Renting just for winter / selling in the spring

5 Replies

Hi, I'm an investor in a single-family home in southern CT. We completed refurb and got it listed in September, but it's not clear it will get an acceptable offer by November, then it gets quiet for sales. Therefore, we're thinking of offering both for-sale and as a 6-month rental over the winter, effective immediately.

Do BP members have any advice on this?

  • What is demand like for 6 month rentals? Some have said we need to be relatively low on monthly rent given the short period, others have said we can charge more because renters usually want long leases.
  • Any particular marketing approaches or lease terms work well with 6-month renters?
  • Will costs be an issue? I'm thinking of legal feels to draw our first rental contract, and home touch up fees like repainting after just six months of use.

Thanks so much, this would be our first rental.

Scott L.

Without knowing more about the house, I just don't think it is worth renting it out for 6 months.  You may diminish some of the value of your new refurb and plus it's going to be hard to find tenants that will be looking for somewhere to live for just 6 months.  I think your best bet is to leave it on the market and see if you can find a buyer in the slow time.  If you have done a good job and priced competevely it shouldn't be on the market that long.  

Originally posted by @Scott L. :

Hi, I'm an investor in a single-family home in southern CT. We completed refurb and got it listed in September, but it's not clear it will get an acceptable offer by November, then it gets quiet for sales. Therefore, we're thinking of offering both for-sale and as a 6-month rental over the winter, effective immediately.

Do BP members have any advice on this?

  • What is demand like for 6 month rentals? Some have said we need to be relatively low on monthly rent given the short period, others have said we can charge more because renters usually want long leases.
  • Any particular marketing approaches or lease terms work well with 6-month renters?
  • Will costs be an issue? I'm thinking of legal feels to draw our first rental contract, and home touch up fees like repainting after just six months of use.

Thanks so much, this would be our first rental.

Scott L.

 Hi Scott,  

1.) Demand is all local to the area. This is coming from a Real Estate Broker in NYC, each borough and area in just this city is very different. Here, there is demand all the time as long as the price is right. 

More demand during the summer months than the winter months (no one wants to move when it is cold and raining/snowing). Look at who would be your typical tenant? For example if you are you in a college area, it might be difficult if school already started and they found their home for the semester. 

Also you need to look into CT law about renting for 6 months. In New York, there are month-to-month leases and year leases. If you rent it month-to-month and if the tenants move out halfway through now you have to find two sets of tenants for that period and the 2nd tenant would only stay for 2-3 months which you might find difficult. 

2.) If I owned this real estate, I would advertise it for a 6 month lease (if allowed by your state) and see what kind of response you get and if you find someone good take it. You will know the market once you get real responses and showings.   

3.) I would look at the dollar amount you'd be getting during this time and compare it with the work that you will need to do after they move-out.  

I hope this was helpful Scott. 

I do six month all the time....  and month to month works, too....but (here is the main issue  I see)... 

I find a noticeable difference in pristine, showroom sales condition and what I call or have heard called fair "rental condition" (clean, functional, but not perfect)...

Unless you get a  super careful tenant, your unit will be closer to rental condition after the six month tenancy than pristine sales condition. There will be little things here and there that a buyer may notice...

So plan on getting it back up to snuff for sales condition (and this would probably just be shining up from normal wear and tear that you can't chase the tenant for).

In short, if you are really just dead set on selling, I would focus the energy on marketing, sales condition, networking, creative terms, etc... 

Just sticking a toe into the landlording for a short time could be costly if that is not your long term plan for the property (and it may end not so great for landlord or tenant). Concurring with Steven in a longer format with  my main reason. You will essentially have to re-do the process you just completed to get the place ready to show...

You definitely need to consider how renting may affect the wow factor of the house.  People like to buy new.  I would think a 6 month lease would be better for tenants.  Good luck either way you go