Sunday, June 7, 2009

To Sell or Not to Sell, That's The Big Decision!

Should I sell my dad's house or should I fix it up and rent it? Perhaps I could keep it and let the cats continue living upstairs and just rent out the downstairs. While my dad was still alive, we discussed this and his advice to me was to sell it.

After all, it was a double so I could get two rents from it but it needed some work. The thing is, renting is not an easy matter. My dad had several rental properties when we were growing up but he could do the fixing up himself, unlike me. My dad's house needed quite a bit of work. There was a major plumbing problem that had to be fixed which would involve breaking up the ceiling of the downstairs bathroom to get at the pipes. Several people advised me to sell who had bad experience with renters, including the plumber. It's very hard to find good renters who take care of the property and pay promptly. Since I didn't know anyone who was looking for rent, it would have been hard to find steady long-term renters. Plus, I already had sunk a ton of money into it so would have had to rent it for 3 years getting $400 per month just to break even, providing nothing else had to be repaired in that time.

Part of me wanted to fix it up real nice like the granddaughter did in Leota's Garden by Francine Rivers. It actually was looking pretty good once we got the clutter cleared out and I remembered some fun times there. I still liked the upstairs back porch and since that's where we were when Gerard proposed to me, it had some sentimental value for us. We wouldn't want to live there though because we like our house better and it's in a better neighborhood. Renting is a headache. I tried renting it for a month to someone willing to live there and take care of the cats on a short-term basis and found out that I wasn't comfortable with that.

Also, the cats played a part in this too. Obviously, I couldn't sell the house with them in it so I tried to find them homes, unsuccessfully. This was another reason why I considered hanging on to it at least for awhile and taking my good old time selling it because the cats could continue to live there and I could just keep going over a couple times every day to take care of them. After all, my dad let them live in his upstairs rent free for years. However, this was not a very practical solution and Gerard was not real happy about me having to run over there all the time--he wanted his wife back and I couldn't blame him.

Once I had the place cleaned out, I decided to follow my dad's advice and sell it, concluding that I'd rather put money into our house than that one. I priced it very reasonably, put it up for sale the last week of May 2007 and it sold within a week for which I was very grateful. We used money from the sale for a brand new Kia and to remodel our basement and still have a nice chunk left in savings. I think following my dad's advice was wise in this situation.


BeadedTail said...

Renting isn't easy and is often a big headache unless the tenants are great and there no repair issues come up - a hard combination to find in reality. Sounds like selling was the perfect solution for you.

Mountain Woman said...

Karen, I think you were very wise. It's really hard to rent properties for all the reasons you described and with strange people living in the place, it wouldn't be the same at all as when your father was there. I can understand how hard it must have been for you to make that decision. It took me two years to sell our house after my husband died. I just couldn't bear the thought of parting with the memories but I finally did and it was better for me.
Thanks for sharing your story.

Joe-ann said...

yeah!I think that would be the easier way. The sentimental value of that house may be something that is hard to let go but for practical reasons then, selling it would give you lighter loads. I can imagine how hard it is doing all the stuff you've mentioned.

btw, thanks for your comment.great you have a whole year ticket.that's a lot of saving. I should better think about it as well.thanks!

DayPhoto said...

We have had, and still do rental property. Rentals are HARD very hard. People really do not respect rental property and it is hard to get them to leave even after they haven't paid rent FOR A YEAR. So selling is wise, unless you are like my husband and can fix things. (And have me for a wife who can be firm and strong when the rent isn't paid).

But I am curious what happened to all the cats?


bingkee said...

We had a neighbor who bought a condo to rent out. He was renting it out for more than 10 years but finally gave up and sold it because they said maintaining it was really a pain.
I think your decision to sell is better.

Mike Foster said...

I wouldn't sell until the market improves, but if you don't want to deal with renters, that makes sense too, leaving you with option three: keep the house as is.


Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Beaded Tail: Yeah, I found out renting is not so easy as it sounds.

Mountain Woman: I'm glad it take me two years to sell it! I just couldn't see paying the extra insurance and utilities on it.

Joe-ann: It's not like I grew up on that house. We moved in when I was in high school and was really only attached to the upstairs back porch.

Day Photo: I know my dad had some doosey renters when he had rental properties. I know it's tough throwing someone out even if they don't pay and so many people just take advantage whenever they can. I am not one who likes confrontation either so think I made the right decision to sell it. One less responsibility to deal with. Unfortunately, I had to have all three cats put down. This is the post I previously wrote about them:

Bingkee: Yep, this was an older house and maintaining it would definitely be costly and a chore. Especially if the renters wrecked it up like sometimes they do.

It was actually better that I sold it when I did (in 2007) because the economy even got worse since.

all: It seems the general consensus is that I made the right decision--just feel real bad about not being able to save the cats.

Carnation said...

hi thanks for dropping by my blog. yours is interesting. my sibs and i were planning to publish a book for my dad's 75th bday this august, like we did for my mom last year on her 75th. unfortunately my dad passed away last april. so the plan is on hold. we hope to push through with it ... thanks for your insights here. hope you can resolve on the house.

LadyFi said...

I rented my flat in England for ages, and it worked fine until she stopped paying the rent.

So, in the end, I sold it and was glad to be rid of the worry and extra expense...

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

It's a good thing you heeded your dad's advice. As they say, father knows best. You have just saved yourself a lot of trouble than if you just rented it out. Thanks for the post. God bless you always.

moxylyn said...

I'm glad all worked out with the house.. sorry to hear about the cats :(

"My Funny Dad, Harry" Book Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the giveaway for "My Funny Dad, Harry" at Red Pine Mountain. I am so happy that four of my regular commenters won! Read what Tim thought of it at Everyday Living.