Women continue to outlive men in our society. Faced with less income, some widows move to more manageable housing situations but decide to keep the house and rent it out as a source of monthly income. But is this a good decision?
This post reviews the challenges widows face in keeping a house and why a decision to sell the house makes better sense.
1. It’s Expensive
Just getting a property ready to rent can be an expensive proposition. Everything needs to be in working order, cleaned, and freshly painted at a minimum. Other items needing attention may require a greater investment. Services like landscaping need to be considered if the property is to hold its value (don’t expect the tenants to keep it in the shape you expect). Marketing the property, running ads, and running background checks on applicants all cost money. In short, the initial outlay of capital can be great.
2. It Requires Cash Flow
The landlord business requires a good, steady stream of expendable cash flow. Keeping up with the costs of repairs and maintenance can be expensive. Then, there are the problems of abusive tenants, unauthorized pets, long-term guests, and other factors that add to wear and tear greater than might be expected.
In cases involving serious property damage, repairs and renovations can be quite expensive.
All the above costs continue to add up, resulting in far less monthly income than previously anticipated. The fact is that most rentals make money when they sell; profiting on a month-to-month basis is a rare luxury.
3. It’s Hard to Do
Rentals demand a lot of time and effort from landlords. For example, tenants consider household chores like fixing a light switch of a leaky faucet that homeowners take for granted as the responsibility of the landlord. Without a man around the house, who is going to take care of these tasks? More than likely, a widow is going to have to rely on the services of a handyman, and that just adds to the expenses already discussed above.
Other areas such as advertising the rental, screening tenants, and showing the property require time. Alternatively, one can hire the services of a management firm, but that cuts into overall profits, too.
4. The Income is Not Always Reliable
Few landlords are fortunate to have long-term tenants. Turnover in the rental market is frequent. Each time occupants leave, there is a period of a vacancy during which no income is realized, and added funds are spent to prepare the house for the next renter. Idle rentals can deplete needed landlord cash flow in a hurry.
Rather than face the above challenges and take the added financial risks, a widow may be better served financially by selling the house. The income from the home’s equity could be invested in an instrument like an annuity which could make up for less monthly income in a stable and no-risk manner.
Selling the home for cash is a good way to avoid costs associated with preparing the property for the market—repairs, renovations, and the like—real estate fees and commissions. A cash house sale can take place very quickly, freeing up equity and adding to increased monthly income now when it is needed.
Do you think a widow should try to keep a house as a rental?
Do you have a piece of property (house, lot, or land) you’d like to sell fast? Fill out our Sell Fast Form and get a cash offer within one hour of us viewing the property.