How to Sell Your House Fast in Atlanta with Tenants
Selling a house with tenants already in it is definitely not an ordinary transaction. It comes with some unique challenges and considerations. But just because there are some extra hurdles to jump through as the seller does not mean this should scare you away from trying to find the answers to “how to sell my house fast Atlanta.”
Getting a great deal on your house even if you have tenants is possible. If you want some essential tips on how to navigate this confusing process like a pro, keep reading!
The Challenges of Selling with Tenants
Maybe you’re hoping to sell your house that has tenants and it’s news to you that it will be complicated. It’s important to know what you’re about to get into before you begin the process. In some circumstances, tenants who don’t want to have to leave the home may become angry and try to sabotage the sale. Not only could they refuse to cooperate with the selling process and property showings, but they could also potentially damage your property and decrease the value. While this would most likely be grounds for lease termination, it’s a headache most landlords would rather not deal with.
Even if your tenants are being respectful and not purposefully trying to sabotage the sale, their simply being there could create some obstacles. For example, it won’t be so simple to stage the home or get the immaculate photos that are essential to marketing the home and attracting buyers. Your tenants may have young children running around, fill the home with clutter, and have tacky furniture that potential buyers can’t quite see past. Potential cash home buyers also won’t have the access to the home that they may want. You may have to do showings at odd hours, inconveniencing potential buyers and damaging your chances of closing the sale.
Selling with tenants still in the home could also decrease the number of buyers that are interested in your property. It could prolong the real estate transaction and if buyers are looking for a quicker sale, they will automatically pass over any house with a tenant in it. Buyers that are working with real estate agents will also most likely be advised to avoid buying a home that comes with tenants at all costs.
It’s possible that these things won’t be an issue in your case, but you need to be prepared for the challenges and be willing to work with your tenants throughout the process of selling your property.
How to Find Buyers
If you’re still interested in selling even after thinking of the worst-case scenarios, you’ll have to decide is how you will sell the home. Working with a realtor is the obvious choice, but it will cost you extra. Realtors often have their best interests in mind, not yours. In addition, you will probably have a hard time finding a realtor that is willing to take on a property that you’re trying to sell with tenants.
Doing an FSBO sale is always an option. This involves simply putting a sign outside the home and doing your best to share the fact that you’re selling via word of mouth. You won’t have to worry about paying realtor fees but there is a major downside: time. Because you won’t have access to the same resources a realtor would and you don’t have their expertise, the transaction could drag on for quite a while. Selling on your own can also be a major source of stress and open you up to liability issues.
One other option is trying to sell your home via an off-market deal. For example, you could post about the property on your local Facebook real estate group. This can be an easy way to get some leads since virtually everyone is on Facebook.
Get to Know the Housing Market
No matter the circumstances behind your sale, knowing the real estate market is an important part of any home sale. The real estate market is constantly changing and it can be very different from one city to the next. So make sure you are getting the most up-to-date information on the real estate Atlanta market when you’re interested in selling.
Although having tenants will already make your home sale less than ideal, the object of your research is to determine if you’re in a good position to sell in the current market. For example, if you’re especially short on time, selling in the warmer months will maximize your chances of a fast sale. However, when you have tenants, their lease will dictate the timeline to some extent for you.
You should always look into comparable properties in your area. Not only will this help you price the home but it will also help you know what condition you should sell the home in. If the home is a bit of a fixer-upper, looking at comparable properties can help you determine what repairs you’ll need to make to get the home market-ready.
What Happens to the Tenants?
As you might have guessed, one of the first things you’ll have to worry about when trying to sell your house fast Atlanta is what you’ll do with the tenants themselves. The easiest option is selling to the tenants themselves. Your buyer is already there. You don’t have to worry about showings or marketing and you won’t have to tell the tenants to clean anything up.
So go to your tenants first and ask them if they’re interested. If they are, you’ll still need to ensure they qualify for a loan. It’s best to get them pre-approved first and then you can proceed with the transaction like you normally would. This option will save you time, money, and stress.
3 More Options to Sell Your House Fast Atlanta
Of course, your tenants buying is a best-case scenario and you should prepare yourself for the fact that it may not happen. If they don’t want to buy, you’ll essentially have three options:
- Pay the tenants to leave the house early
- Sell the home now with tenants still inside
- Wait until the lease expires to sell
If you don’t want to wait any longer to sell the house but your tenants won’t buy the home, you’ll have to buy them out to break the lease. The tenant is not obligated to leave, but covering their moving expenses will incentivize them to get out. Yes, you might see this as an unnecessary expense, but if you’re in urgent need of selling, the ability to do that quickly may offset that cost.
Another option that allows the tenants to continue living in the property is selling to a new buyer who is fine with letting the tenants remain. To sweeten the deal, you may still want to give your tenants monetary compensation such as refunding their security deposit. This offsets the inconvenience they will have to deal with such as vacating the property during the appraisal and inspection.
If there’s no way of buying out your tenants or letting them stay in the home while you sell to someone else, your final option is waiting until the lease expires. The ideal scenario would be if there’s just a couple months left on the lease or your tenants are leasing month-to-month. That doesn’t mean you have to completely stall the selling process. You can still market the property as long as you are being courteous to the tenants and they are willing to cooperate with you.
Know Your Tenant’s Rights
Review Your Lease
It’s a good idea to review your own lease at the beginning of this process. If you have an early-termination clause, this will make things easier for you. Even if you don’t, there are some valid reasons you can terminate the lease early. If your tenant has clearly violated part of their lease, you will be able to kick them out and sell the property. Some examples of lease violations include:
- Serious property damage
- Illegal activity on the property
- Missed rent payments
- Subleasing without your consent
- Owning a pet without your consent
- Falsifying information on their rental application
The problem is that even if you have grounds to evict, evicting itself can be a real headache. It can also be a lengthy one if your tenants refuse to leave, further complicating your plan to “sell my house fast Atlanta.”
No matter what route you choose to go about selling a property that already has tenants, it is crucial for you to make sure you are not violating any of your tenant’s rights. Usually, you’ll need to give renters at least 30 to 60 days of notice that you are going to end the lease. You’ll definitely want to review the Fair Housing Act and HUD Tenant Rights. Don’t stop your search at the national level. Make sure you’re looking into local tenant laws as well.
Talking to your lawyer is always better than trying to review the laws on your own. Laws are always changing. As a layperson, it’s easy to misinterpret parts of a law or miss out on certain laws that you don’t realize can be applied to your circumstances. A lawyer will have the most up-to-date information and the expertise to guide you. All of this will take time and money but it’s better to go into the situation well informed even if there are more steps involved than to end up in legal trouble.
How to Get Tenants on Your Side
Remember that as stressful as your journey to sell your house fast Atlanta may be for you, it’s also very stressful for the current tenants. Be considerate of them. After all, while you may be the owner of the property, this is their home. The longer they’ve lived there, the more attached they will be and the harder it will be for them to part with the property.
Something you can do when you’re talking to tenants to ease their minds is to anticipate their concerns and offer possible solutions. The most obvious concern they’ll have is wondering where they’re going to live after they’ve left their home. Try to have recommendations ready for them. You could even go online, find listings, and print them out for your tenants. Showing that you actually care for your tenants in this way will also make them more willing to cooperate with you for a seamless sale.
A concern you might share with your tenants is how their messy home could affect showings and photos for the listing. You can fix this by volunteering to pay for professional cleaning and yard services. This is a win-win because your tenants won’t have to worry about their messy home being seen and you’ll let be able to give buyers the best impression possible.
Don’t just make this a one-time gift. Add cleaning to the schedule so that the home is as well maintained as possible.
Rather than assuming what your tenants need from you, you can also always ask them directly. Adding things to your to-do list may sound stressful, but remember: if it makes the process of selling your house with tenants in Atlanta go more smoothly, it will be better in the long run.