Selling a Home with Tenants

It’s not uncommon for some homeowners to turn their property into a rental and wait until they can sell it for the highest possible sale price. That rental income helps ensure that they stay on top of mortgage payments.

However, deciding to sell a property with tenants is different from selling your primary residence. When selling a rental property you’ll need to decide on selling while its tenant occupied or waiting until the lease has expired.

Although you do own the place if you decided to sell before the tenants’ lease expires, you’ll want to work with your tenant to minimize disruption to their day to day lives. They’ll need to vacate for showings, open houses, and any inspections.

Communicate with your tenants and explain the situation thoroughly Review your lease and make sure you’re aware of the terms in regards to showing and selling the property. The lease will usually outline any notice that must be provided to the tenant and how soon before the lease ends you can list the home for sale.

Read further to discover tips for selling a home that isn’t your primary residence.

Wait for the Lease to Expire

It’s essential to choose your tenants carefully. Let them when they sign the lease that your long-term plan is to sell the property.

Practice common courtesy if you were living in a home you’d appreciate substantial notice if you had to vacate and your tenants would appreciate the same.

Unfortunately, it’s not the best decision to ask your tenants to move out with little notice. Some tenants will be angry and can ruin your home sale.

If you’re able to wait for your tenants to move out, you’ll have time to spruce up the property and might be able to secure a higher selling price.

Some tenants will leave your property in disarray, or hang around during showings. This can make it difficult for your real estate agent to hold an open house and may affect how long your home sits in the market.

Work With the Tenant

Not every homeowner has the time to wait until the tenant leaves the property. Some can’t afford to leave the home vacant and wait what could be months to sell the home.

If that’s the case, sell the property with tenants in your home. Having someone occupying the home means it is fully furnished. If your tenants have taken excellent care and decorated it nicely, your house becomes more appealing to buyers.

However, some tenants are challenging to deal with and can have a significant impact on how the property looks.

Give Incentives to Your Tenants

In order to persuade your tenants into assisting you with the selling process, consider offering lower rent for a few months in exchange for keeping the home clean for open houses and showings.

Maybe offer a flexible move-out-date or to cover moving expenses.

Review Lease Agreement to Determine Legal Options

Whether you want to sell your home with the tenant or wait until they move out, you should review the lease agreement. Research how much notice must be given and at what point, within the lease, you can market and show the home.

You can ask your real estate agent for local legal requirements and tips for a successful sale with tenants occupying your home.

There are two kinds of lease agreements with your tenants, month-to-month lease and fixed-term leased.

If you have a month-to-month lease, make sure to send your tenants a letter letting them know when their tenancy ends. Usually, most states require 30 to 60 days notice.

If the answer is latter, you may have to wait until the lease is up or a certain number of days before the lease ends to put the house on the market. Unless the lease agreement has an early termination clause, that would allow you to have the tenants vacate the home early.

Offer your Tenant a Chance to Buy

Ask your tenants if they would consider buying the home. Approach this option directly, you can offer them the opportunity to purchase the property before listing it on the market.


Before selling a home with tenants, make sure that you verified your tenancy facts and lease agreements. It will help you avoid any confusion and conflict with your tenants.

Also, speak to your real estate agent about specific time considerations in your area, showing arrangements, and what condition the home be in in order to get the most money.

Thinking of selling your home?  Check out our 20+ step Guide to Selling Your House. Or you can contact me now to start the process immediately.  Same day appointments are available on a case by case basis. I look forward to hearing from you.

About the Author

The above article was written by Abraham Walker, Your Northern Virginia Real Estate Agent, helping clients market their homes to achieve high sales with a quick closing time is my main priority.  He’s the co-founder of Ask A Walker and can be found on YouTube, Facebook, and HERE on this blog.