We are trying to sell our house, is it better to rent until the market improves?

Asked by Julie, Wallingford, VT Thu May 29, 2008

Our house is paid for but we would like to move. Our house has been fsbo for about 3 weeks with a bit of interest , but no offers. We are afraid of the nightmares that come with being a landlord, but are considering renting. Any suggestions?

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Dagyne Canney, Agent, Rutland, VT
Thu May 29, 2008
Julie - good question, since you own your home outright your carrying costs are less due to no monthly mortgage. Appreciation in Rutland County was 0 % for 2007 and it appears to be following a similar trend so far for 2008. Prices in our area are not forcasted to decline like in much of the country, but the best you could probably expect for annual appreciation for you property is the historical average of 3% per year for the next few years starting in last 2009 or early 2010. If you can sell the property, then you could reinvest the money in something with perhaps a better return, especially if it offsets the risk and problems that can occur with a tenant. The Rutland Area market is stable and normal - we are lucky. Inventory levels are higher than in the boom of 2 years ago but properly priced homes ARE selling - I know the market well here and would gladly give you a good picture of the Wallingford market - it is a desirable area with good schools - call me anytime at 802-236-4570
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Hank Hennessy, , Arcadia, CA
Thu May 29, 2008
It sounds to me like you are not thrilled of the prospect of becoming a landlord. Furthermore, it seems to me like you want to sell because you took the initiative to try selling your home yourself.

Lower the price and you will attract more buyers. In today's real estate market, with today's internet technology, a buyer will look online and if they see that your home is priced more than the neighbors asking price, you will significantly lower your chances of selling your home.

Price your home according to market and not what you feel it is worth. It will sell if you are ready for it to be sold.
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Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Thu May 29, 2008
One of the common misconceptions is that "we've got plenty of time". Time to try it on our own, time to try to rent it out, etc.
Do you remember when the mortgage meltdown occured in September of last year? No one was anticipating that happeningm it just did. And the effects have been staggering.

So my advice to you is this:
Talk with a Realtor that knows your property, your personal situation, and the market. Ask them questions and get enough information so you can figure out your options. One of the challenges with Trulia is that people post questions that truthfully we really cannot answer because we don't know the three things I mentioned above.

Is your market going up, down, or sideways? I just had a conversation with a client yesterday and she wants to sell and move out of state. I showed her the market statistics and she replied that she is considering "waiting until next year when the market improves". I explained that based on the market trends, which are downward, did she really believe tha the market was going to improve? So in the end I asked her this question: if you knew beyond reasonable doubt that to sell your home for the highest price meant listing it now, or waiting perhaps four or five years, what would you do? She replied she'd sell now.

You could be in the same boat. Because you don't know exactly what the market is doing right now, you do not have the facts to make an informed decision.

Good luck!
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Jim Bellville, Agent, Brattleboro, VT
Thu May 29, 2008

It really depends on a few factors:
1. What are the costs of owning your current home (taxes, mortgage, insurance and such)?
2. How long are you willing to act as a landlord? The current market time for your area is running roughly 5 months or more. I would suspect more than that if you included the refreshed MLS listing numbers.
3. Are you staying in the area or are you going to be doing this long distance?
4. What type of renter are you going to attempt to secure? Are you looking for a long term month to month or a seasonal/weekly rental?
5. Are you willing to comply with all of the requirements of being a landlord? (Smoke detectors, lead paint maintenance procedures, possible fire marshal inspections, does your town require the property to be registered?)
6. How much are you willing to spend on getting and keeping renters?

Despite the doom and gloom coming from the national media, Vermont home prices have been remarkably steady and have even increased in some areas. In my area, there have been more home sales over a million dollars in the last few months than in the previous 3 years.

Bottom line:
How long are you willing to wait?
How much is it going to cost you?
What can you realistically expect to gain by waiting?
Is it worth it to you?

Good luck!
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Bay Jackson, , Shreveport, LA
Thu May 29, 2008
If your house is paid for, then you really do not have to sell in order to buy. You could go ahead and move and just wait for the market to improve before you sell. Or you could keep it FSBO or list it and have the advantage of waiting for the right offer to come in.
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Adam Hergenr…, Agent, South Burlington, VT
Thu May 29, 2008
It depends on the price range of your home. Being a landlord is sometimes frustrating. However, if you can make the numbers work it may be worth it.
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