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Pros And Cons Of Renting v.s. Selling Your Home

Apr 19, 2008
At some point in your experience as a property owner you may find yourself in a position where you are undecided as to whether you should sell or rent. There are a lot of pros and cons for both choices, and most of them depend on several factors such as the current market conditions, if you need the money immediately or can work with a long term income and how much responsibility you are willing to undertake for the property.

If you simply have a home or condo that you aren't currently using but would like to keep ownership of, then renting or leasing may be the best option for you. By renting you will be able to gain some income from the property, hopefully enough to pay taxes, general upkeep and leave something left over. You will be able to set the length of occupancy for the renter by specifically setting the lease term anywhere from a month to a year. This amount of time should depend on when you believe you might want possession of the property again for yourself.

When setting lease or rental terms you should consider the fact that a long term renter is sometimes more stable than someone who only wants someplace to stay for a month. True, you might get locked into a situation where with a twelve month lease a renter might default on monthly rent and you would have to get a legal eviction notice, which usually takes 30 days or more. But with a short term renter there is the added problem of continually finding someone to occupy the property and it increases your chance of having someone stay there who doesn't care what the place looks like a month later.

If you rent, you also have the legal responsibility of making any necessary repairs to the home, any appliances installed, or outdoor maintenance. Taxes still have to be paid by you, and unless you transfer the utilities to the renter's name then you will have to include them in the price of the rent.

You can always hire a property manager to interview potential tenants, take care of collecting the rent, keep the property maintained and generally look after things for you. But even with the best of property managers, you should still check on the house or condo yourself on a regular basis. This may be difficult if the property is in another town or state, but that is a consideration all on its own.

Another consideration is the age of the condo or home. An older home not in top condition will probably require a good amount of maintenance in years to come. Are you willing to invest that amount of money, and is it a good investment that will have a return? As a general rule, real estate normally appreciates in value unless the area is having economical problems, increased crime rate, or a decrease in population. If any of those situations apply, it might not be in your best interests to hang onto the property. Renting in any of those cases may just prolong your problems and cause you to suffer a loss financially.

If you decide to sell, you will most likely have to pay a capital gains tax if the profit is fairly large. There will also probably local or state taxes imposed as well. That immediate lump sum of money may be very attractive and also necessary to you financially though. And it could be that the perfect buyer just came along, the local real estate market is high or demand for housing in your neighborhood is at a peak. You can do some research on the various suburbs around Chicago and gage what the market is like by visiting one of the better informational sites like the North Shore Insider that has up to date information on http://www.northshoreinsider.com/north-shore-chicago-real-estate.html

Selling will get you more money faster, but if your property sits on the market for a long time you will be without any income from it until it sells. With renting or leasing you may not make nearly as much, but it is a steady income provided that you can find responsible, reliable renters.

In the end, when you are trying to decide between renting or selling your condo or home you have to look at the long term picture, both financially and emotionally because either choice is an investment in both.
About the Author
You can find more real estate related content from Paula Cherrist by visiting the Chicago Condos section on North Shore Insider.
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