Searching for a new home with the Pachecos

As you’ve seen for the last couple of weeks, Fernando and Sarah Pacheco have been looking for a home to buy. This is their first time, so it’s been an eye-opening, educational process, not to mention a challenge, since Oahu’s inventory has been so low.

They recently went to a showing that sounded promising, a two-bedroom condo in Moanalua in their price range. It seemed simple enough to drive over and take a look … but that’s when the day turned awkward.

The unit is tenant-occupied, but the tenants weren’t supposed to be there when the Pachecos were looking at it. As they approached the door, however, they could hear the TV blasting. Sure enough, the tenant answered the door holding a bowl of food. They had “Pirates of the Caribbean” on the TV, and looked in no hurry to move.

“When we went upstairs to see the bathroom, it seemed as if someone just got out of the shower because the rug was wet—and apparently so were my socks,” Fernando recalls. “There were also newly installed lighting fixtures in the living room, with exposed wires.

“It was difficult to imagine your life in a home where there are other people's belongings,” Fernando says. “Plus, we didn’t know when the tenant’s lease would be up so, overall, it was an awkward experience. I just wanted to get out of there and change my socks.”

Having been through this myself—although not quite under the same circumstances—I can relate, but I can’t offer any advice to the Pachecos. The burden of showing a leased home really falls on the seller, and if they want to get the place sold, they need to step it up, or risk turning off  all but the most motivated potential buyers.

Standard leases say landlords have the right to show their property to buyers with 24 hours' notice to the tenant. The tenant is supposed to be out during a showing, but as with this case, that doesn't always happen. If your tenant is difficult about vacating the premises, or cleaning up, you might buy a gift card for a meal at a fancy restaurant to get them out of the house (and keep the place clean). Or you could take the maintenance burden off the tenant by buying free maid service while the home is listed. Be considerate and limit how many showings you inflict on your tenant during a week, to ensure situations like this don’t happen.

If you have any tips or leads for the Pachecos, leave them here in the comments!