Published February 6, 2020. Updated June 22, 2023.
Moving into your next phase of life in Seattle is exciting—but you have decisions to make. Leaving a house behind means you've probably been asking yourself this question a lot as moving day draws near: "Should I rent my home or sell it?"
The best thing for your Seattle home—and your finances—depends on your needs and the market. If renting your home is the best option, you'll need to either know how to find tenants and prep your property renters or find a professional Seattle property management company that does.
However, if you absolutely need to sell, shoot for a seller's market to yield the best returns.
As an expert property manager in Seattle, we admit that we think renting is the right call. This is because a rental property supports your long-term wealth and financial security far more than a quick sale. So, how do you determine which option is right for you? Keep reading for insights into making the best decision to rent out or sell your home.
Reasons to Rent Your Seattle Home
The current Seattle market is highly competitive, making it challenging for some sellers to sell quickly or at the price they have in mind. With the fluctuations in the housing market over the last several years, it's hard to predict what can happen or the ideal time to sell a house without sitting on the market for too long or at a too-low price.
So, what's the alternative to playing the "what-if" or waiting game to see if your primary residence will sell at a competitive price? Many homeowners are turning their homes into rentals!
While there are two sides to the rental property story, the local housing market in Seattle is an excellent place for owning rental properties for several reasons, including:
Long-term rental property income can be an excellent addition to what you currently enjoy in your career.
The job opportunities, walkability, public transportation, entertainment, restaurants, and balance between urban life and nearby nature make Seattle an attractive place to live for renters. This leads to short vacancy cycles for rental properties.
Your home continues to appreciate—while you earn rental income. Making money off your property while the markets hit their peak is like getting paid to wait!
In sluggish markets, a rental property still has value: there will always be another tenant looking to rent.
When considering if it's best to "rent vs sell home," keep these factors in mind! A rental can be an excellent way to build passive income—even for first-time landlords.
When It's Best to Say Goodbye to Your Home and Sell It
While we think having at least one rental property is a smart idea, there are certain circumstances where selling your home is in your best interest. If the market is blazing hot for sellers, look at the numbers for your property. If the numbers say "sell," it could be the right decision.
Here are some factors to consider when thinking about a sale.
Can You Afford to Be a Landlord?
If you need to liquify your home to have access to immediate cash assets, then being a landlord and operating your home as a rental isn't ideal.
Ideally, you should have 2-3 months' worth of savings to buffer your rental property if you can't find residents or have to make a major repair. If a tenant doesn't pay rent (or pays late) for one month, which is enough to teeter your finances over the edge, selling your home might be better for you.
Of course, you can always work with an expert Seattle property management company to find renters who pay on time or negotiate the best rates for repairs to your home, but having a savings buffer is always recommended.
Would You Gain More From a Sale?
Even if the numbers aren't as good as you'd like, if you're not interested in turning your property into a long-term investment, selling is probably the best decision. If you need to move quickly and need the cash from a sale to finance your next adventure despite the current market, this is a sound choice.
However, if you're open to the idea of turning your former home into a rental, you might enjoy the long-term income! You can move across town, to another state, or out of the country and still make money on a rental property with the right professional handling your house.
How Can Homeowners Make the Right Decision?
When considering whether to rent or sell your Seattle home, consult an expert Seattle property manager!
Property managers like our experienced team here at Real Property Associates can give you insight into what it would take to get your property ready for the rental market. We'll also run the numbers and give you a financial picture of what your property is worth in monthly rent.
As you think about whether renting might be right for you, ask the following questions:
What are the monthly expenses for your home? Include the mortgage payment (if you have one), property taxes, insurance, and any HOA fees. Then, balance this against what you can charge for rent based on careful market analysis.
Can you charge enough monthly rent? The right rental price is competitive in the market, covers your expenses, and leaves you with money in your pocket at the end of the month.
Do you have a plan for managing the property? If you're moving out of state, you aren't close enough to manage your property. You'll need local help to make sure the passive income you want from the property stays passive.
Don't let the initial homework scare you away from pursuing a long-term income strategy! A Seattle property management company can handle everything you need to do to maintain a rental property and make sure your "new" investment property delivers positive returns as a passive investment!
From collecting the rent to finding renters and managing maintenance, you won't have to worry about a thing—except where your property manager should send the earnings from your rental income each month!
Should I Rent My Home Or Sell It? Let Our Seattle Property Managers Help You Decide!
The right Seattle property management company won't encourage you to turn your property into a rental if it's not the best solution for you! Since 1991, Real Property Associates has been helping Seattle homeowners like you transform their homes into rental properties.
Using our local experience and property management expertise, our rental experts can provide a detailed analysis of your home! If we feel it's an opportunity you shouldn't miss, we'll help you get your property ready to rent to generate long-term wealth. Get in touch with us to learn more about your property's untapped potential!