How to analyze your own house as a rental property?

5 Replies

My family is moving out of state and we're trying to decide whether to sell our current home or keep it as an investment property. How would I go about doing that analysis via one of the Bigger Pockets calculators? 

From the outset, @Roger Schiller , understand that many, many residential properties do not make good rentals. If your home is worth more than $130k or so, it most likely is not a great candidate. That's the point at which home values and rents tend to diverge and no longer hit the 1% rule. 

I would run two calculations: Cash Flow Analysis and Return on Equity (ROE).

Cash flow is pretty straight forward. It's simply:
Gross Scheduled Rent (GSR)
  - Vacancy (5%)
- Maintenance and CapEx (15% combined)
  - Management (10%)
  - Property Taxes
  - Insurance
=Monthly Cash Flow; I like to see $150-200/unit/month. 

To calculate ROE: [Yearly Cash Flow / Total Equity = ROE] where Equity is [Fair Market Value - Mortgage Balance]. Ideally, you probably want this to be 10% or higher. If it's down around 8% you need to give it some thought. Every month that the property goes up in value and mortgage get paid down, your ROE decreases

Thanks @Jaysen Medhurst . Yeah, from the research I've done, just because you own your home doesn't necessarily make it a good rental property, and I want to be clear-eyed about this. So I ran the numbers using your assumptions for vacancy, maintenance and capex, and management; last year's property tax bill, escalated a bit to account for an increased assessment; my current insurance premium; and the Zillow estimates for my home value and monthly rent (not ideal but hopefully good enough for a quick and dirty estimate). The cash flow came out to $576/month (which seems high) but ROE was just 5.19%. Does that indicate I'd be better off taking the equity out and using it elsewhere?

Only you can answer whether you can make better use of the equity.  Earning 5.19%/month is far better than what banks will pay you in a 5 year CD.  It is not as good as historical annual returns on an S&P 500 index (about 8%).  If you do not have any good ideas for its use, likely better to stay put for now and collect the extra $7,000 your former home will provide you (+ mortgage paydown).  

True, and it did occur to me that 5.19% doesn't compare favorably to the long-run average of the stock market. I'm a big believer in index funds so perhaps that would be my best bet. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by staying put, but the decision to move has already been made. Thanks!