Pro-rated rent, Showings that run late


Dear David,

I’m looking to re-locate into the city for a new job. The timing requires that I be there mid-month. I would really like to rent, but it seems like most landlords want their leases to start at the beginning of the month. What should I do? – BAD TIMING

DEAR TIMING: You are correct that in our area, landlords typically like to coordinate rental payments to the start of the month. That said, from a landlord’s point of view, it’s better to have their unit earning part of its monthly income than to have it earning nothing at all!

Is the property that you’re considering vacant and move-in ready? If so, I suggest talking to the landlord about starting your rental period at the beginning of the following month, then pro-rating your first payment to include the days you lived in the property prior to the “official” start of your rental period. This will get you settled in the city on time, while allowing your landlord to recoup some of the income that’s being lost while the unit sits empty. Of course, you can expect that all terms of the lease will apply during the pro-rated period.

Dear David,

My home is listed for sale. Yesterday, a showing ran 15 minutes late. My agent said not to go back inside until the group left, which messed up my schedule. Can’t anyone keep an appointment? – ANNOYED

DEAR ANNOYED: While I understand your frustration, I’m going to side with your agent on this one. Keeping buyers and sellers at a safe distance prevents a chance meeting from turning into an inadvertent property negotiation. I’ve seen gracious sellers invite buyers in for a drink with the best of intentions. Before they know it, the buyer is making requests that seller agrees to, and later regrets. As an agent, it’s my job to run interference between the two sides. I get paid to say “no” in situations where my client might not be comfortable.

On the flipside, when buyers and sellers don’t hit it off, things can go bad pretty quickly. I’ve seen the occasional stressed-out homeowner make off-handed remarks about the showing. If a buyer is in earshot, it can end up souring their impression of an otherwise great home. Emotions run high when it comes to property transactions and it’s common for buyers and sellers to be at odds. It’s a primary reason why the real estate industry has been a going concern for the last hundred years.

But back to your situation. Agents generally book appointments in one-hour blocks and they are expected to be out of the house in that time frame. While it might feel like an invasion of privacy if they overstay their welcome, consider this: people tend to rule out homes they don’t like very quickly. If someone is loving your house and the showing runs a few minutes late, it might be a sign that you’ve found the perfect buyer. Leave them a little space, if possible. They may be deciding where to put the couch in their new home.