4 Innovative Ways to Sell a House With Squatters


|5 min read

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Selling a house with squatters might initially seem impossible. With rising interest rates, it’s hard enough to find homebuyers ready to take the plunge into a property. Try adding ‘occupied by squatters’ into the description, and you’ll be hard-pressed to get offers. However, when faced with unconventional circumstances, it’s time to think unconventionally. If you find yourself trying to sell a rental property that has been occupied by squatters, there is hope.

Here are 4 innovative solutions to help you sell a house with squatters inside.

1. Hire an Attorney

Seeking legal aid may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s important if you’ve never dealt with squatters before. A lawyer with specialized knowledge in squatter-related issues can be your ally throughout the likely painful process. You can develop a legally sound plan to address the squatters and start selling your property.

Fill your attorney in on the full extent of the squatter situation. Depending on where your property is located, getting squatters out may not be as long or expensive as you’d expect. Or you may be closer to the finish line than you think based on the efforts you’ve already made. An attorney can tell you exactly what next steps need to be done in order to eject the squatters.

As a homeowner, you may be able to eject them in a few weeks and sell your property from there. Sadly, there are also cities and counties across the United States where the process isn’t that simple. Refer to your attorney, who is the expert. They know what the squatter laws are and how to navigate trying to get them out. You may not need to sell your house ‘squatter-occupied.’ 

Regardless of the rights squatters have in your area, attorneys can also help you negotiate, mediate, or explore eviction options. Having a legal partner, alone, can make the process of selling a house with squatters much less stressful. By hiring an attorney, you can understand all available options. It will help you set a clear plan of how to eject the squatter and eventually sell your property. It’s worth spending the money on an attorney if you presume it won’t be easy to get them out.

2. Consult with a Specialized Realtor

Let’s assume that you speak to an attorney, and they say it’s going to be a 9-month process. What do you do? Consider contacting a real estate agent with experience in handling properties with squatters. They likely have the insights, skills, and tools needed to deal with this unique challenge. They know how to present the property in the right light and find buyers who see an opportunity rather than an issue. Who knows, you may be able to find a buyer through the right agent and can avoid the legal process.

Specialized real estate agents can target buyers looking for unique circumstances and leveraging their expertise in handling squatter-related matters. It’s not impossible to turn lemons into lemonade when confronting a squatter situation!

A realtor is both a salesperson and a marketer. They can craft a narrative that highlights the property’s uniqueness, even with the baggage included. When working with a specialized agent, you can tap into a market you may have otherwise not known about. If the agent knows the right investor, they could connect the dots and get your squatter-occupied property sold.

3. Offering Squatter Incentives

This innovative approach requires thinking outside the box. Successfully offering incentives to squatters requires finding a mutually beneficial solution. Landlords who have dealt with squatters have offered assistance in finding new accommodations for that person. You could also provide financial aid, known as cash for keys, to encourage the squatters to leave.

Engaging in open dialogue, understanding their needs, and creating a transition plan that benefits both parties should be the goal. This cooperative approach builds trust and can make the transition smoother. Ideally, you convey to the squatters that you are on their side. It emphasizes humanity over confrontation. Lead with kindness to ensure a more peaceful resolution. This can help you sell your house with squatters without negative repercussions.

4. Network with Real Estate Investors

Network with real estate investors who are open to buying squatter-occupied properties. Experienced investors are more accustomed to dealing with properties that have baggage. They can see the long-term value of the home, even in its current state. Highlight the location, layout, and possibilities for renovation that can turn the property into an investment gem.

By emphasizing the future possibilities rather than dwelling on the present situation, you can shift someone’s thoughts on how worthwhile the investment could be. Working with agents specializing in investment properties can be very helpful here too. Your realtor can create a compelling narrative that highlights the potential returns on investment. It’s about painting a picture of what could be, not what currently is. Real estate investing is a long-term game, and investors understand that.

Dealing with Squatters

Trying to sell a house with squatters doesn’t have to be an impossible task in real estate. These four innovative approaches demonstrate that there’s more than one way to turn this challenging situation into a selling opportunity. With the right mindset and creativity, you can navigate this complex issue. Ideally, you find a solution that’s both fair and fruitful. Don’t let squatters be the reason your property doesn’t sell. Instead, see it as a unique challenge that is possible to overcome with the right real estate team around you.

Alex Capozzolo Craig Sanger Realty

Alex is a realtor, landlord, and investor in San Diego, CA. He owns 17 rental units and toggles between being a landlord and a realtor. Alex has been blogging for the real estate industry for +5 years. During his downtime, he enjoys surfing, hiking, and journaling.

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