How To Move Her Out

Eric and his wife own a rental property that has an occupant. He wants to sell the property but doesn't want to drop that bomb on the renter. When should he list it and notify the tenant?

QUESTION: Eric in California and his wife own a rental property that has an occupant. She has six months left on a 12-month lease. He wants to sell the property but doesn’t want to drop that bomb on the renter. When should he list it, and when should he notify the tenant?

ANSWER: I ask myself what I would want my landlord to do if I lived there. I would want reasonable notice. If you think she can afford to buy it, I’d start talking to her about buying it now while interest rates are low.

If she isn’t interested, I might give her a break on the rent in the last few months in return for really keeping the house market-ready and accessible to the real estate agent. I want the tenant working with me to sell it, not against me. If someone walks in there and there is a pile of diapers in the corner, it makes it hard to sell.

The other thing that I’d personally like if I were the renter is to have a phone call from you. Tell her you didn’t want to bother her at home or surprise her with a letter. Be a little more personable about it and say this is what’s going on with the loan. Tell her you’d love to sell it to her, but if that doesn’t sound good, you’d love to work with her on getting it sold and try to help her out in the process. Then tell her you’ll send her a letter to that effect. That gives her plenty of time to emotionally process that she’s buying or she’s leaving.

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