by Arturo J.
It’s not uncommon for an investor to sell a house and have the buyer request the right to rent and occupy the property while the closing is being completed.
You’re a bad guy if you refuse and often in hot water if you agree. Here are the potential problems with renting before closing:
1. Buyer is in the home for two months and then the potential lender decides the buyer can’t qualify for the mortgage loan. Now that’s bad news!
2. Buyer is in the home for two months… gets a bad case of buyer’s remorse and wants out of the deal. Now that’s bad news!
3. Buyer is in the home for two months and comes to the closing table with a long list of needed repairs he has discovered during residency. Now that’s bad news!
4. Buyer is in the home for two months during which time he does serious damage to the property and then disappears. Now that’s bad news!
Is there any good news? Well, you are getting rent money for those two or so months.
Let’s check the score card:
Bad News = 4
Good News = 1
I would say that the investor comes out on the short end of that game. Let’s agree that the only time you rent during closing is if you are in dire need of that rental income.
If you must rent then you must carefully prepare a lease agreement. No handshake deals allowed!
If the buyer/renter refuses to close the deal for any reason, the only way you can get them out of the property is if you have a rental agreement that gives you the right to evict.
It must also be a short term lease, so there is no misunderstanding about the buyer/renter remaining in the property if the deal goes bad.
In the purchase agreement you must spell out exactly, in a dollar amount, what repairs or improvements you will pay for. The agreement should indicate the buyer has had an inspection period and is buying subject to your limits on repairs and costs… now and in the future. If legitimate defects are found in the property during the rental period you can negotiate a solution.
You must collect sufficient security deposit to cover rent and potential damage the renter/buyer might inflict upon the property.
Look, if for some reason you feel you must accommodate the buyer during the closing period… pay for a motel room. Chances are it will be far cheaper in the long run.