Selling a Occupied Investment Property

I sometimes receive calls from property owners who are having difficulty selling their occupied investment properties.  They want to know if we will stage the rental property.  Stagers simply will not stage an occupied rental unit. To begin with, most furniture companies will not rent furniture for staging occupied homes. They rent furniture for staging vacant properties only.  The chances for damages are simply too great in an occupied home. Food, drink, pets, cigarette smoke can all become huge issues of potential dispute when renting furniture to occupied homes.  Most staging contracts specifically stipulate there are no pets or smoking allowed in the premises while the rental furniture and accessories are on site.  I will rent my own stock furniture and accessories for occupied homes, but am careful if there are pets in the home and simply will never rent to a smoking home.  Even if they do not smoke while the furniture is in the home, the residual smell of the smoke from carpets, drapery, and just the building will often infiltrate the furniture. 

When having difficulty selling an occupied rental unit, the tenant, in many cases isn’t taking very good care of the rental unit itself, which is why it doesn’t show well and is not selling. Usually it’s messy, cluttered, can have unpleasant odours, may have repair/maintenance issues, etc.  Placing rental furniture and accessories would simply complicate the matter for both Stager and Property Owner.  If the owner stages the suite with nice furniture and accessories – the potential of damage, spills, breakage, is much higher because the contract is not with the tenant.  The tenant is not responsible (even if they are).  Basically, it becomes a much worse headache than it is worth for everyone.

However, we can offer some sound selling advice for Investors having difficulty selling their investments.  First of all, always remember, it is YOUR investment!  If the tenant is preventing you from selling and getting the best price for your investment, time for your tenant to move!  The Residential Tenancies Act allows property owners to give proper notice for tenants to vacate premises so owners can do renovations or so they can use the property for their own purposes.  It doesn’t matter how long the tenant may have been there or what time in the school year we are at.  You, as the Owner, can give proper notice and order your tenant to leave.  An investment property is always more appealing to a buyer when it’s in good, clean, well maintained vacant condition.  If your tenant is making the place look run down or a disaster, they are costing you money!  Some tenants will refuse access for showings making it difficult to view the property.  This just sends investors looking elsewhere.  Most owners would rather choose their own tenants with their own selection criteria anyway.  So it may cost you rent for a few months, what might that be $1500 – $2000?  If you have to drop the selling price by $10,000 or $20,000 or more – where is the real cost?  Why allow a bad tenant to run down your investment any further?  When you sell, this is your opportunity to re-coup the maximum dollars you can.  Plan your sale, take the steps necessary to make the most out of your investment.  Once the property is vacant do the necessary repairs and cosmetics improvements to make it look great.  Then it is just another vacant property to be staged!  No tenant, no complications.  You can stage any vacant property to maximize your selling price! With rents not registered in many single family home rentals, the new buyer than can set his own rental rates…. Much more appealing! You’ll sell faster and for a better price than if you had let the tenant stay!