneficial for prospective buyers to get a sense of proportion with furniture. However, if your home is too cluttered, it might be better to wait. Assess the condition of your home and determine if it’s worth showing as-is or if it would benefit from being staged.

Show Time

If your home shows well, it’s perfectly fine to show it to potential buyers with sufficient notice. This allows your tenants ample time to clean up and declutter before showings. Most leases include a clause that permits owners to market and show the home. It’s important to strike a balance between showcasing an appealing space while respecting the privacy of the tenants.

Importance of Presentation

A messy home can negatively impact your chances of selling and could potentially lead to lowball offers from buyers who can’t envision themselves living there. Make sure your home is presentable and appealing, whether the tenants are currently residing in it or not.

Remember, if you’re selling your Staten Island rental property, you can put it on the market even if tenants are still living there. Just ensure that the agent is aware of the tenant situation and that the home is attractive to potential buyers.

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