I just read an article about girlfriends although this could apply to boyfriends as well. You've got one but then you spot another one that's better and you want to move on. Well owning a home is like that. You're fine living in one and then you see a new one in your neighborhood, or spot an open house and fall in love with the location, the house, the neighborhood and more. So now what do you do? You've made an offer on the new one and it's been accepted so now you need to decide what to do with the one you're currently living in. Well there are five things that you should consider when you're making your decision.
1. Will this property generate positive cash flow? When it's rented out and you deduct all the expenses such as mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, vacancy, repairs etc. will the property produce a monthly profit or will there be a loss?
2. What about ROI or return on investment? How much profit would you make if you sold this home today. If it's not much it might be better to hold on to it for a period of time. Especially if there is a positive cash flow. If you would make a profit by selling and could make $100,000 in profit and your making only $1000.00 per year in cash flow that's a 1% return on your investment. Could you take that $100,000 and invest it some place else for a higher return?
3. And then lets talk about taxes. Usually when you sell a home for a profit you will need to pay capital gains tax on the sale of potentially up to 20% depending on your tax bracket. However, the IRS allows homeowners to exclude the sale of up to $250,000 (or $500,000 if married filing jointly) of a primary residence if you lived in the home for at least two of the last five years. So when you sell the home in the future you may have to pay capital gains taxes but if you sell now, you will be able to save the profit. There are no guarantees however as to what the home will be worth in five or ten years. You will want to check with your CPA for financial advice.
4. What does the future look like? What will your neighborhood look like in the future. Is there potential growth? Are there services coming into the area and is the current trend leaning toward growth?
5. Don't forget the tenants. Can you handle tenants? Some tenants are easy to work with but don't forget the party animals, the hoarders and more. You can manage the property yourself or you can hire a management firm but there will be a fee involved.
So should you buy or sell? This is your own personal decision after weighing all the options. You will have t0 decide if renting or owning is in your financial future.