Your tenant is costing you a fortune

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


This post is directed to sellers who are hoping to sell a property that is occupied by a tenant. I understand that you may think the rental income helps defray your costs while waiting for a buyer. What you may not know is that your tenant is, in almost all cases, adding friction to the sales process. It doesn't take many showings and the need to keep the property always show-ready to harden even the most co-operative tenant. On the easy end of the scale, tenant-occupied properties that I call to show only require an extra phone call and an appointment to show. At the other end of the scale I've encountered tenants who restrict showings to unreasonable hours or who seem to always say that today isn't a good day. There was even one condo tenant who changed the locks so that the listing agent's key wouldn't open the door. I do everything I can to show every suitable property to my clients but sometimes the buyers' schedule and the tenant's resistance preclude a showing and possibly a sale.

Whatever the impediments the tenant produces, this friction reduces showings and, worst case, can prevent a sale. At the very least, reduced showings prolong the selling process. If you are trying to sell a tenant occupied property it would be constructive to monitor the difficulty showing agents are encountering and determine for yourself whether or not the rental income offsets the possible delay or prevention of a sale. Oh, yeah. You'll also want to occasionally call your listing agent, especially on weekends. If she isn't answering or returning calls, that difficult tenant probably doesn't matter.

"Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that is how dogs spend their lives."
____Sue Murphy