Whether you’re relocating or ready to right size, deciding if it’s better to sell or rent your home can be a big decision. Understanding what your options are and the potential risks of each are important in making the decision that is right for you. So where to start:
1. What is your home worth?
Your home is likely one of your most valuable assets and determining the market value of your home is a great place to start. Zestimates and online estimation tools can be a place to start, however, they can be off by on average of 20%. With just an address, myself or another Realtor can generate a market analysis that compares properties that have sold or are active in your area to provide you with a current estimated value for your home. Request a Market Analysis
2. How much rent can you get?
Rent can vary greatly in a market. Research what homes are renting for in your area. Understand that prices can vary based on location, amenities, and condition of your home. Spend some time looking at the popular networks where properties are listed. Craigslist and Zillow could be good places to start. Try online estimation sites like www.rentometer.com to get some general information about rentals near you.
3. What’s your expense footprint?
The mortgage is typically the biggest percentage of the expenses that go into the home but smaller things need to be considered. Taxes, homeowners association fees, and maintenance can add up and need to be planned for. A reserve fund that will cover the required home maintenance should be implemented for things like replacing the roof or the hot water heater when their time is up.
4. Will your property cash-flow?
Understanding if your home will capture enough income to cover the expenses is likely to be the most important decision point in buying or selling. Will renting provide enough income to cover the mortgage, taxes, maintenance, management fees (more on this later,) repairs, and legal considerations. Create a spreadsheet, or try one of the online calculators which will help you understand what you can expect.
5. Property management or self-managed?
Determine if you have the time and are willing to put in the effort in managing your home as a rental. Are you willing to take a call at 2 am on a leaking faucet or would you rather pay someone else to do it? Property management can cut into your bottom line but could save your sanity when it comes to working with your tenants. Management fees can vary and may run about 10% of the rental rate of your home.
6. Interested in renter rights and landlord-tenant laws?
Every state and many cities have their own set of laws and regulations regarding the tenant-landlord relationship. It’s important to fully understand your local laws and renter rights. This is where a property management company will be a big asset. They know the local ordinances and have a system in place which ensures that the rights of the tenant and landlord are maintained. Violations in the tenant-landlord relationship tend to favor the tenant and be expensive if violated.
7. Do you know the tax potentials of each option?
Taxes. A topic that most people avoid until they can’t any longer and one that can have a major impact on a decision to rent or buy. If your home has had a significant increase in value since you purchased it, you can avoid paying capital gains on $250,000 (or $500,000 if married filing jointly,) if you’ve lived in the home 2 of the last 5 years. On the flipside there is the potential to write off expenses on a rental. If renting your home is a potential I recommend talking to a CPA who specializes in Real Estate. They can better explain the ins and outs of how each option could impact your future taxes.
It’s a big decision.
Wether you plan to sell or rent, take the time to do your homework. Understanding what each option can mean for your investment and life goals is an important step in making the right decision. Reach out to professionals to get accurate and timely information.
Remodels Don’t Always Add Value
Many people believe that any work that they do to a house will add value. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. Knowing what can add value and what won’t can help you in making an informed decision about how much to spend or if the project is even worth while. Fortunately there is a resource for data about which investments tend to be of higher value than others.
Check the data
Remodeling.com posts a cost-vs-value report which outlines the average recovered cost percentage for remodel jobs. Be sure to take a look before your next big project.
Do you know what's happening in the housing market?
Right now people on all sides of the housing market are researching and looking for information about what the real estate market is doing. Buyers are looking to see if they can afford their first home, or are looking to upgrade their current home. Curious sellers are interested in what their home is worth or are looking to cash in on the hot market. Investors always have their thumb on the pulse of the market. Taking steps to understand the different factors which effect the market in your neighborhood is essential when you hope to make a move in real estate.
So how do you keep track of the market?
There are hundreds, even thousands, of places which provide general information about the housing and real estate markets. Most of which provide general overviews of geographical regions such as the "Seattle Area" or "Oregon Market" and don't provide details about what the local market is doing.
Neighborhood News is a free monthly email which is customized to your zipcode. It provides real market data about the homes in your area. In the email, you'll get the bullet points about the month's stats and change from last month. Dive in deeper, by clicking on "View Full Report" in the email to get an interactive page which allows you to narrow down to your street and see the activity within blocks of your home.
- This great resource is valuable for anyone wanting to keep current on their market.
- Provides an overview of recent transactions and homes just listed.
- View full report to get details about homes in your neighborhood
For those wanting details about what your house is worth, request a CMA. A CMA or competitive market analysis is a document that a real estate broker can put together which summarizes comparable properties that are currently on the market, are pending, or have been sold. With the data from the comparable properties, your agent is able to create a range which your home is valued. Great CMA's are a powerful tool in helping you to understand what your home's current value is based on the market. Each one is custom tailored to a single property and takes many factors into consideration from square footage, location, style of the home, lot size and type, and much more. Many agents will provide these free of charge and are an extremely valuable tool.
- CMA's are customized to your property.
- Provides an estimated value for your home relative to comparable properties and the market.
- Most agents are happy to provide a CMA free of charge.
School district maps can be confusing and seem to shift all too often.
Portland public schools has a resource to help you find the schools for your neighborhood.
Once you've found your schools do you know how they rate? Here is a resource which scores the schools in the Portland area.