Trying to source a rental from homes for sale can be a futile exercise in this market

The current real estate market is tough for both home buyers and renters. Inventory is low and competition for both is high at the moment. Every week we receive inquiries from potential renters who ask “would the seller would be interested in renting the home they have listed for sale.” Unfortunately, there are a variety of reasons why this sort of inquiry will go nowhere.

Most sellers need to sell

for rentThe reality for most home sellers is that they are selling one home to purchase another. The majority of home owners cannot afford to own two homes at the same time and require the proceeds from their current home as the down payment for their next home. Renting out their current home instead of selling obviously doesn’t help with any of this.

The market is healthy enough that sellers will get the home sold

Go back a few years into the depths of the housing market downturn, and there were lots of motivated home sellers who couldn’t get their home sold. Turning it into a rental was the only logical course of action to be able to move somewhere else.

Today’s market is wildly different. The inventory of homes is sufficiently low and the number of buyers for a home is sufficiently high that most homes are pretty darn easy to sell. As long as a home is priced accurately, the time to get a home sold can often be measured in days, not the weeks or months it was taking a few years ago.

Most home owners don’t want to be a landlord

Being a landlord is a hassle. Having to fill vacancies or deal with repairs and maintenance is a task that most home owners don’t relish. Also, anyone willing to rent out their home rather than sell it is going to be faced with the task of freshening up the place when the rental is over to prepare it for sale.

Advice to renters

If you are a renter struggling to find a home to rent, you may find yourself surfing the for sale listings and hoping that you can snag one that the seller may want to rent instead. I wouldn’t spend a ton of energy on this activity, particularly for homes that have been just listed for sale. If a home seller were truly wanting to keep the home and rent it out, they will advertise the home for rent as well.

We’ve received inquiries for renters on homes for sale during their first week on the market. Of course the seller is not interested in renting it when they just listed for sale. If you are going to try this tactic, then focus on homes that have been on the market for a long time without a successful sale. That means looks for homes that have been on the market for 90+ days, not one week.

Unfortunately, the market for renting single family homes will remain a struggle for many renters in the near term. It is simply too easy to get a home sold. For as long as the costs of buying are more favorable than renting, I’d expect this trend to continue.