Taking the plunge to sell often feels like a leap of faith, doesn’t it?
Selling with a sitting tenant is different. It reduces the risk… but, knowing how long everything will take would be nice, I’m sure.
The most annoying response to that question might be… how long is a piece of string? In other words, it all depends – and that’s not what you want to hear.
With over 15 years’ experience working with landlords in the property market, I’m going to shed some light on some of the factors that will have an effect on the speed of sale.
I’ll also try and advise you (as best I can in a blog) on how long it should take to get your property on the market.
How quickly will your tenanted property be on the market?
It’s exciting to get your property on websites, social media and sent out to the people who might buy it. Let’s face it, without doing that nothing’s going to happen.
The fact is, any old estate agent should have a vacant property on the market within two weeks, maximum. And you know what? In my experience, it’s the same with a tenanted property.
Yes, it’s more complicated to gain access for the survey and photos. It’s also important to be sensitive to your tenants’ feelings, but I have to say that with a combined 30+ years in letting, it’s a part of the process myself and my business partner take in our stride.
Pro tip: It’s best to be honest with your tenants when organising all of this. If you’re honest and advise you intend to sell to another landlord, they are very likely to be extremely helpful.
It may or may not be worth saying (as you may have worked this out for yourself) but if you want to sell a vacant property, then you have to wait for the tenants to vacate. That means waiting two or three months before any real marketing alone can be done.
Once on the market, how long will it take to sell your tenanted property?
Getting to the sale agreed stage can take one week, or it can take several months. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth about all of this. That said, your estate agent must do everything possible to get a successful sale in a good timescale.
Here’s what must be considered by your estate agent:
In a ‘hot’ area, properties sell quickly and it means your property should also sell within three or four weeks; with or without a tenant.
If your property is located in an area that is experiencing slow sales, then it might take a bit longer.
Psst! I’ve seen tenanted properties sell quicker than vacant ones. I think this is down to the fact the buyer had been attracted to the idea of ‘getting ready rental’.
Setting the right price is essential in getting the optimum time to sell. The right price is one that will take into account the market conditions in your property’s location, and also the condition of the property.
I’m sorry for mentioning a town by name but, as an example, the town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders isn’t one that’s seeing quick sales just now.
Therefore, smaller Hawick properties can take six months to sell, tenanted or otherwise. In this case there it’s clear that buyer confidence is low and a discount is needed. The flipside can be seen in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, where prices will be higher.
Buyers of investment buy-to-let property avoid closing dates wherever possible. Property investors who are building a portfolio don’t want to go to multiple viewings.
So, with that in mind, it’s important that your estate agent chooses a marketing method to suit the buyer, and in turn help you achieve a successful sale in a good time period.
What does all this mean?
The question of how long it will take to sell your tenanted property really comes down to a mixture of three things; location, price and the way your property is marketed.
Getting a quick sale is usually always best, but then again you also want to get the best price possible. The great thing about selling with a rent-paying sitting tenant is that you, the landlord, will continue to receive an income while it’s being marketed.
The time it takes to sell varies from one location to another, and from one type of property to another. We use a five-step process with clients and step one is to discuss all of this in detail before any commitment is made.
Advice from a property pro
It’s probably best to illustrate the above by highlighting some real-life examples. Take the flat we recently successfully sold in Edinburgh. It was a 1-bedroom flat on Elliot Street (EH7) near Leith valued at £130,000. We sold it for £140,000, and in less than one week!
This Elliot Street example shows that tenanted property CAN be sold for a good price, and quickly. However, if it had been a property located in a less buoyant location then it might have sold for a bit less than it’s value and it might have taken a few months.
However, the best advice I can give you to find out how long it might take to sell your tenanted property, and even whether or not selling at all is the right move for you, is to seek out a tenanted property sales specialist – or even two or three.
They should be happy to talk you through some of the factors mentioned above, along with giving you some free, impartial advice.
TIP: For more advice, check out the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL).
To sum it all up
So, how long will it take to sell your tenanted property? I really hope this advice has helped you get a better idea – despite it not always being an easy answer.
Perhaps you’re still figuring out if selling with a tenant is best, or if you should end the tenancy first. It may depend on when you want or need to do whatever real life event or business venture you have in mind!
Clarifying your reason for selling – and when you want to achieve the goal – sounds obvious, but knowing this will dictate a lot of the other decisions you might have to make.
Again, the length of time it would take to sell your property can differ depending on location, property condition and other factors. What I can confirm is that selling with a tenant, instead of waiting for them to leave, is almost always a quicker solution.
Wishing you the best of luck, whatever you decide on! If you think selling your tenanted property might be the best way forward for you – or you have any questions – don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I’d be happy to help!
Written by Chris Wood, MD & Founder of Portolio
Get in touch on 07812 164 842 or email to email@example.com