Condo and 50% rule - Sanity Check Please

9 Replies

I need a sanity check please! I see too many condo deals like this in my area (Reno, NV) and keep passing because it looks like these wont cash flow. Am I doing this right, can somebody check my math and logic please? It just seems like the 50% rule should be less for condos, although when I asked before, I was told to use 60% for condos! Is that right? These numbers are estimates, for screening.

My goal is buy and hold to generate passive cash flow from rent.

The following looks painful, is that right?

Purchase Price = 64,500

Finance 80% = 51,600

mortgage payment = 324 (includes taxes, not insurance)

HOA = 155

Average Rent = 690

50% rule = 345

My cash flow estimate calculation:

Rent - mortgage - HOA - 50% rule = est. cashflow

690 - 324 - 155 - 345 = Pain

Thanks in advance!

@Bill Schrimpf

A couple of points that you are overlooking that should work in your favor

-- taxes should be included in the 50% of expenses, so when you're subtracting out the mortgage payment, just count the P&I.

-- the HOA should be covering exterior maintenance and maybe some utilities (i.e. water for my condo) which should cut down on how much you need to budget for those. (Of course, you hope they budgeted appropriately or they might jack up the HOA fee when capital expenditures come around)

@Brett Russell - Thanks for the quick reply and I will include only P&I in my mortgage number! That will help.

Assuming the HOA is properly ran (it's a professional one, hundreds of units) then I would need to dig a bit more into details. 50% seems high for condos as some of the opex and capex expenses is reduced compared to SFR, assuming competent HOA. Would 35% - 40% be better as a rule of thumb? I know I would still have to do my due diligence; I'm just looking for a better way to screen condos based on what others have experienced.

The HOA being over 20% of rent is the real issue here.

My comment wasn't a metric by which to measure the HOA fees; but when it is 20% of rent that is a lot of rent money that you have to give up. I don't invest in places with HOA fees, so I can't speak for what a good number would be for any HOA fee - but I know a bad number when I see it :)

@Bill Schrimpf

@Steve Babiak

I rent a condo for $1,600/month and I pay $295 in HOA, which comes out to 18.5% of the rent. I would never invest in a condo, but my wife and I used to live there and instead of selling, we decided to keep it as a rental.

My brother rents a place for $1,200/month and his owner pays $500/month in HOA, which comes 42%!!

@Sharad M. - I don't think any of those would be considered profitable rentals (unless they were already paid off).

@Steve Babiak I agree. We have some decent equity in our condo and it is in a very desirable area, so we figured we keep it as a rental and if it doesn't work out, we will put it on the market to sell.

Sound like my numbers are sane. Condo's in my area would likely be a painful investment.

Thanks everyone.

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