Can I Sell My House and Still Live in It in California?

Selling your home while still residing in it may sound strange, but it’s a feasible option embraced by many. This scenario often arises for homeowners seeking to unlock their property’s equity while maintaining their ties to the neighborhood. But how does one manage to sell their home yet continue living there without being listed as the owner?

There are three main avenues to achieve this: selling to an investor and transitioning into a tenant, engaging in home reversion, or negotiating terms with the buyer. Among these, the most prevalent approach is the sale-leaseback method, wherein the property is sold to an investor who then leases it back to the original owner.

To learn more about the options we have shared above and find the best buyer that would allow you to stay in the property after the sale, check out the rest of this blog!

Can I Sell My House and Still Live in It In California

Yes. You can sell your house and stay in it, depending on your agreement with the buyer. Most buyers understand how hard it is to move places, so they agree that the seller remains in the property for a certain period until they have settled everything.

Keep in mind that this arrangement comes with a downside when selling your house. The buyer may request a lower selling price because of post-closing occupancy and the associated holding expenses. In essence, you won’t get to stay there for nothing. You’ll give up some of the selling price to extend your stay in the house.

Alternatively, you may not need to fork over any money or reduce the selling price to continue living in your property after it’s sold. This is known as home reversion.

We will discuss all of these in detail in a later part of this article. For now, what is clear is that you can absolutely sell your home and stay in it after closing.

Can You Sell Your House and Stay in It In California

There are endless reasons sellers want to stay in a property even after selling it. Some of the most common ones are:

Moving Preparation

Let’s be honest; relocating after selling your house can be challenging, especially if there’s a lot of personal items like furniture and appliances to pack and transport. Moving can also be expensive, so if the funds from the property sale are earmarked for a new purchase and there’s no allocated budget for relocation, there could be a significant delay.

Apart from the physical and financial considerations of relocating, many sellers aren’t emotionally prepared for the impact. This is understandable as homes often hold cherished memories. It may take time for sellers to come to terms with the move, hence the necessity for them to remain in the property longer.


Many peoples relocate because of work changes and wait until their previous property sells in the real estate market. They do this because they require the funds from the sale as a deposit for their new property and wish to avoid additional closing fees. 

However, the issue with this approach is that the moving process often begins only after the sale closes. Unlike regular property sales where the house is emptied before being listed, those planning to move often stay longer after the sale to pack and move their possessions.

Amazing Neighborhood

If the area is fantastic, it’s tough to relocate. Who wouldn’t love to reside close to top-notch schools or medical facilities? Or nearby shopping centers, a beautiful park, or public transportation? Furthermore, if the neighbors are welcoming and the homeowners association is effective, departing may leave you questioning your decision.

Sellers who want the equity in their home but are deeply attached to their neighborhood may find themselves overstaying or selling to a real estate investor so they could be the tenants of their old home.

Great House

Some houses are really perfect—not in the actual sense of the word—but in how they suit a family or a person. This is another reason why there are people who want to stay in a property even after they sell it.

The house grew on them and its amenities may be hard to come across. For instance, a house with a jack and jill bathroom for siblings or a house with lots of natural light or a home with the exact number of bedrooms as the occupants.

If you think the only way to live in a property you’ve sold is to sneak in and become a squatter, you are wrong. There are a lot of legal ways to live as if nothing’s changed even after selling your home.

Negotiate With the Buyer Through the Help of Your Real Estate Agent

It’s wise for sellers needing a brief stay after closing to discuss post-closing occupancy with the buyer or their agent. While some buyers may allow this at no charge, negotiations often determine a payment based on the duration of the seller’s stay.

For longer stays, such as weeks or months, the buyer’s agent can leverage this situation. They may propose a rental agreement or make an offer that adjusts the seller’s post-closing occupancy costs.

In both cases, if the house is sold traditionally on the seller’s market, the seller would benefit from asking the help of a real estate agent in negotiating.

Negotiate With the Buyer Through the Help of Your Real Estate Agent In California

Sale-Leaseback Agreement
sale-leaseback agreement is ideal if you want a lump sum of cash but want to stay in your property for a long time. This is possible if you sell to cash buyers or real estate investors. Generally, a sale-leaseback, or seller rent back, happens when a property owner sells to a buyer for cash, an investor, or a mortgage lender who can lease it back. The seller gets a lump sum of cash, and the buyer ensures rent payments. It’s beneficial for both.However, the previous owner has restrictions on property actions. Depending on the lease, occupants, pets, remodeling, guests, and stay hours may be limited by the new owner.The advantage is the old owner only needs to pay rent, without other financial obligations to the property.

Rental Rate
If you plan to live in your previous house, don’t expect the rental fee to match your monthly mortgage. Several variables influence the calculation of rent for a leaseback agreement:

  • Mortgage and interest
  • Property taxes
  • The price of homeowner’s insurance
  • Homeowner association dues
  • Funding for repairs
  • Holding costs

It’s smart to negotiate with renters for a cheaper rate upfront. Landlords know paying rent can be tough. If the potential buyer can’t handle a lower rent, one solution is reducing their cash offer to buy your house.

Home Reversion

Home equity release, known as home reversion, involves selling a portion of your home’s value to receive either regular payments or a lump sum. Lenders typically buy a share ranging from 20 to 60 percent, based on factors like life expectancy, property maintenance, insurance, and market appreciation.

This option suits older homeowners, particularly those in their 70s, with fewer associated risks. It’s advantageous if you lack heirs, as the lender assumes ownership upon your passing with a lifetime lease.

Under home reversion, you retain residency rights, ensuring you can live in the property indefinitely. If you decide to sell later on, the lenders or companies involved receive a proportional share of the sale proceeds, with the remainder going to you.

  • Full Home Reversion: In this situation, you are selling the full legal ownership of your property. After you die, the home reversion company will claim your home.
  • Partial Home Reversion: For partial home reversion, you are only selling a share or a percentage of your property. You can still sell your house in the future, but a percentage will be claimed by the companies or lenders. 

Costs Associated with Home Reversion

Although home reversion would allow you to live rent-free in your home until death, you would still have to pay for a few things:

  • An arrangement fee for the company offering reversion
  • Legal costs
  • Maintenance and repairs (unlike renting, you have to shoulder these things as long as you are living on the property)
  • Home valuation or appraisal to determine the home’s full market value
  • Property taxes

Some of the major benefits are the money you’ll receive, tax benefits, being rent-free until death, and no moving stress.

Meanwhile, the major drawback is that should you choose to sell, you won’t get the whole sales proceeds or your heirs would have nothing to inherit if you opt for full home reversion.

Do You Need the Help of Real Estate Agents in Home Reversions?

You may not require a real estate agent when engaging in home reversion, as you’re not selling the entire property, just a portion of it. There won’t be any need for listings or retail buyers.

Usually, you’ll communicate directly with home reversion firms or lenders. If you’re unsure about dealing with them independently, the most suitable individual to seek guidance from would be a real estate attorney, rather than an agent.

Even with great listing photos and a well-staged home, getting multiple offers and finding a retail buyer who would lease the house back to you is difficult.

Most potential buyers on the MLS search online for houses that they can move into and not properties they can lease to tenants. Your best bet in selling your house if you want to stay in it after closing is a cash buyer or real estate investor.

Renting from a Cash Buyer

Investors or cash buyers buy properties, whether occupied or vacant, with cash, then rent them out for income. They find tenants to occupy the property until its value goes up, and they can sell it.

These buyers, also known as “landlords,” may offer a sale-leaseback or long-term leaseback agreement, saving time on finding tenants and doing repairs.

Cash buyers buy houses as-is, so no need for repairs. Plus, they close quickly, so you’ll have the cash in your bank in as little as seven days.

renting the house in California

Sale-Leaseback Process

Typically, here’s how a sale-leaseback or long term lease back is processed with a cash buyer or investor:

  • The seller and the investor agree on the sales price and closing date.
  • The seller and the buyer agree on the lease terms, including length and monthly rent.
  • The home sale contract, as well as the lease agreement, are executed.
  • The sale closes and the seller receives the money. The ownership of the house is transferred to the investor.
  • The original owner of the house settles a security deposit payment and stays in the house as a tenant.
Sale-Leaseback Process California

A homeowner’s emotional connection to their property is a big reason why they may want to stay there even after selling. They often work out a deal with the buyer to keep living there after the sale, either for a short or long period (known as a sale-leaseback).
If you’re one of these homeowners thinking about selling your house and staying put, your best option is to sell to a cash buyer or real estate investor. These individuals will pay you upfront and then lease the house back to you!
When you’re ready to sell, contact us at JiT Home Buyers. Many of our local cash buyers are actively seeking sale-leaseback deals and can assist you.
Fill out our form below or call us at (510) 473-5885 to learn more about selling your home and living it after.

California Resources

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We Buy Houses AS-IS In California

We are a local real estate investment company in California that buys houses in any condition. We also buy mobile homes and condos in any condition. You can sell your house fast for cash regardless of the condition.

Our service area includes homes in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento and throughout California. Our goal is to serve homeowners with a simple solution when selling there house fast.

You can start the process to sell your house fast by calling us or filling in the online form. We will respond back to you the same day and present you with a fair cash offer for your house. If you accept our cash offer for your home, you can schedule a closing date and get cash for your house.

The Easiest Way To Sell Your House Fast In California

You’re in the driver’s seat when you accept our cash offer for your house. We make the process simple, fast, and easy to follow when working with us. You have no obligation to accept our cash offer for your home when contacting us for a fair cash offer for your home. No matter the reason you want to sell your house, we want to buy your home as is. Remember that you get many benefits that include no real estate agent commissions, no cleaning, no improvements, and no stress. Our cash offer for your as-is house assures you of fast cash payment at closing with a reputable Title company. You can count on our company to give you a fair cash offer for your home! If you’re still thinking, “I need to sell my house fast”, calling us could be your best decision all day. 🙂

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Author: Saini

My name is Saini, and I founded the JiT Home Buyers team with years of experience in the real estate industry. I have assisted numerous sellers in selling their homes quickly, “AS-IS”, and for a fair price.

He’s been featured in multiple publications including Yahoo Finance, GoBankingRates, LegalZoom, The Mortgage Report, Apartment Therapy, US News and World Report, and SuperMoney among others.

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