Inspired by comments on an earlier post I made, "Selling Real Estate is Hard Work!", I wanted to share some food for thought in an effort to educate owners who are considering putting their home on the market. In The Bahamas, not unlike other markets throughout the world, we often face the question, "What if I wanted to put the house on the market for rent if it doesn't sell?". There are many aspects to renting a property that many owners never think about. You think selling a home presents challenges? Renting a home presents the same challenges....and then some!
If you are selling your home you will want to present the home in the best light possible. It is not always financially feasible to give the entire property a face lift so you do your best with what you have. Buyers can often overlook shortcomings of a home and you can normally negotiate through whatever issues are present. Conversely, if you are renting your home, and expect to get the best possible price, you have to make sure that the property is in "move in" condition. This means removing all of your personal effects (where are you going to put them?), cleaning the place top to bottom, sprucing up paint, making minor or even major repairs, ensuring your furnishings are clean and in good shape (most rental properties in The Bahamas come furnished) and generally creating an inviting, "turn key" living space for your new tenants. This preparation can be very costly.
Now that you have made the investment and spruced up the place it's time to go to market. A good listing agent will price the rental properly and begin bringing prospective tenants. Once a tenant is found it is time to switch hats: off with the owner's hat and on with the Landlord's hat! What's that? You mean I have to actually collect the rent, make sure the tenant doesn't damage the place, deal with any of the problems that may eventually arise and generally be attentive to their needs, however insignificant they may be? It takes a strong constitution and an iron will to be a landlord! If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!
The strategy of renting as opposed to selling can be profitable, but there is much work to be done. If you find yourself in this dilema, call your Realtor and discuss your options. With the right agent, the right attitude and the right plan renting your property can be a reasonable and profitable alternative to selling.