Like it or love it, most of us have to work for a living. This is the place to commiserate with other cube-dwellers and get tips from other business travelers. Talk about how the daily grind will one day allow you to realize your vagabond dreams. Share tips for turning travel you have to do into travel you want to do.

What to do about the house?

fhuddles

Thorn Tree Refugee
 
Posts: 2
Joined: December 17th, 2008

Share on Orkut

Tags: House, Long-Term Travel, rent, planning
  • Added on: November 26th, 2009
Greetings,
I'm contemplating a trip lasting maybe a year and a half, but I own a house. I'm wondering what to do about it. So I'm asking: what do people who own a house do when they go away? Find a house-sitter? Rent? Just close it up, redirect the mail, and have someone mow the lawn?
My house is not really in good shape to be rented: it needs some work. The major thing might be that
the kitchen cabinets need replacing; I've cut them apart and moved them around.
And I'm not sure I want to deal with the renting situation long-distance.
But what can you all tell me? I'd like to hear your opinions, experiences, and advice.

Thanks.
Last edited by fhuddles on November 28th, 2009, edited 1 time in total.

deblet76

User avatar
Armchair Traveler
 
Posts: 43
Joined: June 22nd, 2009

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: November 27th, 2009
We are leaving in January for a 6 month trip. I've decided that renting out my house is the only way to go. Luckily we have a friend who will manage it for us. We will rent an apartment when we get back. Worst case scenario, after the year lease is up, we boot a bad tenant and move back in, best case, I get a good job and we keep this one as a rental (can you say residual income?) and buy another house to live in.
Renting out the house will allow the house to keep paying for itself in our absence. I'm in the process of finding tenants now.
If anyone knows anyone in the Dallas area that wants to rent a beautiful/affordable 3 bedroom house with super cool landlords, private message me.
Follow our continuing travel through Central America here:

http://www.robanddebourway.blogspot.com

Left 1/8/2010; Home 8/5/2010; Back on the road 9/15/2010

2wanderers

User avatar
Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 3620
Joined: August 20th, 2003
Location: Edmonton, Canada

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 3rd, 2009
Sounds like selling isn't one of the options you're looking at, so I'd probably run with the renting option. Any income is better than just leaving an empty house (or with a freeloading housesitter), and still having to eat maintenance costs, taxes, etc.

I don't think there's really such a thing as a place that's not suitable for renting. Just houses in some conditions will bring in a lower rent, and possibly a less appealing tenant.

If there's someone you know and trust looking for a place, you can rent directly to them, usually with the understanding that they're getting a discounted rent in return for doing yard and maintenance work, and they can pass along the costs (by holding back rent) if there's repairs that need to be done.

This doesn't work as well when you don't know and trust the tenant, so you'll want to get a professional rental agency to help. These agencies pretty much do the job that a landlord would otherwise do - finding tenants, collecting the rent and responding to maintenance issues. They then take their fee, any disbursements, and pass along whatever's left to you. I'd suggest calling a couple of agencies for a consultation - they'll give you an estimate on what your house could bring in in the current market, what their fee would be, and then you'll be able to make a more informed decision.

Kate and Dan

User avatar
Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 299
Joined: October 7th, 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 3rd, 2009
Hey fhuddles — we're struggling with that question, too. Recently wrote about this on our blog — a post for the homeowner currently faced with the prospect of long-term travel and presently struggling with the decision to rent or to sell—or those looking for other alternatives.

Check it out here.

Essentially, although we are still weighing the benefits of home ownership, we are concerned with the prospect of selling our house outright. For example, if were to sell the house, we would be unable to refinance or borrow against the equity of our old home for the purchase of a new one. Moreover, securing a mortgage might prove difficult owing to the unemployment (or underemployment) brought on by travelling. As we intend to return to the same area in the future, we face the risk of being priced out of the market if we were to sell.

It would therefore make sense to rent our home. At the same time, we’re concerned with the upkeep of the property, the screening of prospective tenants and moving our belongings into storage. Weighing the total expected costs against the total expected benefits of each of these decisions, we’re warming up to the idea of finding somebody to stay at our house and to take care of everything while we’re gone. The challenge, however, is finding somebody we can trust. Friends? Perhaps, but we feel uncomfortable asking our friends to shoulder such a burden. Relatives? Possibly, but that option might not be available to us. We’re also considering the myriad number of options online that have sprung up in recognition of the need to provide services where homeowners can locate a reliable housesitter.
Image

KathrynD

User avatar
Squat Toilet Professional
 
Posts: 859
Joined: November 8th, 2007
Location: California

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 4th, 2009
I own a house in Hawaii, but I live in California. I have a property manager who handles the day to day stuff. She found the tenants, vetted them, of course all for a fee. Then she collects the rent, deposits it in the bank for us. We have a fund (about a month's worth of rent) for emergencies that she can draw on, and so if repairs are needed, she arranges them. Every month she sends us a statement on what was collected and what, if any, was spent. It works fine.

Assuming that you are traveling in a place where you have some phone or email access, I would think this type of arrangement would work for you.

My property manager is from one of those big national companies, Century 21. It's the same firm that helped me buy the house so that's why I went with them. However, I think any property management firm with good references would do fine for you.

Pelke

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 124
Joined: May 1st, 2005
Location: Austin, TX

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 21st, 2009
I own a house and plan to head out for a 9-12 month trip in 2010. I've decided to keep the house and hire a property manager to look after it for me while I'm gone. The typical fee is 10% of the price the house could be rented for. So, if you could get $1000 per month to rent the house, you'd pay the property manager $100 per month. I know that adds up over a year, but I'm just going to budget for it.

I still have to pay utilities and maintenance on the place while I'm gone. However, with no one living in the house, the monthly bill for electricity, etc should be pretty reasonable. My biggest expense will be for watering the lawn during the summer, but that is still cheaper than letting the lawn die and having to replace it when I get back. Plus, I doubt the homeowner's association will be too happy if I let all the landscaping die :-)

The property manager will check on the house once or twice a week, including coming inside to look for leaks, insect activity, etc. They will manage the yard services and maintenance, and act as a contact for the security company in case there are any alarms, etc. They also will take care of fixing anything that needs it (broken window, exterminator, etc), but I'll reimburse for any expenses involved.

All in all, it's really not that much money to know your house is OK while you are gone. It also gives me the most flexibility as I can return whenever I want without waiting for a tenant's lease to expire. I'd hate to have to rent a place while someone was still living in my house.
Pelke

Bua

Lost in Place
 
Posts: 65
Joined: March 6th, 2005
Location: Seoul, South Korea

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 23rd, 2009
I was dealing with this debate a few months ago and decided to rent after the sale fell through. I let the property manager handle advertising, screening the tenant, collect the rent, everything. Fortunately, the amount I'm collecting off rent is nearly enough to cover both the mortgage payment and the management fee, so I'm more or less breaking even over the course of the lease. I could probably make a profit if I handled the management myself, but being able to do as I please while someone else deals with the tenants is well worth the expense (for me, at least). If you go with a management company do your research and, of course, get everything in writing. I went with a local company, but I've heard good things about Century 21.

So far I like being a landlord - I'm still building equity, but not being tied down by mortgage and utility costs is very liberating :)

deblet76

User avatar
Armchair Traveler
 
Posts: 43
Joined: June 22nd, 2009

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 23rd, 2009
I wanted to update since we are so close to leaving and have gotten through quite a bit of the house rental process.

I found some great tenants through CraigsList. It was the only place that I advertised and got a ton of calls. I have purchased a home warranty that the tenants can use if anything breaks in the house. There will be a $55 co-pay for service work through the warranty. I am lucky enough to have a good friend who owns 2 other rental houses in my neighborhood. I will be giving him a debit card for the bank account that I have created for all of the house finances. He will be able to take out cash to pay for the $55 copay or any other expenses that might arise or if the tenants pay for it themselves, I can take that off of that month's rent. They will send the rent checks to my parents who will deposit the money into the house bank account. I was hoping that they could direct deposit the rent but my bank requires a business account for that. The tenants will be responsible for the bills (electric, water, cable). The rent on the house is enough to cover the mortgage, home warranty and still put some money aside for unforeseen expenses. We will be putting all of our stuff into storage while we are away and will rent an apartment when we get back since we will be gone for 6 months and the lease is 1 year.

I'm feeling very good about it so far and am just praying that they are great tenants who wont need anything until we get home.

Good luck!
Follow our continuing travel through Central America here:

http://www.robanddebourway.blogspot.com

Left 1/8/2010; Home 8/5/2010; Back on the road 9/15/2010

Kate and Dan

User avatar
Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 299
Joined: October 7th, 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: December 28th, 2009
deblet76 wrote:I wanted to update since we are so close to leaving and have gotten through quite a bit of the house rental process.


Thanks for the update, Deblet. Again, my wife and I find ourselves waffling on the decision. Our thinking has swung back to selling, as the market in our area continues to improve.
Image



Return to Corporate Wasteland & Business Travel

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

PLEASE NOTE: Your original BootsnAll Boards Member login still works by logging in below on the Boards.
We have a new BootsnAll Account that you will start seeing around the BootsnAll Travel Network. This new login is not yet linked to your current Boards Account. In the meantime, you will need to sign up (for a BootsnAll Account) to use Account features like Indie ™ , Traveler Profiles etc.

Quick Links

Community Activity

Statistics for the last 7 days

New posts:
0
Newest Member:
Stephen


Indie - Multi Country Flight Finder
Round the World Travelers


Join BootsnAll on Facebook

1 (503) 528-1005

© 2018 BootsnAll Travel Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.