Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rent or Sell, pt. 2

Well, today the whole discussion became moot. We rented. Now all we have to do is think through what we learned in the process. First, the rental market has changed significantly in this last year. This same unit went unrented for five months in 2005/6. We eventually had to lower our asking price by $50 and even then it was only a coincidence that I was at the unit when an agent was showing one next door and I got an opportunity to show her client our unit. We had even gone so far as to stage the place like realtors sometimes do to sell their houses. Anyway, things have definitely changed. The unit was listed at in the mid of May, and we just put a sign up last Tuesday. Saturday, we got our first call, and while I was there interviewing the new renter, two more couples came by to take applications. When I got home I had another call on the unit, and an email from someone else. The second thing we learned was that by hooking up with the local realtor and contractor we were able to find out much more about the community and the rental needs of our prospective clients. The contractor, for instance, was also an investor with rentals and he told us that in his experience when foreclosures go up so do the amount of renters. Meanwhile, the landscaper we used to remove a tree and some shrubbery added this observation from his years of servicing rental properties. "Making it pretty may rent it but don't expect the renter to keep it that way. They're only renting." This was especially timely since my partner tends to treat every project as though she were going to live there herself. The third thing we learned is just how more extensive the internet information has become. We were able to find a local realtor, check out the local contractor and compare his bid, and then find out in depth what we should actually expect once we hired him. Overall it just seemed as though the whole experience became one serendipitous event.

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