Rent or Sell Handbook


Are you a property owner — or a real estate investor?

You may never have considered the prospect of real estate investment. At the same time, you may have been considering it for years, but have yet to

make the leap. The reasons for getting into real estate vary. Regardless of your reason — whether you’re a first-time home buyer, upgrading to accommodate a growing family, or you’re in it to turn a profit — it’s comforting to know that real estate is still one of few investments that has a long-proven track record, and a potential ROI beyond that of your 401K, stocks or bonds. When it comes to stability and tax advantages, real estate investment simply can’t be beat.

At Renters Warehouse, we know this all too well. So when one of the most commonly asked questions we saw popping up is ‘should I turn my property into a rental income property, or should I sell?’, we decided to share three quick ways to analyze the opportunity.

*The information contained in this Handbook is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended, nor should it be used as a substitute for tax, accounting, investment, legal, or other professional advice. Renters Warehouse recommends working with a licensed tax professional and certified financial advisor to help you analyze the financial implications of real estate investment. This Handbook provides examples only. Actual results and experience may vary.

1. The Basic Sell Analysis

Think you are better off selling your home? Do the quick math to understand how much you could get today. A few things to remember:

  • Selling your home is a one-time transaction, not recurring revenue.
  • Realtor fees are typically around 6% of the sale.
  • Your house may not sell for the value you want or close in the timeframe you’re expecting.

Below is an example calculation for a home priced at $300,000.

The Basic Sell Analysis

Value of your home $300,000
Debt (Usually your mortgage) $270,000
Equity $30,000
Realtor Fees (Typically 6%) $18,000
*Profit $12,000

* To keep these calculations straightforward, we have excluded other common variable costs and fees associated to selling your home, like closing costs, legal fees, property tax adjustments, mortgage prepayments and discharge fees. The rate of these costs depend on various factors, but should be included in your calculations if using these figures to make an informed selling decision.

Now, let’s take a longer-term look at your potential return on an investment property.

2. Cash-on-Cash Analysis

We like to call this The Napkin Test and have created a quick video to show you how we make these calculations. Simply put, this is the annual cash low divided by the cash invested. A few things to keep in mind:

Annual Cash Flow / Cash Invested = Cash-On-Cash Analysis

  • After your mortgage is paid off, almost all of your rental income becomes profit!
  • In most cases, your cash invested is your down payment.
  • The ideal rental price is based on: the desirability for the unit, market demand, the ability to attract the perfect tenants, is priced on par with competing units, and leads to profits.

Cash-On-Cash Analysis

Market rent (What you can rent your place for) $1,600
Debt (Usually your mortgage) $1,200
Cash Flow $400
Annual Cash Flow (Cash flow x 12 months) $4,800
Purchase Price $300,000
Down Payment 10%
Cash Invested $30,000
Annual Cash Flow $4,800
Cash Invested $30,000
Cash-on-Cash Return (%) 16%

And there you have it. Now you have two important numbers to compare: how much you’d make selling your property today versus your potential rate of return on an investment property. But we aren’t done yet. Before you make any decisions to rent or sell your home, there is still one more comparison to make … how your rental income property measures up to other investments.

3. How Does Your Property Measure Up To Other Investments?

Holding your property for rent may easily outweigh the benefits of the one-time sale, but you might want to see how it compares to other investments, like your 401K. The table below allows you to make a simple comparison calculation between the two over a 1, 5, and 30-year investment.

Cash-On-Cash Analysis

Rental Income Property  
$300,000 Rental Income Property  
One-Year Profits $4,800
Five-Year Profits $24,000
Thirty-Year Profits $144,000
Appreciation Value (*2% / year) $243,408.48
Value of Home in 30 Years $543,408.48
Sell Current Home  
Immediate Profits $12,000
401k (*Typical 5% rate of return) Assuming a $30,000 investment (same as the down payment)
One-Year Profits $1,500
Five-Year Profits $7,500
Thirty-Year Profits $45,000

* Appreciation rate subject to 13-county Twin Cities metro area (approximately 2-2.5%)

Now that you’ve done all the basic calculations, you have three numbers to compare; the revenue from selling your home today, your investments, and the value of your home in 30 years. A short-term payout may be a good option if you are needing immediate cash, but as an investment opportunity you risk losing out on long-term gains. So tell us: are you a property owner or a real estate investor?

We’re experts in the art of residential real estate negotiation.

Additional blank worksheets are available for you to work from, for your convenience: Worksheets

Check out the Tax Benefits page for information regarding your rental property.