should I sell or rent my townhouse? We're moving to Seattle (job change) and with the housing market the way

Asked by Leigh Rogers, Long Beach, CA Thu Feb 7, 2008

it is, I don't know what would be better.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Thu Feb 7, 2008
You know, the same thing happened to me. We could not sell our home in Portland when we had to move to LA, best thing we ever did was keep it as a rental.
Talk with a CPA regarding the tax consequences. Run the numbers. IMHO you should not sell if you don't have to. Also, check with the HOA that you can rent it out.
Warning, some CPAs know tax law, but don't know anything about real estate investing, so you might need to do some research. I'd talk with a Long Beach Realtor and ask them to estimate
1. Probable sales price
2. Estimate of seller's net proceeds
3. Market rent value
4. Talk with a local property management company, usually 5% or so of the rent for a fee.

Good luck. If you can swing it only sell as a last resort.
1 vote
Gene Scott, Agent, Long Beach, CA
Sat Nov 6, 2010
This is the way I tell my clients to look at these decisions.
1. Do you want to be a landlord? If not sell.
2. If you do want to be a landlord, do you want to be a landlord here?
This is the tricky part - if you would prefer to be a landlord in Seattle, what can you buy in Seattle from the proceeds of selling your townhouse here? You might find that you can buy a property at less cost in Seattle that actually will rent for more. Since you do not have to live in it, you can now be more concerned about the economics of your rental property options.

Good luck with your decision.

Gene Scott
0 votes
Barbara Robb…, , Long Beach, CA
Thu Feb 14, 2008
Selling or renting your townhome should be based on your long term goals. I recently had a listing in Downtown Long Beach, a 1904 Victorian home that my clients and I felt was priced to sell. Our obstacle was there was no garage and that anyone buying it had to put their car on the street or pay for parking only a few blocks away. We had offers but not to my clients satisfaction. They were not in a position of "must" sell.
I don't feel it is easy to property management when you leave too far away and they live on the East Coast now. However, they felt after much discussion this was the way to go for them. I handled the rental portion and advertised on Craig's list, which I highly recommend if you rent yourself . I had 45 people view the home in 3 days, took 12 applications, and had 3 that had excellent references and credit. We discussed our choices and selected a tenant and truely feel they will take care of the property. I suggested to my clients that in our rental agreement we state that if a repair is needed, the tenant will inform the landlord and if the repair is $75 or less that the tenant has permission to have the repair done, deduct it from the next month's rent as long as a receipt is provided to the landlord and an approved vendor we provide is used. I provide a list of vendors I use for repairs when the landlord or tenant need it.

It is importantto ask property management or rental companies should you decide to rent to see how they conduct their business and what the fees are. Also some management companies charge a fee everytime the lease is renewed. There are a different fees when you just have the place rented and you self-manage v ersus having them rent and manage it for you. Most management companies will expect to get a fee if the tenant in the future should want to buy the property. That happens too.

My clients too had a job change and for them this was the best scenario, But they did try to sell it first since they were concerned about being so far away and renting the home. So far it is working out well for everyone.

If I can be of any other help, please feel to contact me at 714-296-7270 or email me at

Good luck with your decision,

Barbara Robbins-Olexa, Broker,e-Pro(R)
0 votes
Karen Miller, Agent, Long Beach, CA
Thu Feb 7, 2008
Hi Leigh,

You've already gotten some good answers. Have you had a Realtor do a market analysis for you? You may want to consider that the costs of selling will be 7 to 8% of your sale price. Hopefully, the current sale price plus costs are less than you owe on your townhouse. If not, you're definitely better off renting it out. If you go this route, I would also recommend using a property management company since you will be so far away.

Do you have enough cash for a 10% (that's most lender's minimum these days) down payment on your new home in Seattle. If not, you should consider selling.

Does this job change offer a relocation package? Many companies offer relocation packages which include the company paying all your closing costs. If this is the case, you would be saving a tremendous amount of money on the sale, which you would have to pay down the road when if you elect to hold on to the property.

Probobly the most important question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you want to be an out of area real estate investor?

Yes, it is a buyers market. People that have owned their homes for less than 3 years are having difficulty. If you have equity & are willing to price your home competitively, you should be okay selling.

I hope I've helped clarify some issues. Of course, only you can decide what is the right course for you.

If you are interested, let me say that I specialize in & live in Long Beach & would love to sit down with you
and discuss your options further.

Best of luck,

Karen Miller
0 votes
CMLHoldings, Other Pro, Streamwood, IL
Thu Feb 7, 2008
First be careful of all these Realtors. Most, if not all of them are into Property management. The fees vary to manage properties but they all want a months worth, or close to it, of rent to find a renter for you. Then they will want between 10-20% of your monthly rent as a maintenance fee.

I have 2 rentals in CA ( San Diego) and I live in Chicago. Yes, long distance landlording is not rcommended for everyone but if you do the following you should not have a problem pulling it off.

-Find a handyman service that you can count on to do repairs. Do not depend on friends or family.
Realtors tend to favor repair people they know too well sometimes. I've seen pleanty conflict of interest in the past when I did home repairs.
-Get yourself set up to do credit checks through one of many Internet credit verification companies out there
-Find a Realtor that will be willing to show your property for you. I have one that will do it for $500. All she does is open the door to show the properties. I do the rest.
-Once you have a tenant ( I advertise on Craigslist and have very good luck) arrange to have them do online banking and transfer the rent monies into your account. Don't bank where the Tenant does, no problem, open an account there.

I have 5 rentals and they all do online banking. It's easier for them and I don't have to wait for the "Check in the mail" routine.

The most important thing that you need to understand is once those keys are handed over to a renter then that house is no longer your home, it's an investment property now.

With so many foreclosures out there means one thing....They need a place to rent.

Good luck!
0 votes
Julia Huntsm…, Agent, Long Beach, CA
Thu Feb 7, 2008
Hello Leigh, As a Long Beach Realtor, I know there are a lot of properties on the market in certain areas, which is a supply side for the buyers. But, if you price it well, I mean aggressively well, and prepare it for sale to compete extremely well over other properties, you are going to have a much better chance. Even in a slower market, there is still room for an attractive property with "curb appeal". A lot depends on your immediate area market activity, your desire to be a landlord, or not, the price range of your townhome, and the availability of financing for the type of buyer you're likely to attract. With an upcoming adjust in the conforming loan amount, there will probably be an increase in loan activity.
For further information just contact me at 562-896-2609.
Web Reference:
0 votes
L.A. Real Es…, , Los Angeles, CA
Thu Feb 7, 2008
Hi Leigh,
I have to agree with Kevin and Jovana,...this is a fantastic market....for buyers! If you can afford to maintain the property and rent it ourt while you move away, that would be the ideal situtation, until the seller's market rises. Selling now is not horrible, but it wont get you the value you are probably looking for. If you do decided to rent, our company also does appraisals, property managment and financial analysis for people just like you and your situation. We could rent your property for you and manage while you are away. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have regarding renting or selling. Good luck to you!

LA Real Estate Group
0 votes
Kevin Keyser, Agent, West Hollywood, CA
Thu Feb 7, 2008
Hi Leigh,
A lot of agents will probably jump all over me, but I think the market is fantastic right now... for buyers! For sellers... not so good. If you don't mind being a long-distance landlord, which I can tell you from personal experience is no fun, then you should rent it out. But of course you need to make sure that you can rent it for enough to cover all your costs associate with the home, including mortgage, taxes, insurance, homeowner's dues, etc. If you decide you want to sell, you just need to make sure you price it very well... ideally below your nearest competition. If you need a great agent in Long Beach I would be happy to refer you to one!
Web Reference:
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more