A scenario: You find a great job in another state. Do you sell or rent your home? Think about reasons for maintaining ownership. Do you want to keep the home in case you ever move back? Are you looking for a tax break through property depreciation? Do you want the home as a retirement investment? On the other hand, are you prepared to be a long-distance landlord? There are other costs involved as well, often running 30-40% of income before the monthly mortgage cost.
If you decide to rent the home, where do you start? Get the house in shape, including interior and exterior painting and patching, carpet cleaning, appliance tune-up, ensuring adequate insulation, and fixing what needs fixing. A property management company can research prices in your area, or you can look in the real estate section of your Sunday paper.
It’s not essential to hire a property manager, but it can make life easier, especially if you move out of the area. Interview at least three companies. Ask about accreditation, customer service, references, screening, experience, vacancy rates, maintenance, monthly reporting, handling evictions, insurance, fee structure, dealing with prospective buyers, inspection of the property, and any special services.