Jennifer, Other/Just Looking in Philadelphia, PA

Should I leave my home empty for a couple of years?

Asked by Jennifer, Philadelphia, PA Thu May 23, 2013

I'm planning on moving from house to a rental place for a couple of years. My mortgage is pretty low and I have been planning on renting it out while I decided on long term plans. However, there are a lot of start up costs and presumably ongoing hassles associated with that, plus the rental income will likely adversely affect my children's college financial aid options without actually dramatically improving our financial situation. Are there any legal implications to just leaving it empty? Naturally, I'd continue to pay the mortgage and make frequent checks on the property.

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Dirk Parker, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Fri May 24, 2013
I am happy you made such a choice and listened to the opinions here . It makes the best sense and will still allow you to balance your income for tax/school purposes. If you have the opportunity please check out my blog again and to check in possibly to assist in finding an aappropriate rentor because, THAT WILL BE THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR ...FINDING A GOOD TENANT !!
Sorry for any misspellings. Typed with thumbs ...
0 votes
Jennifer, , Philadelphia, PA
Fri May 24, 2013
Thanks again for the answers. Decided to go ahead with the rental and using a property manager. Appreciate the responses.
0 votes
Philip J. Cu…, Agent, Feasterville, PA
Fri May 24, 2013
Please call me at 215-725-5700 X49 I need to ask you some question before I make any recommendations. If you notice all of the others are not sure and a lot of "I think" well I'm not thinking some questions that can effect the outcome of your decisions. I'm a firm believer that everyone has needs and no two are the same. So please call me I'll need to know: Where the home is, Where do you plan to live, what are your expenses now? Please consider if you do not rent or sell you monthly out expenses will increase. If you make the decision to work with a Realtor please allow me to interview for the job.

Philip J. Cunningham Sr.
V.I.P. Realty Corporation
7942 Bustleton Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19152
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0 votes
Sheri Curci, Agent, Newtown, PA
Fri May 24, 2013
The only rental start up costs I know of his having a renter's license which you can get through the City. Here is a link to the information:

The rental market in Philadelphia is really hot right now. You just need to be careful on selecting that right tenant. When signing a lease if you get to that point, I would recommend a month to month lease. This is just in case you need to start evictions on a tenant that would lose their job or not be paying their rent at some point.
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Dirk Parker, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Fri May 24, 2013
Happy Friday,
You have an interesting dilemma which has some clear options but just the fact that you were thinking in this vain shows your fowsrd thinking.
Ok, my people rent not just for the rental income but for tax purposes (I.e. financial aid and college ramifications). It may be possible to rent out the property for at or close to the total expenses of the property plus management fees. Meaning when tax time rolls around you net a ZERO on additional income and possibly negativr (considering expenses). This can lighten your burden and not adversely affect your tax situation. A rental management company can handle ALL the daily operations of the property and call you only when necessary.
You get:
1 the mortgage paid
2 utilities paid
3 management fees (10%) paid
4 you basically start from zero because you will be paying rent at your new residence.

Is this decision easy know, but it is much better to have bettee options.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions or check out my blog.
Good luck
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R. Eric Axel…, Agent, Sewell, NJ
Thu May 23, 2013
Hi Jennifer, I don't know what startup costs you are referring to with regards to renting a property. I can't think of any.

I understand your concern regarding financial aid.

There are no legal issues with leaving the house empty that I can think of,, although you may be violating something in your mortgage and insurance policy.

Your mortgage may have been contingent on you being an owner-occupant for x number of years; and your insurance may require it not remain vacant for longer than a couple months for damage/risk purposes.

Have you considered a caretaker? You can allow them to live there rent free in return for paying the utilities and keeping an eye on the house. Great for leaks, freezing pipes and theft aversion.

If you want to soak further or want to discuss how property management works, feel free to contact me.

Hope this helps and good luck to you!

Eric Axelson, Associate Broker
Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty
Web Reference:
0 votes
Thanks Eric, that's an option I never even considered! By start up costs, we really need the whole house painted (with teen daughters I have a bright red and and a dark purple bedroom!) the molding needs sanding and patching (cats!). My fridge is old, etc. etc. Lots of little things that seem to add up and of course we'll be paying a security deposit, movers, need some new furnishings associated with our own move. Then there's a leasing agent fee, property management fee...I have a chronic illness so all this is bit beyond handling on my own but it adds to the costs. I will definitely review my refi and insurance docs tomorrow. Appreciate the reply.
Flag Thu May 23, 2013
Ana Barlow, Agent, Philadadelphia, PA
Thu May 23, 2013
Renting can be work, there is a chance you would find excellent occupants. I think the larger question would be do you feel comfortable leaving this property unattended? Have you considered selling? The Philadelphia market is quite strong now and mortgages are still low, perhaps that is an option you should consider.

Ana Barlow

OCF Realty
601 Tenth Street
Philadelphia 19147
0 votes
Thanks, Ana! We have considered selling but since our plans are in flux and we wouldn't be buying a new house having a great chuck of cash sitting around is ALSO going to mess with possible college financial aid - I'll have two in over the course of six years and just can't afford to appear temporarily much better off than I actually am. We really didn't get anything but loans for the oldest as it is. Plus, it's a safety property for us - we don't really want to live here but if the s*** hits the fan economically we can afford it. We're in a desirable area so maybe tenants will pay off in the long run. Again, thanks for the answer - at least one advantage to renting is I can change my mind.
Flag Thu May 23, 2013
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