How to find a renter for a 9000 sqft home

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Does anyone here have an idea how to make money out of a rental mansion? 

My husband and I are considering purchasing a home outside of Portland Oregon. We would be buying this house primarily for the 3 acre lot that it's on, the house has very little value to us. In a few years we would extensively remodel or tear down/rebuild. In the meantime, we wouldn't live there, and we don't want the house to sit empty. We are hoping to find a way to earn a money towards the mortgage.

The house is a very tacky 9,000 square foot home.  The mortgage would be about 8k a month. Rentals in that area are more modest in size and top out around 3,000 a month. We understand it's likely will be losing money every month, even with it rented out, but we would like to maximize our rental profit. 

One idea we had was to rent individual bedrooms to students around $800 each. (The going rate for a bedroom.) We could probably make around 5K per month, but the vacancy rate might be higher than we expect.

The house is spacious, but not at all beautiful inside. Because we would be tearing it down we are not interested in sinking a lot of money into updating it right now. however, we would put up temporary walls or things like that if it could increase the rental income enough.

The backyard has a pool, vineyard, and tennis Court.

Thanks for any advice!

Updated over 1 year ago

Side note: Airbnb is illegal in this city, so Airbnb isn't an option.

@Tris Wils , the student angle might be the best one to explore. Especially, since you don't care if the property gets banged up. There's a bunch of great advice on BP about student rentals. A few tips I've heard repeatedly are:

  • Have the students sign 1-year leases, no matter if they intend to be there over the Summer or not.
  • Parents must co-sign on all leases.
  • Learn the housing cycle for the school(s) you're targeting. It may start as early as Feb. for some schools and you don't want to miss the window.
  • Reach out to graduate departments. They tend to be gentler, more responsible, and the programs naturally create a network to help keep your rooms filled.

@Tris Wils Have you considered renting out the property for events? I’m sure you could rent it out on the weekends for weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, company group outings, etc... I would explore that route.

@Tris Wils is this the crazy house in the Damascus area where the dad and son were convicted of fraud. I think it was like a dental practice or something? Then the dad died, son went to jail and the mom is now losing/selling it? If so, that thing is eccentric to say the least. 

You're right, there is no real rental market for that. IF it's in Damascus I would question the ability to find roommates for it. 

What is it that you like about the lot? Would it make more sense to try and buy just land that meets your needs without the 8K mortgage?

Mike, preeetty sure it isn't that house. It's just a standard tacky McMansion that wasn't well built. I call it a 90s palace, my husband calls it a monstrosity. We did a search of the number of full sun 3+ acre flat/level lots close to downtown Portland and the list is small. Only a few lots that size go on sale every year and the majority are sloped or wooded. We would be ready to build in about 2-3 years and don't want to take the chance that when we're ready, we wouldn't find anything. We can afford to buy it and keep it empty but why not try to earn a few bucks off it in the meantime?

And as far as empty land goes, two acres raw land sells for the *same price* as three acres + a house! Plus our contractor told us having some of the home infrastructure there would save a little money (septic, driveway, electric). Plus this can at least be rented in the interim, which land can't as easily. And classifying it as a "remodel" makes permitting faster. Haven't made the final decision, but there are some compelling reasons to go with this one. 

Daniel, we could try to rent it out for events. Again, think McMansion, not sure who would even want to host an event there! But, if I were to do that, where do I start? What kind of person/professional do I reach out to to get my property on a list of event venues? 

@Tris Wils yep, that totally makes sense. If it is in Portland, you'll also save about 40Kish in SDC fees with a remodel versus a new if you can get an income stream it may just be a wash in the end. Also, since it will be a demolition or massive remodel, you'll be able to terminate a lease given our new rent control environment in Oregon. That's a huge bonus right there.

If you wanted to do "events", you'll need a conditional use permit to stay legal. 

side note, the 70s to 90s are the worst eras for construction. Early 2000's as well. Either crazy designs that have high maintenance costs or no character and quickly dated finishes. Sounds like a fun project if you decide to go that route. Good luck.