Sometimes you have to search far and wide for your new home, and sometimes it is right where you are. Likewise, sometimes you have to wait awhile for the right buyer, and sometimes they are right there. Recently Nick and Tess set about the search for a first home of their own. The inventory in the close-in Portland neighborhoods they love is pretty tough for first timers. In the middle of navigating fixer-uppers and the like, they got a call from the property manager of the home they were renting in the Woodlawn neighborhood. Their landlord was ready to sell! While this is usually a major bummer to hear, it was music to Nick and Tess’ ears. After a bit of negotiating, we struck a deal and they celebrated New Year’s Eve as homeowners without having to move a thing. What a win-win situation for the buyer and the seller! The owner did not have to face a vacancy or work around tenants during a sale, nor did he have to prep or spruce things up. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Happy buyers – happy sellers.
Tips for success in landlord to tenant sales:
- Buyer and seller should each have their own agent represent them.
- Let the agents do their jobs, even when the buyer and seller know each other.
- Get a market analysis of the property from your own agent, even if the other agent’s report has been shared with you.
- Always get inspections, even if the sale will be as-is.
- Put everything in writing and don’t leave any loose ends for later.
- Clarify how deposits and pro-rations will be handled.
- Be generous; everyone wins (no moving costs for buyers, no period without income for sellers, etc.).
- Feel lucky, the stars are aligned. Kismet!
This lucky turn of events got me thinking back over the years and some other times when landlords and tenants struck deals. One of my first clients, who in 1991 bought the home he still lives in today, later purchased another home as an investment in University Park. When he tired of managing it, I gave it a shot and reached out to his renter who was absolutely delighted and had her agent write up an offer right away.
Several years ago, I, myself, sold my own tiny rental cottage to my renters. This little one bedroom cutie in Ardenwald made home ownership possible for them against all odds.
When I was a kid in Berkeley, my aunt signed on as a roommate with a friend in a small bungalow on the corner of a little dead end street. She thought she was just settling in for a while, but it turned out she loved the 1,000 square foot, two-bedroom, one-bath, no frills 1921 home! It had never been updated, but it had a big back yard and, being on the corner, looked out onto two streets, had little traffic, lots of overgrown plants and wonderful neighbors. Eventually her friend moved out. Then the landlords filed for divorce and let her know that they would be selling it. She jumped at the chance to buy it, “It isn’t often that people get a chance to completely test a home before moving in…Yes, I knew every nook and cranny, every good point and shortcoming of this house. It didn’t matter. It was my ‘home’. I am so glad I took the leap”. I am so glad she did too. I still love visiting my aunt and uncle at their sweet home all these years later.