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Selling Investment Property in a Down Market

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So you successfully bought some investment properties, paid extra toward the property mortgage every month, followed a long term strategy by holding on to them for 10 years, and now you are ready to sell and reap the rewards of your efforts – congratulations!  The only problem is that this is not exactly the best market for selling investment property. 

But the good news is that there are some relatively cheap and easy things you can do to improve the appeal of any property and thereby maximize your odds of getting a top-dollar price. The main things you can do to get your ideal price are to enhance the property’s curb appeal, have good tenants that pay above market rental rates, and clean and organize the basement (if applicable). 

Obviously at the time you are ready to sell, in most cases you will be stuck with whatever tenants you have, for better or for worse.  Hopefully your rental property strategy was focused on maintaining a good landlord tenant screening process, as well as a policy to boost the property’s rental property income by increasing the rents on a regular basis.  If so, then you should be in good shape regarding the tenants and your rent roll.  But if not, unfortunately there is not much you can do about it now (unless you decide to postpone the sale), so your primary focus should be to improve curb appeal.

Enhancing curb appeal is easy, and the concept applies to the interior as well as exterior areas.  For example, make sure the lawn and landscaping is weed free and manicured, power wash the exterior of the house, paint the interior, shampoo or replace the carpet, add new appliances, add new light fixtures, and improve the bathrooms with new faucets and toilet seats for example. 

Finally, make sure the basement is also neat and clean.  Investors love basements, and a clean and clutter-free one suggests that you are a responsible seller that cares about the property.  This will allow you to stand out from the majority of sleazy landlords out there, which in turn will give potential buyers increased confidence in doing business with you.

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