To sell or take out a HELOC

2 Replies

Hello Bigger Pockets,

I live in Salem, OR and I own a small 2 bedroom 1.5 bath townhouse. I bought it in 2016 for 100k. Since then I have rented my extra room via Airbnb off and on. The money from the airbnb has been used just as supplemental income (helping family, paying on student loans, traveling etc.). I have always thought of this as an investment property that I would eventually rent out and eventually buy a duplex (live in one side, rent the other and the townhouse would also be rented). Well, the market here is crazy and I am thinking of selling and using that money for a down payment for an investment property or a house hack with more space. I have read a few books and have listened to several podcast about real estate investing, but what I am still wondering is what would be the best strategy, get a heloc and use that loan for the next investment property or should I sell my current townhouse. My realtor says she could list for 235k (I owe 85k). If I sell I wouldn't be in a rush to find my next property, so its not time sensitive. In order for me to rent my townhouse I would need to put a little bit into it (fireplace needs to be fixed), but not much else needs to be done. With out getting a HELOC or selling I don't have as much as I would like saved up to do a down payment for a duplex or a single home, especially with the high cost of homes in my area. Any suggestions or things I should consider?

Thanks so much!

Personally, I would get a HELOC and look for a duplex to buy. I feel like as prices go up, a lot of first time homebuyers will be priced out of single family homes (many already are) and they need to look at alternatives like townhomes so your home should appreciate well. Also, a 2 bed 1.5 bath townhome should be fairly easy to rent. Duplexes are very competitive right now, especially ones that will allow you to owner occupy - If both units are occupied, the seller first would need to be willing to give a tenant a 90 day notice first which many are not willing to do so. I know you said that you can take your time finding a duplex after you sell your townhome, but how long are you willing to wait? Selling seems a bit risky to me...Anyway, those are my personal thoughts, I'd be happy to answer any questions. About the fireplace...if it's broken, maybe just board it up and don't allow the tenants to use it. I think that's safer anyway as a rental. Also a note about the market, yes the market is crazy right now but Salem is still quite affordable compared to Portland and many other areas in the country!

I actually just got the same advice from someone else, that I should get a HELOC instead of selling. I think what I would want to see how the money would work with the repayment of the HELOC and the extra property. The scaling up to the next property is what I need a bit more guidance in.

The fireplace, I just got one quote that it needed to be redone or get an insert, but I guess I can board it up and call it good. I had decided to not put money into it until I figured out what I wanted to do with this property. I have been looking on the MLS for duplexes and there are few and far between for sure. So are you saying in this market maybe don't have my heart set on a duplex because they are very competitive? I am not super set on a duplex per se. I am also ok with a property with a MIL suite of something of the sort.