- I have been a landlord for 15 years and my properties have brought me extra income, but I am ready to sell.
- It’s a good time for sellers, for one thing, and I’m tired of dealing with my rents.
- Real estate is not “passive” and it is getting harder and harder to find professional help.
There are countless ways to work toward financial independence, and sometimes I feel like my husband and I have tried them all. We’ve worked regular 9 to 5 jobs, juggling multiple side hustle and invested in stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual fundsand even crypto. We’ve also been self-employed in some capacity for over a decade, which often feels like having 10 different jobs at once.
we even bought some rental properties in 2007 and 2008, which we are still dealing with today. However, we are currently in the midst of selling the two single-family homes we own outside of our primary residence, and for more than one reason.
That probably sounds crazy considering there are all sorts of financial experts recommending walk into owner’s business at this time. From blogs to message boards to early retirement Facebook groups, it seems real estate investing has been all the rage in recent years.
However, I have never been afraid to go against the grain. After owning for over 15 years, I cringe a little when I hear (or read) the so-called “experts” in the early retiree crowd talk about buying rental properties as if they offer the best path to leaving your 9 to 5.
The reality is that owning is a lot of work, and it may or may not be worth it to you depending on your tolerance for risk, your goals, and your willingness to deal with daily problems and repairs.
These are the reasons why we are ready to stop being owners as soon as possible and why invest in real estate It’s not for the faint of heart.
Reason #1: Now is a good time to sell
The main reason we are selling our rental properties right now is the same reason now is not a good time to invest in rental real estate in many markets.
Real estate prices are high practically everywhere in the country and are frankly exorbitant in many major cities in the United States. In fact, the Reports from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that the median sales price of existing homes rose 10.8% nationally from August 2021 to August 2022. Pretty crazy, that increase comes after 125 straight months of previous increases.
We’re closing on the first rental house we were able to sell in early September, and the sale price is more than double what we paid for the house in 2008. Since we bought the house, we’ve also done minimal updates and repairs. other than replacing the HVAC system for $5,500 and getting a new roof that was covered by homeowners insurance. Since the house was our first primary residence when we bought it in 2008, we only put down $3,000 as well.
Our last group of tenants also lived in the house for 13 years, so they essentially paid for it for us. At the end of the day, all of these factors tell me that we are selling at an optimal time in a financial sense.
In total, we will walk away from the sale of our first rental property with about $150,000 after taking into account income taxes, real estate agent fees, and other charges.
Reason #2: Ownership Isn’t Passive
The second reason we are selling our properties is because we are tired of dealing with them. No matter what anyone else says, owning is not a liability at all, even if you have good tenants or use a management company.
The fact is, you’ll get calls and emails about things from time to time, and often at times that don’t work for your schedule. In the past few years, we have received calls to fix or repair HVAC units, to deal with a fallen tree, and to negotiate with tenants who were unable to make their monthly payment on time.
My rental properties provide me with income that could offset these inconveniences, but there is more passive ways to invest that will never require a phone call or any work on my part. For example, the $150,000 I will have to invest in the sale of my first home provides a constant return of $9,000 per year if the market returns 6%.
Considering I’ll never have to deal with a leaky roof or a clogged sink, it’s a no-brainer for me.
Reason #3: It’s hard to find professional help
Most of us know that it’s hard for businesses to find help right now, and you see it almost everywhere you go. The same is true when it comes to skilled labor, and we quickly discovered this when we went to prepare our first vacant property for sale.
Do you know how difficult it is to find professionals who are willing to repair drywall? painters? Someone to handle basic handyman duties?
It’s absolutely impossible right now, and that’s even more true when you need people for one-off jobs without much notice.
My husband ended up taking a whole week off from our business to do basic housekeeping and paint the interior before we put our rental up for sale. He didn’t want – he I had to because we couldn’t find anyone else.
Also, this has been the case with all the repairs we’ve had to do over the years. Simply put, not being able to find help when you’re more than willing to pay becomes obsolete.
Reason #4: Every homeowner has a horror story
The final reason we are selling is the fact that every owner has a horror story, and we feel that at some point we are in for a bad experience again.
We had a family of renters who left one of our properties with approximately $6,000 in damage in 2009, and dealing with the situation was immensely stressful. Not only was the house left with dirty and ruined carpets, but all the interior doors were missing, the front window was broken, and the exterior door had been forced.
We ended up having to replace almost everything in the property before we could rent it out again, including the floors, the doors, several windows, and even the countertops in the kitchen.
After having great tenants for the last decade, we know we never, ever want to deal with that again. when selling now prior to we have another bad experience, we won’t have to.
When we were investing in rental real estate in our 20s, we thought we would use rental income to help pay our early retirement. But now that we are older, we have discovered that there are many ways to invest that are much more passive, and that the hard work of being an owner is no longer worth it for us.
While one of our properties will be sold in the next few weeks, we will work to put the other up for sale when the current tenant’s lease expires later this year. Once we unload these properties, our plan is to invest our profits in drilling index funds and never look back.