Over the last several years, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time working with investor buyers and sellers in Guelph. Helping people buy and sell investment properties is exciting in many ways, because it feels great to be a part of someone’s journey to wealth. With that said, I can say that some of the most difficult moments of my real estate career have involved selling or showing tenanted properties.
Experience has taught me that the vast majority of tenants are good people who take care of the properties they’re living in, and who aren’t hard to work with at all. Of course, as with pretty much everything in life, there are the exceptions. In the case of selling an investment property, those exceptions can be tenants who are bound and determined to make the selling process as challenging and costly as possible.
So, if you’re a Guelph property investor and you’re ready to sell, what steps can you take to ensure that the process goes smoothly for all parties?
Work with a Seasoned Guelph Listing Agent
First, select a Listing Agent who has a strong understanding of the Residential Tenancies Act. This is not the kind of home sale that should be left in the hands of a novice. Both the Listing Agent and the Seller/Landlord have a series of rights and responsibilities during this process. Proper notices for showings, photography of the interior space, the many aspects of continuing or discontinuing the tenancy, and so forth. These and other issues can and do crop up when a tenanted property is on the market. So, work with a Guelph Realtor who is experienced and who understands those issues.
Often, Buyers and Sellers are confused about when tenants can be asked to vacate. Here’s the short version. Tenants who are on a lease have the right to remain at the property until the end of their lease term. No, you cannot just sell a home in the middle of their lease term and expect your tenants to find a new place to live. You can sell the home, but if your tenants are on a lease, the Buyer will have to accept the tenants and honour the terms and conditions of their lease.
If your tenants are on a month to month basis, things are a little different. You can sell the property and give your tenants a 60-day notice to vacate, so that the Buyer can take possession of the property himself. It’s important to note that the Buyer must be moving into the home – or have a family member or care-giver moving in. In other words, you can’t sell to a Buyer who is an investor and who simply wants to pick his own tenants and set his own rental terms and rates.
Start the Showing Process on the Right Foot
A good Listing Agent will make a concerted effort to create a positive, respectful relationship with the tenants when she’s listing a Guelph rental property for sale. Agents should introduce themselves to the tenants, explain how the process will work, discuss their preferences for showing times and such, and answer any questions they may have. If the tenants are on a month to month basis but would like to stay, a Listing Agent can talk to them about ways to increase their odds of that happening – i.e. Presenting themselves as model tenants by keeping the place spic and span, and so forth.
Getting the cooperation of tenants is critical, and setting up a good relationship from the get-go is so important. Yes, according to the Act you can show a property quite broadly (with appropriate notice,) but if the tenants don’t want showings on certain days or times, from my experience working with them just makes sense. Let’s face it, real estate showings are an intrusion in the best of circumstances, and many renters aren’t happy with the process – so trying to mitigate their inconvenience and unhappiness is important. Forcing the issue and setting appointments at times when tenants don’t want visitors will backfire.
Timing is Everything
Finally, think strategically about the time of year that you’ll go to market. Guelph investor buyers may always be on the lookout for properties, but there are definitely high and low periods during the year. A Listing Agent who has experience working with investors will be able to advise you on hitting the market at an optimal time.
Investing in Guelph rental properties is a great strategy for building wealth. So don’t let all of those equity gains go out the window once it comes time to sell. Work with your tenants and they’ll most likely work with you.