Remember that old high school girlfriend -- the one with the annoying laugh? You put up with her because she was nice enough, but one day you met that new girl, and she was everything you ever wanted. Best of all, your new romantic target showed definite signs of interest and wanted to date. But you had a problem: You still had the old girlfriend.
While this drama doesn’t take place in the life of every high school student, something similar does happen to most adults. But, rather than girlfriends . . . it’s houses.
You buy a house and it’s fine, but then you need to move on to another property. Maybe that's by choice or work is forcing you to relocate. Either way, you have the same problem as that high school Romeo: What to do with the old house?
Related: 6 Ways to Reduce Pain When Selling Your Home
While trying to date two girls at once may prove difficult, owning two homes can actually work and be profitable if you rent out the previous home. By keeping the house, you can begin building serious wealth through cash flow and equity. But how do you know if that’s the right move?
Sell the house and move on? Or rent it out? As with most real estate questions, these are not universal “right or wrong” questions, but once you understand the options, you can make the best choice for your situation.
Here are five factors to consider when deciding whether to sell or rent out your house.
1. Will this property generate cash flow?
The first thing to look at when deciding whether to rent or sell your house is the math. I know, math was likely not your favorite subject in school, but luckily all you need is a fifth-grade mind to understand real estate investment math.
First, ask: Will this property produce positive cash flow?
In other words, when this property is rented out, and you deduct all of the associated expenses (mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, management, vacancy, repairs, HOAs, etc.), will the property produce a monthly profit or a loss? If it's a loss, consider selling.
2. What about the return on investment?
Next, consider how much you would profit if you sold the property today, assuming you’d lose around 10 percent to agent fees, closing costs and other sales expenses. If you would make little or nothing, it may be advantageous to hold on to the property and wait for the market to improve over time. This is especially true if the property will provide positive cash flow in the meantime.
If you would make a profit by selling, consider your return on investment. For example, if you could make $100,000 in profit by selling your house and achieve only $1,000 per year in cash flow, that’s a 1 percent return on investment. Better to take that $100,000 profit and invest it in something else that could produce a higher return.
Related: Rent or Sell? What to Do When You Leave Your Home.
3. Consider the taxes.
The U.S. government does a lot of things I don’t agree with, but one thing it does that I absolutely love is the potential exclusion from paying capital gains tax that's allowed on the sale of your primary residence.
Normally, if you sell real estate and make a profit, you have to pay capital gains tax on the sale, up to 20 percent, depending on your tax bracket. However, the IRS allows homeowners (sorry, investors!) 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.
Let’s look at another example where this might come in handy. Consider the fictional case of Bob and Marge, who bought their home in 1990 for $150,000. Today, they can sell the property for $500,000, clearing $300,000 after the sales expenses.
If they keep the home as a rental for, let’s say, five years and then sell, they’ll potentially owe $60,000 in taxes. But if they sell now, they can potentially keep that $300,000 in profit without paying any capital gains tax.
Of course, by keeping the property, there is always the likelihood that it will appreciate in value to a level higher than what the tax would have been, but there are no guarantees when it comes to real estate values.
4. Does the future look bright?
Another important factor to consider when deciding whether to rent or sell your house requires gazining into your your crystal ball for the future. What do the next five, 10, 20 years look like for your home’s location? Are things improving? Will your neighborhood decline in value? If the future looks dark, consider selling now to avoid problems later on.
Of course, we don’t have crystal balls, but trying to gauge where the market’s going is not impossible. Take a look at the growth of your city -- is it moving away from you or toward you? Are businesses moving into your area? Are homes being fixed up or left to rot? You can’t know with 100 percent certainty, but by analyzing the current trends in your market, you can make a more informed decision on whether to hold on or sell now.
5. Can you handle tenants?
Finally, ask yourself: Are you willing to be a landlord? Because, honestly, many people are simply not cut out for the life. While some tenants are a dream to manage, others require significant time and patience to deal with. Last week, I had to deal with the eviction of a “garbage hoarder.” It wasn’t pretty.
Luckily, landlording is a skill that can be learned and improved upon. All new landlords make mistakes, but if you are the kind of person who is willing to learn, you’ll do fine.
Also, just because you own rental properties does not mean you have to be the person dealing with the tenants. Professional property management companies exist in nearly every city, and if you can find a great manager, he or she can cut the stress of rental property ownership down to a minimum (for a fee, of course!).
So, once again, should you rent or sell your house?
Unlike what happens with high school girlfriends, real estate allows you to keep both the old and the new. But deciding whether to rent or sell is a choice only you can make after weighing all the options.
Related: The 10 Best Cities for Buying or Selling a Home
If you are trying to make that decision right now, take a look at the five factors outlined above and make the choice that works best for you, your family and your financial future.
Top 30 Best Free Classified Ads Posting
Which are the best free classified ads posting sites on the web? Undeniably this is one of the most frequently asked questions among advertisers, bloggers and online marketers who want to post free classifieds ads for their blogs, websites, products, services, jobs, and houses, just to name a few. Here we’ve compiled a list of 30 most popular free classified ads where people can browse, view, post ads, buy or sell any items they want.
All the sites listed below are high in both Alexa ranking and Google PageRank. If you post ads on one of these classified sites, you’ll get a high chance of somebody viewing your ad and make positive response. In short these sites are all well maintained and have high daily traffic which absolutely worth your visit.
Craigslist is one of the most popular free classified advertisements sites with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, and discussion forums.
This is a free classified ads site where you can find houses and apartments for rent, personals, jobs, cats and dogs for sale.
Quikr is a free classified ads site that covers 90 cities across India. The site provides the local community with a platform to help them buy, sell, rent and find something under categories ranging from mobiles, real estate, cars, services, jobs, used goods, events and more.
Gumtree is a famous free classifieds site in United Kingdom where users can buy and sell cars, flats and houses, services, pets and more.
iNetGiant is a rapidly growing online classifieds website, with free and targeted ad listings.
The site name is very self-explanatory, another popular free classified ads platform for cars, jobs, real estate, pets, services, etc. Users can find what they are looking for or create their own ad for free.
eBay Classified is not just for selling personal items all over the United States. Local sellers of goods and services are also welcome to create free ads.
OXL.com hosts free user-generated classified ads for communities around the world and provides discussion forums sorted by topics like cars, jobs, apartments, housing, pets, personals, and other categories. On OLX you can design ads with pictures and videos, control your selling and buying, display ads on your social networking profile and more.
Oodle is one of the largest classifieds sites that aggregates listings from sites like eBay, ForRent.com, Myspace, as well as listings from local newspapers and websites. User can visit the site to find used cars, apartments for rent, job listings, homes for sale, and other classifieds.
Adpost is a free classifieds site for over 1000+ cities, 500+ regions worldwide and across the world.
Salespider.com is one of the largest free social network for business owners and includes free sales leads and prospect lists, free classified ads, free business directory, and free business forums.
With AdLandPro, you can post free classified ads, local classifieds and do free online promotion of your business with online business ads or classified posting.
USFreeAds is literally one of the biggest classified ads sites around and lots of products and services are being marketed there.
Yakaz is the search engine for all local classified ads on the web. Its categories include cars, motorbikes, housing, and more.
Wiju.com is a classified ads search engine for USA that helps people to find what they want: a job, a car, a service, a house, etc.
Classifieds For Free
Classifieds For Free is an online ad site for business opportunity, personal ads, auto, pets, real estate, and more. The site lets you post unlimited free ads and local ads in 600 US cities, all US States, and 60 countries.
This site enables you buy or sell anything for free, place free local classified ads as well as search free local classifieds.
A free classifieds site that lets you buy, sell and trade all types of items.
Another free classified ads site for placing free ads online with photos and videos for apts for rent, cars, jobs, cats and dogs for sale.
Adsglobe is another advertising gateway for online classifieds in jobs, real estate, rentals, autos, services, items for sale, travel, events, pets, business, and community.
Wantedwants.com lets you post free ads easily in cities and colleges around the world.
Sell.com is a merchant advertising and e-commerce site where you can sell and buy electronics, pets, cars, computers, homes and more.
Hoobly is a free classified ads site, with popular categories like arts, books, clothing, electronics, home and garden, pets, real estate, vehicles, etc.
PennySaverUSA is another site where you can post and browse online classifieds, coupons, and more for free.
Claz.org lets you search all classified ads sites at once.
Recycler.com is an online marketplace that connects local sellers with local buyers. It allows you to find cars, pets, real estate, jobs and more.
WebCosmo offers classified ads on for sale, pets (dog classified ads etc), personals, jobs, apartments and much more.
Free Ad Lists
This free classified ads site lets you find or post free classifieds for jobs, personals, real estate, autos, pets, etc.
Geebo offers US’s nationwide free classifieds for housing, rentals, roommates, employment, jobs, vehicles, autos, sales and more.
AmericanListed provides millions of safe and local classifieds for jobs, rentals, pets, for sale, housing, real estate, cars, boats, services, events, clothing, furniture and motorcycles.
This is US free photo classifieds site that lets you post and browse classified ads under the categories of auto, real estate, pets, furniture, electronics and more.