Monday, July 16, 2012

The House: Rent or Sell?

I lied.

Back in April I wrote a post about how we finally made a huge decision and that it was so exciting, blah blah blah.  I said that we decided to sell our house.

Well, thinking, researching, and more discussing brought us to a new decision.  We are keeping our house and renting it out.  Based on financial talks with family and friends, second thoughts about what renting meant for us, and the benefits of keeping our house as an investment rather than a place we are definitely moving back into, changed our viewpoint on the whole thing.

We had several issues that are now going to be addressed:
  1. We didn't want to burden our family with taking care of the house while we are gone and having to deal with any renting issues that come up. So, we are currently in talks with a property management company who does everything from finding a tenant and collecting rent checks to resolving any problems that may arise.
  2. We don't know exactly how long we are going to be gone or even if we are going to want to live in this same location when we return.  By renting, we are treating this house as an investment rather than a definite place to settle down again, leaving us open to opportunities that may arise. 
  3. We didn't want to rent "our house" to just anyone because it is "our house."  We've changed our perspective.  This house may be "our house" again in the future or it may not.  It might be an investment property while we are gone and continue to be that when we return.  We may want to sell it and never live in it again. 
Some additional benefits:
  • For tax purposes, we are able to right off heaps of expenses because this will be a rental property.  (Before this decision, we were afraid we would owe money because we were selling so soon after buying and not buying another house.)
  • We should be able to rent our house for enough money that we will, at the very least, break even on our mortgage, taxes, etc, while we are gone.  There is even a chance that we will be able to make a small amount of money while we are away.
  • We are not married to our house.  However, if we come home and want to move back in and make this house "our house" again, we can.
  • Even though we are keeping our house, we won't feel it as a burden or weight on us while we are gone because no one that we love will be feeling it as a burden.
  • The investment that we've put money into over the last three years will remain our investment, and maybe, if we're lucky, it will continue to appreciate in value.
Regardless, after informing ourselves a bit more, discussing this with people we trust, and beginning the process of moving towards renting, I think we are in a healthy place for the present and the future.

Thoughts?  Opinions?  Expertise?

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