OWNING A HOME: Is Your Nomadic Lifestyle Standing in Your Way?
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
Summer is a time of travel. Have you ever thought about RENTING YOUR HOME WHILE YOU ARE GONE? I know many people who hire a house-sitter for protection but that is money out of pocket instead of… well money in pocket (the much more preferably of the two if you ask me…).
There are many options you can take if you decide you are comfortable renting your house out. If you have ever seen The Holiday, you know there is the option of swapping homes with someone in a whole new area. This is a direct exchange of location with one other person who wants to get out and treat themselves to some variety.
The other option is to ‘wing-it.’ By wing-it I mean find an agent or property management firm you trust. Email/direct depositing/and the legal language of a lease agreement is all you need. If you plan on being gone for an extended amount of time, expect emergencies to happen and have the conversation of what to do with your trusty agency prior to leaving.
When you interview property managers, you should be looking at a few specific things:
Does the person have adequate experience in property management and looking after similar types of properties? Only hire a registered real estate sales representative who works under the supervision of a licensed real estate agent.
Does the person have knowledge of the suburb, neighborhood or area where your property is located?
Are you satisfied with the person’s approach to property management, how she presents herself and how she deals with people?
Are the agency’s fees competitive and what value do you get for your money? Most agents charge a percentage of the rental income plus one or two weeks rent as a ‘letting fee’ when they find you a new tenant. You will also be charged a fee for other services as required, such as advertising costs, inventory reports if your house is furnished, property inspection reports, lease renewal fees, court costs and usually a monthly administration fee. Don’t judge an agent only on price because as the old adage says: you usually get what you pay for.
Is the agent comfortable and happy dealing with most things over email and will she keep you informed while you are overseas? Most agents are fine with this arrangement but it’s worth it to mention this fact during your meeting.
In return, a good agent will be able to handle and advise you on maintaining the property, how much the rent should be, advertise for new tenants, tenant selection, bond/deposit administration, collecting the rent, inventories, inspections, paying bills, court attendance, disputes and any other matters related to the property.
This will give you an income property that allows you peace of mind and extra cash flow while you are gone. If you have not bought a home for the sole fact that you are a wanderer, think of this too. Having an anchor does not mean it needs to be YOUR anchor. It can be your home when you need it and it can be your investment when you don’t.
Summer is a time of exploration and vacationing. Get out there and do not let anything hold you back.
Happy Fourth of July