Pros and Cons to Owning a Rental Property

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This post is kind of outside my normal comfort zone but after a particularly long weekend of working on our rental property, I felt like I should share my pros and cons to owning rental property for anyone who might be thinking about jumping into the landlord arena.

rental property

When our family was getting ready to PSC (permanent change of station to all you civilians out there – when the military moves you when and where they want you to go) to south Georgia, my husband and I thought that it would be the perfect time to buy our first home.  We were young, mostly broke and had two small kids.  By small, I mean that one was 2 and one was a month old!  My folks drove down from CO and we road tripped from Albuquerque to Georgia to house hunt.  My hubs was unable to come due to work, but I took tons of photos and we chose a little house that we fell in love with.

Pros and cons rental property

It was a foreclosure and needed tons of work.  It didn’t have flooring, no appliances, missing mirrors in the bathrooms and a slew of other issues, but we saw the potential.

Pros and cons rental property

We got right down to work and turned it into a great fit for us.  Little did we know that the Air Force had other plans in mind.  We were in our house for less than a year and a half when the AF gave us one month’s notice that we were PCSing yet again.  That might blow your mind, and if it does, you’d be right to feel that way.  People are generally “on station” (or in one location) for at least two years and are often given up to 6 months notice before a move.  Our situation was abnormal, but we had to roll with it.

Pros and cons rental property

Did I mention that we were young, broke kids?  Because that becomes important to the story right here.  We listed the house for sale but didn’t have the cash flow to pay for two households at once.  Without enough time to sell, we decided to rent it out and become landlords.

Pros and cons rental property

There have been ups and downs along the way.  It has been very hard to see a home that we loved, that we brought a baby home from the hospital to, that we went through our first deployment in become a “rental.”  You know what I am talking about…it’s never taken care of the way that you would and it almost ends up looking like an apartment with 100 coats of paint on the walls and scratches, dents and dings everywhere.  It broke my heart when we saw it after our first tenants left, and now we are about a dozen tenants in.

Pros and cons rental property

This past weekend my hubby, dad and I went down to Georgia (it’s an 8 hour drive from where we are in NC) to take care of some things and get it ready to rent again after our current tenant leaves.  And I gotta tell you, it doesn’t get easier to see it looking not at its prime.  But it did help me put some things in perspective and I came up with a pros and cons list.  In case you might be facing the same predicament, here are some things that I have learned in 8 years of being a landlord:

 

Pros

  • It generally pays the mortgage
  • You may meet some really great people
  • Occasionally you can help someone out and change their life
  • You might even make some money!

Cons

  • It can be heartbreaking business (you have to turn people down, evict them, and you see the slow destruction on your home)
  • You may lose money – sometimes lots of it
  • There is always upkeep and maintenance to take care of and that can be tough if you don’t live in the area
  • Finding new tenants can be a long and trying process

Pros and cons rental property

 

Overall, if put in the same situation we faced when we chose to rent our home, I would not do it again.  It doesn’t work for us.  We don’t use a management company and have faced some trying times.  We had to evict a tenant who was a hoarder.  We’ve replaced appliances that should not have broken but weren’t taken care of well enough.  It’s been tough for DIYers to have to pay someone to fix an easily repaired problem.

Pros and cons rental property

But I can say with some certainty that we’ve also met some great people and had some good moments as well.  And maybe in a month or two, when we are further out from this current round of tenant hunting and appliance repairs I might look at it in a fonder light.  🙂

Comments

  1. I’ll never rent out a house I’ve lived in again – I think I could do it if I purchased a home (with cash) for that purpose. It was awful when we were in the same situation because of a PCS and so emotionally invested in the home.

  2. Hey,
    I appreciate your efforts, this post is very helpful for everyone. It helped me a lot, Thanks for sharing all this information with us. Keep it up!

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