Sell Your House or Rent It?

Is it smarter to become a landlord than pay a big, fat capital gains tax? Here are the pros and cons of renting and selling your house.
Timeless Cape Cod Exterior

Timeless Cape Cod Exterior

A circular drive leads to the entrance of the East Hampton home, complete with a picturesque tree swing in the front yard. Decorative black shutters and crisp white siding is a timeless combination.

By: Tammy Stoner

Before we spin the wheel of house selling, answer this one question: Have you lived in the house you intend to sell at least two of the past five years? If not, you might incur early mortgage payoff penalties and capital gains tax --- two very hefty bills that may make it financially unwise to sell your home. There are ways to avoid capital gains tax --- job change, divorce, death of a spouse, etc., so check with your accountant if you think you might be the exception to this firm rule.

If you have not lived in your home for two of the last five years, or you have the capital to finance another move without selling your home, or if the market is slow in your area, you might want to consider renting. When budgeting for a renter, be sure to include the following costs:

  • Mortgage payment
  • Property tax
  • Homeowner insurance
  • Homeowner association dues (if applicable)
  • Property management company (if applicable)
  • House maintenance

Also, check to be sure your property insurance premiums won’t change if you convert your residence into a rental property. Above all, prepare yourself mentally: Realize this house is no longer your home but your rental property.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Real Estate Survival Guide: Seller's Checklist

Refer to this 10-step checklist to get you through the home-selling process.

Real Estate Survival Guide: Buyer's Checklist

Refer to this 10-step checklist to get you through the homebuying process.

How Soon Can I Sell My Home?

Is flipping your house a good idea? Here's what you need to know.

Staging Tips for Selling During the Holidays

Before you deck the halls, see which holiday decor can help you sell.

Top 10 Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Attract homebuyers even during the holidays with these useful tips.

Fresh News for 'Fixer Upper' Fans: Chip and Joanna to Open 'Hillcrest Estate' in Waco

Chip and Joanna Gaines announce their latest project — a beautifully restored colonial style home that will open as a vacation rental property.

A Buyer's Guide to Open House Etiquette

Master these dos and don'ts of house hunting.

Essential Home-Selling Tips

What is staging? Sabrina Soto, Get It Sold host and home-staging expert, knows. Here are her top tips for helping you compete in today's real estate market.

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.