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Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closing

Posted by SueBreeKay (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 19, 12 at 16:23

This may be long...I apologize in advance. We relocated from suburban Chicago to suburban Nashville when my husband was able to find a new job after several months of unemployment. We put our Chicago home on the market after we moved to Nashville, because we thought it would sell better without pets and children underfoot. We staged it nicely and were very pleased to have an offer on the third day on the market. We were able to negotiate a price that was 95% of asking and again feel fortunate. The couple that is purchasing our home is getting ready to retire in a few years and decided to take advantage of a down market to buy our house. They intend to rent it out for a few years until they are ready to retire. We've gone through all the inspections, etc. All contingencies have been removed from the contract. Closing is set for April 30.

My parents are in Chicago for the week for a wedding and associated festivities and I thought since the house is sitting there staged with beds etc. that they would be more comfortable staying there and could forego the cost of a hotel. This morning I get a call from my dad that he and my mom came back from breakfast to find a realtor in the house with a young couple. They said they were looking at renting the house from the new owners. My question is, can and should they be showing the home to prospective renters before the home is actually theirs? This is very disconcerting. I'm not only worried about the liability issues, but also upset that this was done without even scheduling the appointment, thus disturbing my parent's stay. Sorry this was so long. Any advice appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

Well, it depends on your sales contract. When we recently bought a house (and when we sold our old house) it was provided that something along the lines of we had right to do reasonable inspections. During one of those inspections we did bring a contractor in to look at some work we wanted to do and when we sold our buyers did the same thing.

I'm not sure that having prospective renters looking would fall within that. Regardless, under our contract, we had to give reasonable notice and couldn't just go in any time we wanted to. I would be surprised if your contract allows the house to be shown to prospective renters at any time without notice to you. So, yes, I would complain. As a seller I would have not wanted the buyer to send anyone to the house without the buyer being there....


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

I would share your dismay.

When our house went under contract, once both sides had signed, the realtor removed the lockbox. Although the sale sign stayed outside, it meant that anyone who wanted access to the house had to get preapproval from us/our realtor.

I would be pretty uncomfortable with such access before the closing.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

Your buyer is taking advantage of you and your nicely staged house - making it easier for him to get a renter, and possibly making it more possible to get a higher rent. They are trying to beat the clock and line up a renter really close to closing so they can make as money as possible. Renting the house should be the buyer's problem - not yours.

I would tell them they can NOT do this. Be nice about it, and make up whatever excuse you want. You don't want these people tromping through your house so nothing gets stolen or damaged - and the bigger reason, so nobody trips and falls and injures themselves and then sues you.

We had a similar situation a few years back where the buyer wanted to put a "For Rent" sign in our yard and we told him absolutely not.

good luck


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

oh hell no.
they have no right to show the home until they own it.
kind of sleazy behaviour, i'd be looking more carefully at the details of the deal after this.
but i'm a cynic lately.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

Thank you everyone for your advice. You made me feel much better about saying no. I didn't want to be unreasonable, but the liability really scared me, as well as the inconvenience to my parents this week. I emailed my realtor and asked him to remove the lock box and informed him that I wanted no more showings. The home becomes the buyer's on the 30th and then they can get prospective renters in. Thank you again.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

"Your buyer is taking advantage of you and your nicely staged house - making it easier for him to get a renter, and possibly making it more possible to get a higher rent. "

Or you could have the sale fall through.

What worries you more?


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

I'm not worried about the sale falling through at this point. Maybe I should be, I don't know. I know it's a buyer's market, but I think we have them past the "will buy" point and they're committed to this house. Anything is possible though, but I'm not allowing renters to go through the property until the property is theirs. If a renter hurts themselves, it is me they're going to sue, not the new "owners". If they damage or break something, it's me that has to pay. I'm not willing to take on that liability. The new owners only have to wait 10 more days and then it's theirs. My realtor has agreed to remove the lock box today.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

"Or you could have the sale fall through."

I'm pretty sure the seller did not agree to this, otherwise, why are they here complaining about it? If it is not in the contract, and if the buyer walks because of this, the seller can sue for breach of contract, or in the very least keep his deposit.

Common sense says you don't show a property to potential renters until you OWN the property. No question about it, this guy is taking advantage of the seller, and as someone else already said, it is a very sleazy way of doing business.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

All is good....my husband just talked to our realtor. Our realtor's office also does property management and have contracted with the "new owners" to manage the property after closing. Someone inadvertently entered the property into their computer as being available for renting as of May 1st and available for show now. It should have been entered as available for showing to renters as of May 1st. The problem has been resolved and the lock box removed. Thanks for all your input. Selling a home from hundreds of miles away has had a fair share of issues, communication with our realtor being one of them.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

lol - "oops, clerical error.....we didn't MEAN to show your house before we owned it" - yeah, sure.

Well I am glad you got it taken care of. Congrats on selling your house and good luck in your new place.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

Seems to be many skeptic, negative people here.
The OP's last post seems very likely. I don't see the harm either way.
I understand the seller not wanting to deal with rental lookers, but they were accompanied by an agent so I wouldn't be concerned about theft. Yes, there is a liability, but really if we were that worried about liability, it would be difficult to have any one to our house.
It is reasonable for the seller to say she doesn't want it, but I don't believe there were any nefariousness motives.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

Skeptics and negative people? How about gullible, naive people?

Of course that's the first excuse they're going to use when they get called on it. So if they weren't purposely trying to take advantage of them, then they were being incompetent. Yes, people make mistakes, but I see A LOT of "mistakes" in real estate world.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

The buyer was not in the house, a realtor was there showing the house. I don't see anything wrong with the buyer putting the house for rent with their rental department. The buyer did not list and bring a prospect to the the house without the agent.

As I said, I understand the selling not approving of the action, but really what is the big deal?


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

cmarlin20..thank you for your input. I certainly am willing to take the chance on liability if there is a possible benefit for me. It's a risk I took when selling my house, but I assumed that risk in an effort to sell my home. Just as I assumed the risk anytime I had a guest or friend or workman enter my home. Renting the house for the new owners doesn't benefit me at all, hence I'm unwilling to assume any liability for having prospective renters through my home. Let them assume liability when it's their home !


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

"If it is not in the contract, and if the buyer walks because of this, the seller can sue for breach of contract, or in the very least keep his deposit. "

There are so many ways to kill a deal under most contracts it is not even fumy.

Unable to fulfill the financing contingency? Deal is dead.

One of the oldest ones has been to have a wife decide to stop work for pregnancy.
Not enough income available? Financing fails, deal is dead.

No rental contract in place? Financing fails, deal is dead.

If your house is so hazardous you fear every guest injuring themselves and then suing, it must be a real rat hole.

No wonder it is for sale


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

Wow Brick - I see you're still your same "nice person" you have always been.

People can fall down stairs, trip over furniture, a multitude of things can happen, and it doesn't make the place a "rat hole". You just insulted the OP for no reason, and you owe her an apology. I doub't we will see an apology from you, that is not within your character.

In the meantime, you should keep your gobbledygook to yourself.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

IMO...
The buyer's agent needed to schedule a showing no matter if it was for a buyer or a renter. She should have called for an appointment and it would have been up to the owner to decide upon. You just don't go into SOMEONE ELSE"S HOME, w/o an appointment.
Hey CAS66... nice use of the word.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

"If your house is so hazardous you fear every guest injuring themselves and then suing, it must be a real rat hole.

No wonder it is for sale"

What kind of seller would choose to incur liability for even a rat hole?

I would have changed the locks the same day I heard that the stupid realtor 'accidentally' let someone (other than the buyer) in.

Let the buyer do what they want AFTER the closing. It isn't like they have that long to wait.


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RE: Buyer wants to show home to prospective renters before closin

ncrealestateguy hit the nail on the head--You don't go into someone else's home without an appointment. It's that plain and simple.


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