PCSing? Pros and Cons of Renting vs. Selling Your Home

A good number of military families like to buy a home when they know they are going to be at a duty station for a few years. What happens when it’s time to leave that duty station though? Do you put your house up for sale or do you rent it out?

We rented a house out after we PCSed halfway across the world. We had perfect renters and then we had horrible renters. There were also stretches where the house was empty after renters moved out. Thankfully, we could afford to pay the mortgage during those times. Renting your house out isn’t the best option for everyone, but it worked for us. There are members of the military who have bought houses at each duty station, renting them out when they leave. If a person is smart about it, buying fixer uppers or just getting lucky with the market, they can make a tidy sum on rental properties every month. Being a landlord is not for the faint of heart though.

Some may say putting the house up for sale is the right choice for them.

1. If this is what you want to do, make sure to put it on the market before you move. Some people will advise to do it when you get orders, others will wait until a couple months before. It’s really a crapshoot. The house could sell right away or it could sit for a long time. Consult a local realtor. They can give a better idea of what the local housing market looks like.
2. Make sure the house is ready to sell. Clean up the house, remove clutter, do any necessary repairs and finish any projects. Make sure the outside of the house looks perfect. Curb appeal is a huge deal. The outside is the first thing people see and you don’t want to turn them off before you even get them in the door.
3. Figure out the budget. What happens if you don’t sell the house in the time frame you anticipated? Is it affordable to pay the mortgage once you PCS? Can you handle the mortgage and rent at the new location? A VA loan can only be used on one property at a time and most of us don’t have the cash for a downpayment on another home. Do you put off buying at the new place?

On the other hand, you could always become a landlord.

1. Contact management companies about what your house would rent for. In some locations it is easy to make money, while in other locations, you may be paying a portion of the mortgage out of pocket.
2. Since you won’t be living close by, find a reputable management company to take care of the day to day for you. They will charge a percentage of the rent every month, usually around 10%, along with a good portion (half to all) of the first’s month rent. It is worth it to have someone to collect the rent, take care of maintenance, and any other issues that arise.
3. Can you afford to pay the mortgage if the renter’s don’t pay? This happened to us and thankfully, we could pay the mortgage. The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society won’t help pay the mortgage on a home you are renting out. I’m not sure of the other aid society’s, but I’m guessing it’s the same.
4. Can you afford repairs? As a landlord, you are obligated to repair certain things. We set up a separate bank account for the rent to be deposited in to. After the mortgage was paid, there was a couple hundred left every month. We left it in that account for any repairs that came up.
5. Would you eventually plan to sell the house? Renters can do a lot of damage on a home. Even the little things that might not be so obvious are a big deal when it comes to selling. Would you be able to put thousands of dollars into getting it ready to sell down the road?
6. All rental income received is considered taxable. A Schedule E will need to be filed every year to show your rental income. There are also deductions though, including mortgage interest, management fees, and repairs. This was actually helpful for us. For tax purposes, we took a loss on the house every year, decreasing our AGI and causing us to owe less in taxes.
7. If the house is in a neighborhood that is depreciating or going downhill, it might be wise to sell while you can. Rental income may go down over time or stay stagnant. You may also attract the wrong kind of people. On the otherhand, if the neighborhood is up and coming, it may be wise to hang on to the house for a few years, hoping it appreciates and hope for the best.
8. If the odds are that you will be coming back to the area, maybe it’s wise to rent it. Then, you can easily move back into your home again.

Have you been in this situation? Did you rent or sell your home?


Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford: Audiobook Review

Are you a fan on Downton Abbey? If so, odds are you’ll like this book. I’m assuming anyways, I’ve never actually watched Downton Abbey. MacMillan Audio sent me a copy of Cavendon Hall to review and I can’t tell you how much I loved it! This was one of those audiobooks that I would sit in my car and listen to for as long as possible before having to go into work in the mornings. I would get antsy about wanting to get back to it by the end of the day. Audiobooks have seriously saved my commute.

Cavendon Hall

About the book:  Cavendon Hall is home to two families, the aristocratic Inghams and the Swanns who serve them. Charles Ingham, the sixth Earl of Mowbray, lives there with his wife Felicity and their six children. Walter Swann, the premier male of the Swann family, is valet to the earl. His wife Alice, a clever seamstress who is in charge of the countess’s wardrobe, also makes clothes for the four daughters. For centuries, these two families have lived side-by-side, beneath the backdrop of the imposing Yorkshire manor. Lady Daphne, the most beautiful of the Earl’s daughters, is about to be presented at court when a devastating event changes her life and threatens the Ingham name. With World War I looming, both families will find themselves tested in ways they never thought possible. Loyalties will be challenged and betrayals will be set into motion. In this time of uncertainty, one thing is sure: these two families will never be the same again.

Ok. The synopsis above is correct, but it only covers a portion of the book. It starts in 1914 and WWI is just around the corner. It continues on through the end of the war in 1918 though. A lot happens, but it is a wonderful story. The Inghams live in Cavendon Hall. While we here their stories, we also hear stories of their staff, the Swanns as well as others. It is interesting to hear it from both sides. Their lives are intertwined, yet they aren’t. Seriously though, this was a wonderful book. I’ve read a few of Barbara Taylor Bradford’s books and they weren’t bad, just ok. This was by far my favorite though.

I’m in the car almost 2 hours a day. I like listening to music, but sometimes there is just nothing on. That’s when I turn to audiobooks. Once I get started, I have to finish it too. I’m thinking that even if you aren’t a big reader, you’ll still enjoy listening to the stories.

I was given a copy of the audiobook in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. 

Long Weekends and Stuff

I’m ridiculously excited about this long weekend. The in-laws are coming down and we are going full America. Sprint car races and the county fair. Well, everyone else has today off work, I don’t. So, I don’t get to go to the fair. My husband never remembers that in the civilian world, you don’t get 2 days off for 1 holiday. A 3 day holiday weekend doesn’t automatically become 4 days. Doesn’t work like that out here.

I bought plane tickets! The big vacation this year? Missouri. I’m going home. In the past 4 years, I’ve been home for all of 3 days and that was last August when I went to pick my car up. There are family members I haven’t seen since 2010. I’ve been making mental lists of the things I want to do, places I want to go, people I want to see, and places I need to eat.  The food list is pretty high up there. It’s actually really high up there. I will eat everywhere I want to eat and everyone else can just get over it.

Speaking of food, I’ve been watching my intake again. I haven’t really paid attention to it in a while. I mean, I pay attention, but I haven’t been writing it down. I downloaded the app I used to use and sadly, when I logged back in, it had my info from 2011. I weighed 13 lbs less in 2011. Boo. So, I’m watching what I eat and getting some form of exercise in, even if it’s just a long walk.

We got an offer on our house! There was negotiating back and forth, but I’m satisfied with where we ended up. The inspection is today. I don’t anticipate issues, my husband bought the house new, but you never know. Fingers crossed!

Some nice soul nominated me for this top military mom blog thing. I’d appreciate a vote. You can vote once a day, for up to 5 blogs. There’s a great bunch of bloggers on the list. Just scroll down to me, I’m number 32. It’s the same picture that’s over there —–>.

What She Wore Wednesday

We are in week 7 already!

When she had her preschool graduation a few weeks ago, they requested the kids all wear red, white and blue. That left her with the perfect Fourth of July outfit! 

Along with wanting to pick props for her shoots, she has now decided she should take pictures of me. She instructs me how to stand and where to put my hands, then I end up with 38 pictures of me in the exact same pose, with about 12 pictures of me walking towards her telling her to stop taking pictures. Please ignore my awesome tan lines. 

Her – Dress, Jacket, Sandals – Old Navy / Headband – Danica’s Chic Bowtique

Me – Dress, Sunglasses – Target / Sandals – Fibi & Clo