Dressing up your property for a potential sale

Thinking of selling a tenanted property? Following the tips below can help you increase your sale price.

The appearance of space makes a huge difference to the value a potential buyer will perceive when viewing your property. This is of particular concern when it comes to selling an occupied property, as the personal touches of the current tenant may make it difficult for a buyer to envision the space once purchased. Occupied properties simply do not show as well as vacant or, even better, professionally-staged properties.

An empty space acts like a blank canvas, allowing the potential buyer to paint their own picture of what it might be like to live their life there. A staged space has the added advantage of professional imagination and creativity to showcase the potential of the space.

Whether staging a space in full or simply making adjustments to the already lived in space, less is more — yes, less clutter is a good thing and you can achieve great results on your own, without the expense of a professional stager. If you don’t need it and it doesn’t showcase a particular aspect of the space, it isn’t adding value in the eyes of a potential buyer; so put it away.

You want buyers to imagine the place and how it would look like in pristine condition. You want to sell them the dream of making your property their new home. The home they have been longing to acquire.

If you are the owner occupying the property you are probably going to be incentivised to declutter and potentially engage the services of a professional staging company to help present your property in the best light possible. If you are not occupying the property and instead have a tenant, however, you will need to be respectful of their day-to-day lives and make it easier for them to cooperate — preparing an occupied property for sale means preparing both the space and the tenants. Winding down

After all, we all like our stuff; it might be inconvenient and even insulting to a tenant to ask them to put some of theirs away. Showings tend to be on weekends and evenings when tenants are at home winding down after a long day.

It may feel invasive or intrusive for strangers to access the property for a viewing. It is important as a landlord selling a rental unit to understand the emotions tenants go through when they find out you want to sell their place of residency and to be respectful of their lifestyle in order to gain their cooperation as needed.

Prior to listing your property for sale, have a discussion with your tenants. Be upfront and transparent with all parties involved. Be honest about your plans and try to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that works for everyone.

Some examples can be paying for your tenant’s moving cost as a gesture to terminate lease early or maybe discounting last month’s rent, etc. It is to your advantage to list your property for sale when it is vacant.

After your tenant vacates the unit you can prep and potentially stage the unit for sale. Examples of prepping a unit include a fresh coat of paint, deep cleaning, taking care of outstanding maintenance issues, landscaping the front yard to enhance curb appeal and ensuring an appealing backyard, particularly when trying to attract families with children.

If you and the tenant agree to start showing the property prior to vacancy, then go the extra mile to work out a showing schedule where the property can be shown at its best. Always give tenants 24-hour notice for any showing request and maybe plan an open house on a weekend when they will be out of town.


What not to do — Do not pretend you (or) an immediate family member want to move into the house and turn around and sell shortly after that. Your tenant can file with the landlord tenant board for wrongful end of lease and penalties may apply.

Preparing a tenanted property for sale means preparing both the property and the people. Taking care to do both will go a long way to securing top-dollar from any potential buyer.

Sabine Ghali, Special to gulfnews.comGN
The writer is a Director at Buttonwood Property Management


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