The rental market in Colorado Springs, depending on what figures you believe, is running somewhere between a 7 to 10% vacancy rate. While this is down from the over 10 to 14% vacancy rates we were seeing a couple years back, there is a good deal of rental competition out there that has been keeping rental rates lower.
Turning a home into a rental investment property can be a very good option for some home owners, however, how well renting a property works out for an owner/landlord depends on many of the same variables that selling a property does.
Price, or rental rate, for the location, condition and amenities must be in line with the current market or you will end up in the same position you are in now with an empty rental property instead of a property that is not selling.
So, the big question you should ask is: since properties have still been selling for the last year (almost 10,000 properties sold in the Pikes Peak Region in 2007 and already well over 2000 have sold this year), and the average time on the market in the Briargate area is about 90 Days, why didn't the property sell in a year?
We are in is a pretty stable buyer's market, but even during a seller's market, a property is only worth what a buyer or renter is willing to pay for it, and price fixes most issues. So pricing the property right for the current market with regard to the location, condition and amenities is critical to success as a seller or a landlord. This is where the advice and expertiese of a full time professional Realtor who knows and studies the market becomes important.
Another key component is professional marketing by a full time professional Realtor. Properties that are marketed for sale by a Realtor sell much faster, much more successfully (about 95% more) and for more money (16% more $$ according to a recent national survey) than properties where that were for sale by owner.
The vacancy rates are dropping which means rental rates go up. I think we'll continue to see vacancy rates drop because people who could buy a house a year ago can't today due to changing lending regulations. Plus, the entire foreclosure epidemic is adding to more demand for rentals.
Whether or not you should rent depends on your specific situation. If it will be a first time landlord I'd advise you to get as much information in regards to being a landlord. I personally would rather rent out a property, versus taking a loss due to a buyers market. Of course what matters is can you make the mortgage payment with the rent included? Are you financially prepared for those 2am phone calls with a backed up toilet, and on and on it will go. A good idea would be to have a 'financial plan' in terms of turning this property into a rental. You will have a whole new possible issue with tax liability.
You'll want to ensure you seek legal counsel in regards to a lease and liability issues. Plus, find out what the tax consequences will be.
Don't let what I say scare you. Being a landlord isn't a bad thing if you go into it with eyes wide open and are prepared. Basically, you will be starting a new business and want to get as knowledgeable as possible about the business.
Also, the issues buyers have been having with your property's proximity to Acadmey & Briargate will also be a concern for renters. My advice would be to improve your listing price if you can. If not, you may want to try and rent it until our local real estate market really apprecaites enough to where you can afford to sell.