Featured News 2013 Unsure About Selling the House? Consider Renting It Out

Unsure About Selling the House? Consider Renting It Out

If you are thinking about selling residential property, you may first want to mull over the possibility of renting the house out. As a landlord, you would be your own boss, and many people also find that keeping the property can provide more in benefits and income than simply selling the place. Here are some things to think through if you are in a position to rent out a residential property.

One of the first things you will need to assess is whether you could in fact earn additional income through keeping a rental. You can scour property listings in your area, perhaps contact local landlords, or even visit the properties to get an idea of what rent in your neighborhood is going for. Once you have a ballpark figure, you will then need to account for how many months out of the year you would get this income. The national average for the vacancy rate is 10 percent, but there is a big difference in vacancy in urban areas and in rural locales. Getting an idea of the vacancy rate for your area may require the help of a reference librarian or real estate broker.

Once you have looked at potential rental income, you will then have to determine how much of that income is going to go toward paying for the place. This means calculating property taxes, any mortgage, insurance, utility bills, repairs, maintenance, and perhaps what it will cost to hire a property manager (about 8 or 10 percent of the income). You will have to be realistic about this, especially if a house is old, as this could easily require extensive repairs.

Once you have all this, you can detract expenditures and vacancy rates from what you think you could get in income, and then this would be your actual profit. What number did you come up with? If you calculated $1,200 to $2,400 annually, or $100 to $200 of rent a month, then most landlords would consider this a good profit margin. If it appears that ends would barely meet, or that you would come out with a loss, it could still be a value to rent out your property. This could be true if it is worth biding your time before you sell the house, for example.

You might also want to consider the tax benefits of renting a property out. This can include deducting interest, that is, deducting interest on a mortgage or credit card that went toward rental expenses. Repairs, anything from getting leaks fixed to replacing windows, can be deducted from that year's taxes. If you maintain really good records, you may be able to include the costs of travelling for a rental property in your deductions. You will have to very precise with this deduction, however, as others have tried to abuse this deduction before, putting the IRS on high alert. Also, if you meet the right conditions, you could include the costs of a home office in your deductions. And if you end up with a net loss from your rental property, you might be able to deduct this from your other income.

Then of course, there is the freedom, and responsibility, of becoming your own boss. This can be a liberating direction to go, and you do not want to be weighed down with the hassle of contracts and leases without expert help on your side. If you think you may want to draw up a lease for your property, then you could benefit from consulting with a real estate attorney. Act today to find a legal expert to help you get started on this new venture.

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