Should You Sell Your Home or Rent it Out?

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Should You Sell Your Home or Rent it Out?

The decision to sell your current home or rent it out when purchasing a new property is a significant financial and lifestyle choice. It requires careful consideration of various factors, including your financial situation, long-term goals, and the real estate market conditions. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of both options, along with important factors to consider when making this crucial decision.

Selling Your Current Home

Selling your current home when buying a new property has its advantages and drawbacks. Let’s delve into both aspects to help you make an informed decision.

Pros of Selling Your Current Home:

  • Immediate Capital: One of the primary benefits of selling your current home is the immediate influx of capital. This money can be used as a down payment for your new property, potentially reducing the need for a large mortgage and the associated interest costs. Keep in mind, this pro is only applicable if you have equity in the home. There are occasions when sellers must bring money to closing to pay off final costs, which can be a major factor when deciding if you are able to sell. 
  • Simplified Finances: Selling your current home eliminates the need to manage two sets of finances—your current mortgage and a new one. This simplifies your financial situation and reduces the risk of defaulting on either property.
  • No Landlord Responsibilities: When you sell your home, you are free from the responsibilities of being a landlord. You won’t have to worry about property management, maintenance, or dealing with tenant-related issues.
  • Potential Tax Benefits: In some cases, you may be eligible for tax benefits when selling your primary residence. Consult with a tax professional to determine your eligibility for capital gains tax exemptions.

Cons of Selling Your Current Home:

  • Emotional Attachment: Parting with your current home can be emotionally challenging, especially if you have created memories and attachments to the property.
  • Transaction Costs: Selling a home involves transaction costs, such as real estate agent commissions, closing costs, and potential capital gains taxes if you profit from the sale.
  • Market Timing: The real estate market is subject to fluctuations, and selling your home at the wrong time could result in a lower sale price. Timing the market can be unpredictable.
  • Limited Investment Opportunity: If your current home is in a desirable location and has appreciated in value, selling it means missing out on potential long-term investment gains.

Renting Out Your Current Home

Renting out your current home while purchasing a new property is another viable option. Here are the pros and cons to consider.

Pros of Renting Out:

  • Rental Income: By renting out your current home, you can generate a steady stream of rental income that can help cover mortgage payments, property taxes, and maintenance costs. Don’t forget to take into consider what your total income from the property needs to be in order to maintain your finances. If what you need is over market value for the rentals in your area, the property may sit vacate for some time, which can be costly in monthly carrying costs. 
  • Long-Term Investment: Renting allows you to retain ownership of the property, potentially benefiting from long-term appreciation and tax advantages like depreciation deductions.
  • Flexibility: Renting provides flexibility, allowing you to revisit the decision to sell or continue renting based on changing financial and personal circumstances.
  • Property Appreciation: While renting, your property may continue to appreciate, potentially leading to a more significant return on investment when you decide to sell in the future.

Cons of Renting Out Your Current Home:

  • Landlord Responsibilities: Being a landlord involves various responsibilities, such as tenant screening, property maintenance, and addressing tenant issues. These duties can be time-consuming and stressful.
  • Vacancy and Income Risk: There is always a risk of rental vacancies and income fluctuations due to periods without tenants or late payments. This can affect your ability to cover expenses on the property.
  • Legal and Liability Concerns: Renting out a property comes with legal obligations, such as adhering to landlord-tenant laws and maintaining the property to certain standards. Legal disputes and liability issues can arise.
  • Capital Tied Up: Your equity may be tied up in your current property, limiting your ability to use the funds for other investment opportunities or emergencies.

Key Considerations for Both Options

When deciding whether to sell or rent out your current home, consider the following factors:

  • Financial Situation: Assess your current financial situation, including your ability to secure a new mortgage, handle property management costs, and the impact of rental income on your cash flow.
  • Market Conditions: Research the real estate market in your area to understand current trends and potential future outlooks. A strong seller’s market may make selling more appealing, while a stable rental market may support renting.
  • Long-Term Goals: Determine your long-term goals for your real estate investments. Are you looking for immediate liquidity, or do you want to build a portfolio of rental properties for future financial security?
  • Property Management: Evaluate your willingness and ability to manage a rental property. If you’re not prepared to handle the responsibilities, hiring a property management company may be necessary.
  • Tax Implications: Consult with a tax professional to understand the tax implications of both selling and renting out your property. Tax laws can vary by location and change over time.
  • Rental Market Analysis: Research the rental market in your area to assess demand, rental rates, and potential vacancies. A strong rental market can make renting out your property more attractive.
  • Financing Options: Explore financing options for your new property purchase, including the down payment required, interest rates, and loan terms. Speak with a mortgage broker to find the best solution for your situation.

The decision to sell your current home or rent it out when purchasing a new property is a complex one that depends on your unique circumstances and goals. Each option has its pros and cons, and the right choice for you will be influenced by factors like your financial situation, market conditions, and personal preferences.

Before making a decision, take the time to thoroughly research and analyze your options. Consult with real estate professionals, financial advisors, and tax experts to ensure you make an informed choice that aligns with your long-term objectives. Ultimately, whether you choose to sell or rent out your current home, your decision should be a well-considered step toward achieving your financial and lifestyle goals in the world of real estate.

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