Sally Moser, Boulder, CO Certified Green Poins Realtor
Indian Peaks, Colorado

 

To Sell or to Rent discussion by Sally Moser

To Sell or To Rent?
By Sally Moser, Independent Broker, Silver Peak Realty

Are you a player in the following scenario? You own a condo or a small single-family home. You recently got married or your family is growing or you want more space. Low interest rates combined with a well-stocked inventory of properties in Boulder County have you thinking, “I should buy now, but what I am going to do with my existing home? Should I rent it or sell it?”

Indeed, that is the question that must be answered before you can proceed. Your financial situation may dictate the answer, but if you have the option of holding on to your existing property, here are some things that you should consider.

Renting Your Property

Advantages

  • Your property may accrue appreciation at market rates. This is perhaps the most compelling reason for people to hold on to their property. While the rate of appreciation in Boulder County has recently slowed, it still compares favorably with many other investments.
  • If you sell the property and you have lived in it two out of the past five years, you can still take the $250,000/$500,000 exclusion from paying capital gains. So it may be advantageous for you to rent it for at least two years before selling it.
  • If you rent the property for longer than three years and then sell it, you can defer capital gains tax with a 1031 exchange. This process involves buying another property with the proceeds from the sale of the original property.

Disadvantages

  • The real estate market may change in the interim, affecting value and salability of your house or condo. While the market has predictable cycles, the future is unpredictable. Anticipate changed conditions when you decide to sell.
  • You must deal with the management of tenants or pay a management company. Assess your tolerance for tenant complaints, late rent checks, repair requests, etc. The alternative is to hire a management company which will charge a leasing fee, plus a percentage of the monthly rent.
  • A negative cash flow may occur. Payments for repairs, maintenance, insurance, taxes, and the mortgage add up. What if the property is vacant for a few months? Can your finances handle it?
  • The sale of a home is more difficult if it’s tenant-occupied rather than owner-occupied. Tenants have little motivation to make the best possible presentation of your property to potential buyers and generally do not welcome frequent interruptions in their home.

Selling Your Property

Advantages

  • Assets are readily available for other investments or that round-the-world trip you’ve been promising yourself for years!
  • You are taking advantage of current market prices and conditions. As noted above, the future is unpredictable and by selling your property, you will lock in the appreciation that you’ve accrued over the years.
  • You don’t have to put any more money or time into the management and upkeep of the property. Many people don’t have the time or inclination to be landlords, and would rather devote their energy to family, work or hobbies.

Disadvantages

  • You will not accrue any more appreciation, but will need to seek out other investments.
  • Depending on the time of year and the price you are asking for your property, it may take a long time to sell. In the meantime, you are still responsible for upkeep, mortgage payments, etc., and may not have any rental income to offset these expenses.
  • Your property may not sell for the listed price. The hot tub and grape arbor that you installed at the cost of $10,000 may not increase the value of your home. Potential buyers may see your improvements as detriments rather than assets.
  • You need to deal with the inconvenience and stress of keeping property in showing condition while living in the home. And who likes to keep his or her room clean every day?

Only you can decide what’s right for you, and you need current information. Your Realtor can provide an update on the market as well as a comparative market analysis to help determine your property’s value. Ask him or her for a recommended listing price, how long you can expect your property to be on the market, and what improvements would make your house or condo more marketable. Also have the Realtor give you available listings for the type of property you are thinking of buying and an estimate of the rental market prices. Combine all this information with a little common sense and you will be ready to decide to sell or to rent.

Sally Moser is an Independent Broker, Silver Peak Realty. She can be reached at 303-829-3740
or E-mail: Sally@SallyMoser.com