I'm moving cross-country, should I rent or sell my current residence?

3 Replies

I own an older SFR in Kenova, WV and am moving to the SF area where I am currently planning to go to school on the GI bill while establishing a rent and hold business.

My research so far suggests it would be more profitable to rent than sell. However it is an old home that is only partially updated, well worn, and the only professionally inspections I can remember were the floor furnace and a termite inspection. My concerns are keeping the home will be an endless money sink in repairs and updates instead of asset, cost more than it makes by preventing access to something like a VA loan on a better property in the future, or overly distract me learning details about the market here that won't help me in SF.

The home is 2 bed 1 bath, 1200 square foot, one and a half story SFR with a garage, storage shed, fenced yard, w/d hook ups in the garage. I bought the home in 2008 for $30,000 and lived in it since. The home was appraised for the lender using comps when I got a HELOC last fall around $50,000. Other numbers I've found have mostly ranged from $50,000 to $60,000. Zillow currently estimates the rent at $817. I currently owe about $10k on the HELOC but the home is otherwise debt free with a borrowing allowance of $28.5k. This is currently my only good cash source(CC's don't count as "good") until new income is established I wouldn't want to max out the loan on rehabs unless it was exceptionally justified but could spend 5k-10k and feel solvent.

I had to quit my job and leave the area last fall without having the time to make an informed decision on the house. I returned about a month ago to deal with it, the more I've learned the more I realize I need to know. I have an appointment across the country in a couple weeks and it's really best if I can make a decision and leave without postponing my appointment or returning(in order to establish residency I couldn't stay much longer anyways).

I have an MBA from a local university and my last job was working as the property manager at a small manufactured home community. But I still don't have all the knowledge to make an informed decision or the time to learn it all before I go and I have learned the hard way what you don't know CAN hurt you.

Any help identifying things I need to know to make decisions, opinions, picking qualified people, recommendations, ect would be greatly appreciated.

@John R.

Some questions for you:

1.  Are you moving back to WV?

2.  Are real estate values increasing there?

3.  Is employment good in that area?

4.  Is crime rates low in that area?

5.  Is the area growing with new people moving in and current people staying (other than you)?

If the answers to those questions are no, then sell.  If yes, maybe rent.

1: no

2: no

3: no

4: yes

5: no

This is definitely not a place I would buy again. That said I think it's in one of the safer and nicer looking areas. I don't think it would be difficult to find a renter for and crime isn't an issue. Looking at the questions and responses I think you would recommend sell, but I'm having some trouble guessing your line of reasoning.

If you're not going back and the area is stagnant or less, then those are reasons to sell and buy somewhere else.

Personally, I like closer rentals as contrasted to long distance rentals.

Obviously re values in WV are different than SF.  If the WV house was your personal residence for 2 of the last 5 years and your capital gain is less than $250,000/$500,000 there is no tax due on the sale of the WV house.  Sweet. 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here