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Perks of Being a Landlord

If you have a piece of residential property that is lying around and you are considering selling it, you should think twice. In many situations, keeping the property for yourself and renting it out can carry a bigger benefit for you than selling it would. You should weigh each side carefully before deciding to sell your property.

Income from Rent

The first step in the inquiry is to calculate how much you can charge for renting your property. In most situations, you need to sit down and figure out what amount of rent you need to break even and also produce some income for yourself. At the same time, you also need to be aware of the rental prices of similar properties in the same area as your house or apartment. You should look through classified ads, make appointments to meet landlords and also visit the other rental units to see their condition.

You cannot count on having a stable income from your rental property for all twelve months of the year. Residential lease agreements typically last a year or longer, and even if your house or apartment is in a high demand area, there is still going to be transition time between tenants. This transition time is typically one to two months, depending upon the condition of the apartment when the previous tenant moves out and how quickly you can find a new tenant. There may also be times when your rental property may stand vacant for a longer period of time. For instance, if the rental property you are trying to lease out is a luxury home, your asking price for rent will understandably be higher, which leads to a smaller base of people that may be interested in your property.

Another misconception that many people have entering into the residential rental property business is that not all of the rental income is profit. You need to be sure to calculate in factors such as property taxes, mortgage payments, and whether or not you are going to include utilities in the rental price. There are other issues that must be accounted for as well, such as whether or not you are going to deal with the tenants personally, or if you want to hire a property manager. Lastly, because of the nature of rental properties and landlord responsibilities, you also have to make sure that the place is in good maintenance, which means additional costs if the rental property is older and needs repairs to make it habitable.

It is pretty clear that, in order to make sure you do get an income from your rental property, you will need to sit down and carefully go over the numbers. After you have figured out your total annual costs on the property and subtracted that from your projected rental income, you will find your annual profit. If you appear to be coming out ahead by $100 to $200 a month, then you are within the industry standard. If it looks like you will be coming out behind, then the only reasons you have to hold on to your property is to wait for a better time to sell it at a higher price.

Tax Benefits for Owning Rental Property

In its current form, the tax code is full of laws that only serve to benefit people who rent out residential properties. There are many deductions that landlords are able to claim, many times after ending up with a net loss from their rental income. This may sounds like a bad thing, but you might be able to deduct this net loss from other sources of income, like your wage income from employment.

Here is a list of some of the major tax deductions that may be available to residential landlords that do not own large numbers of properties:

  • Interest This is often the largest deduction on a landlord's taxes. This includes payments made on interest on a mortgage taken out to either buy or improve a rental property. It can also include interest on credit cards that were used in the rental business.
  • Depreciation Residential landlords can deduct the purchase price of the rental property from their taxes over a period of twenty-seven and a half years.
  • Repairs Any repairs that a landlord pays for on the rental property due to the landlord responsibilities, such as repainting, plumbingetc, can be fully deducted for the tax year in which the repairs were paid for.
  • Travel Landlords can deduct for travel expenses if the travel is related to their landlord responsibilities. However, the Internal Revenue Service carefully reviews these deductions, so it is important to keep accurate records.
  • Home office- Landlords can deduct expenses incurred in operating a home office, provided that certain requirements are met.

This list is not exhaustive, though, so be sure to check with a tax expert to learn more about landlord tax deductions.

Rental Properties are Abundant

It is currently a buyer's market in terms of the real estate market at the moment. Even if you do not have a residential property that you can convert into a rental property, it may be easy for you to find a home for sale that will fit your budget. Now is a great time to get started in the rental market. Homes prices are low at the moment, which means this is a great time to get a great deal on a rental property that can give you and additional income in the future.

In addition, if you do have a residential property that you could turn into a rental property, you should strongly consider this option. You may consider selling the house and investing the proceeds in the stock market, but, as our history has shown us, the residential market seems to be the more stable of the two. Many real estate investors feel more secure in their investments than do stock owners.

You're Not the Boss of Me

One of the great benefits of owning your own residential rental property is that it creates a great opportunity of being your own boss. Many people that get started with just one rental property often find themselves buying and renting out more properties, ultimately ending up as full-time real estate investors. The independence of being your own boss, setting your own hours and goals is a major draw for many people. So, before you sell your residential property, consider being a landlord and what opportunities might await you down this path.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified real estate attorney to help you
navigate any landlord-tenant issues.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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