We had a house in Ohio we were trying to sell for four or five years. Every realtor in town had someone they wanted us to rent it to, but brought us very few concrete purchase offers (of course, the best one was the first one that came immediately after we listed the house and we stupidly turned it down. Lesson learned there). The last thing in the world I wanted to be was a landlord, and certainly not a long distance landlord. Two years ago we finally sold that place. We probably could have made a decent income had we decided to rent it, but quite honestly, I was at a different phase of my life, and all I wanted to do was to cut ties and move on. I certainly wasn’t looking for any more responsibilities in my life either. I’m now looking at the advantages of possibly doing this, but it won’t be for a few years, and if we do it, it would be in an area near us so we could still keep an eye on things. I don’t want to give the responsiblity to someone else when we can do for ourselves.
That’s the first thing I’d do differently. But the other issues – the turnaround time between reported issues and needing to repair them, spending money to draw up papers that didn’t do anything to help us later, the property manager that tried to steal it right out from under us, and the delays between knowing we had a problem and being able to act on it – those are all issues where our proximity would not have made a difference.
I know a lot of folks make a very nice return on rental properties. This was definitely not an average experience. I guess I’d prefer to do my investing in ways where we aren’t so exposed to things going so sour. Knowing that the tenant met the realtor at the door with a shotgun? I can go a long, LONG time before I ever want to be associated with that sort of thing again.