What You Need to Know About Selling Your House in Columbus When You Have Roommates

Selling a house with roommates can be a bit more challenging than selling a vacant property, but it’s definitely doable. You’ll need to manage expectations, communicate clearly, and make appropriate arrangements. Here are some steps to follow which we’ll expound upon in the point below:

  1. Inform your roommates: Have a conversation with your roommates about your intention to sell the property. Explain the reasons for the decision and provide them with a rough timeline of when you plan to put the house on the market. Answer any questions they may have and address their concerns.
  2. Check your lease agreements: Review any lease agreements you have with your roommates. You may need to provide a certain amount of notice before ending the lease, or there may be specific clauses to follow when selling the property. Consult a real estate attorney if you need assistance understanding the terms of the lease.
  3. Aim for positive conversations and cooperation: Talk to your roommates about their plans for when the house is sold. They may need assistance finding new housing or negotiating an end date for their lease that aligns with your sale timeline.
  4. Prepare the house for sale: Work with your roommates to declutter, clean, and stage the house to make it more appealing to potential buyers
  5. Schedule showings and open houses: Coordinate with your roommates to schedule showings and open houses at convenient times. Ensure they are aware of these appointments and have ample notice to tidy up their spaces and make arrangements to be away from the property during these events. You may need to be flexible and considerate of their schedules to minimize disruption.
  6. Maintain open communication: Keep your roommates informed throughout the selling process, including updates on potential offers, negotiations, and any changes to the timeline. Open communication will help maintain a positive atmosphere and reduce potential conflicts.
  7. Be considerate of your roommates’ needs going into closing: Understand that selling a house while roommates are still living there can be stressful for them. Be considerate of their needs and feelings during this time. Help them with their relocation process if needed, support, whether it’s in the form of resources, recommendations, or assistance with moving. Be flexible and understanding, as the transition may be challenging for everyone involved.

Communicate with your roommates

Start by discussing your intentions to sell the house and explain your reasons for doing so. Open communication helps address any concerns your roommates may have and ensures that everyone is on the same page. Also, this is a good time to feel out the situation to determine who might need additional information or more concessions in regards to the whole home sale process. Knowing your roommates’ thoughts or concerns prior to starting the home sale process will help you to know what areas you need to focus more on in the stages to follow.

Understand your legal obligations

Research and understand the legal rights of your roommates and definitely consult a real estate attorney to clarify any questions you might have. Here’s a short and non-exhaustive list of items to consider regarding selling your home with roommates:

  1. Review rental agreements: Start by reviewing the rental agreements or leases signed with your roommates. These documents outline the terms and conditions of their tenancy, including the duration, termination clauses, and any other relevant provisions. Make sure you fully understand your obligations and rights as a landlord.
  2. Research local laws and regulations: Familiarize yourself with local landlord-tenant laws and regulations governing the rights of roommates and the sale of a property with tenants. These laws vary depending on the jurisdiction and may include specific rules about notice periods, eviction processes, and tenants’ rights during a property sale.
  3. Consult a real estate attorney: If you’re unsure about any aspect of your legal obligations or if your situation is complex, consult a real estate attorney for expert advice. An attorney can help you interpret the rental agreements, provide guidance on local laws and regulations, and assist with any legal challenges that may arise during the sale process.
  4. Communicate with your roommates: Keep an open line of communication with your roommates throughout the process. Inform them of your intention to sell the property, and discuss any concerns or questions they may have. Be transparent about how the sale may impact their living situation and tenancy.
  5. Provide proper notice: Ensure you provide your roommates with the legally required notice before showing the property, terminating their rental agreement, or requesting them to vacate the property. The notice period and requirements may vary depending on local laws and the terms of the rental agreement.
  6. Address eviction or lease termination: If you need to evict a roommate or terminate their lease, follow the proper legal procedures outlined in your rental agreement and local laws. This may involve providing a specific reason for the eviction, serving the appropriate legal notice, and following any required court procedures.
  7. Comply with disclosure laws: Be aware of any mandatory disclosure requirements in your jurisdiction. This may include providing potential buyers with information about existing tenancies, the rental agreement terms, and any other relevant details.

Cooperation and agreement

Try to reach an agreement with your roommates regarding the sale. Ensure that they are onboard and willing to cooperate throughout the process. Because the whole process is very disruptive and directly affects their day-to-day lives, to them it can seem just as stressful for them as it is for you – even if you are the owner. Trying to understand their position and how they are feeling will help you empathize with them which will help grease the wheels of communication between everyone. If your roommates are uncooperative, you may need to explore legal channels to proceed.

Prepare the property for sale

Set a realistic asking price based on market conditions and comparable properties in the area. Consider hiring a real estate agent or working with professional home buyers to assist with pricing, marketing, and negotiations. Understand that having roommates or multiple tenants in a property is going to complicate showings and make it harder for potential buyers to view it. A house that is vacant and been staged is going to show better than one where potential buyers only have access to view it once or twice a week at odd hours. Not being able to show the property might impact the final sale price. Additionally, it might be difficult to perform repairs and prep the house for listing due to you needing to respect their rights like privacy or making certain utilities available at all times. For example, your roommate’s bathroom needs to be fixed or updated prior to selling. Fixing it means contractors are going to be going in and out of their room, there is going to be dust everywhere, they will not have a functional bathroom for weeks if not months, etc. That might generate some animosity from them or a violate a lease agreement whereas if it were just you and your family who lived in the house, then the disruption would be minimal and you could just deal with it.

Minimize disruption

Tagging onto the previous point, you’re going to want to minimize the disruptions. Work with your roommates to prepare the house for showings, ensuring it is clean and presentable. Schedule showings at convenient times for your roommates, and provide them with sufficient notice. Some ideas to help minimize the inconvenience would be to have a group calendar that everyone can set good periods of time for showings. Additionally, many real estate agents utilities showing services like ShowingTime which allows buyer’s agents to request a showing, but doesn’t confirm the showing until you check with everyone to make sure it’s okay. This will insure that buyers don’t stop in uninvited.

Marketing and advertising

Utilize effective marketing strategies, including professional photography, videography, staging, and advertising on online platforms and local publications. You’re agent should have all this covered as part of the listing process and this will help attract potential buyers and secure a successful sale. You’re going to want to check with your roommates before photography to make sure they are okay with pictures being taken of their personal belongings and also check with your agent to see how they typically deal with these types of issues.


Once the house is under contract, you’ll have various inspection and appraisals. Work with your roommates to let them know when they’re coming and what things might be required during the inspection and appraisal periods. Additionally, communicate with them the closing date and what’s to be expected when the house does sell like when they need to vacate the property and remove their personal belongings. Again, if you have any questions regarding how to handle some of these delicate issues, reach out a local real estate attorney or real estate agent.

At CMJones Homes , our local professional buyers make it easy for sellers to understand all they need to know about selling your house in Columbus when you have roommates. The pros at CMJones Homes we want you to feel good about working with us long after closing. Call CMJones Homes at (614) 360-9306.

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