Once we made the decision to stay in Europe for the foreseeable future, we had to decide on what to do with our main house. Our original plan had been to rent the house for a year. That way, we could always come back if we were tired of the journey. It has now been 18 months since we left the U.S. Frankly, the pull to go back is not there. There are people l miss, but most of my family no longer reside in the U.S. The same goes for my husband, most of his family are in Rome.Selling our primary residence was therefore not a very hard decision. We had a family rent the place shortly before we left. She signed on for a year, with the option to extend. She fell in love with the area and sub division and decided to purchase a home of her own. We used a realtor l had never met before and it was all done via email. I had heard her name often from the other women in the subdivision. She was awesome! To sign the escrow documents, we went to the U.S consulate and poof, Fedexed it back!
Okay.. I will miss my own part of the bathroom!
okay..so l miss my granite counter top..
We were left with two choices, rent it again, or sell it. We both decided on selling. Here are the reasons why:
– It was the biggest piece in our portfolio. Even though the rent covered the mortgage, insurance, HOA fees, etc..etc.. and even had some profit left over, it was still a big amount to pay every month. Just the 3 months that it was unoccupied while we prepared to sell and to actually sell it was an outlay of over $16,000. This included having to turn all the utilities on, repairing things that had broken, painting, pool repairs and of course mortgage. I don’t like dipping into our savings when it’s empty.
– Renters are not the best at keeping your place in tip-top shape. For instance, the renter used the AC a lot. She did not change the filter (which cost like 10 bucks!). Instead, she just ignored the water that was seeping out of the walls from a back flow of the condenser. You couldn’t miss it. It was in the master closet. Anyway, end result was $1100 repair for something that could have been avoided. Her dogs also destroyed some doors and some part of the deck, but we were able to deduct damages from the deposit.
– To get tax-free profit from the sale, you had to have lived in the house for 2 out of 5 years before selling. Since we did not know how long we would stay abroad, we thought it better to take the profit now, than have to force ourselves to go back before we were ready.
– Property values in Texas never skyrocket, unlike California. There is just so much land, the hottest sub division today might not stay that way for long, and new one pop up continuously. Our house was only 7 years old, but a lot of people consider that old already, which is insane! Our last house in Cali was like 60 years old, and was still “younger” than our previous one.Right now, it’s a seller’s market as the economy is booming in Houston especially. We felt it wise to sell.
– We never look back. I tend to love things when l have them. That house was special to us. It was newly built, and we got to choose the cabinets, floors, etc. It was a wonderful house, but once we left, that was it. There is no insane emotional attachment. I always buy with selling in mind. For instance, l can’t swim, but made sure we had a pool so l could sell at a premium when the time came. My husband did enjoy the pool though..as did the neighbors. I was fine watching from under the pergola! Even if we moved back to the U.S, l am pretty sure we would try another state, just for kicks!
– Despite the fact that we had property managers, it was still a pain to deal with. I liked using my own workers because they were like 60% cheaper than the workers used by them (they don’t really care very much since it’s not their money). Time differences made it a challenge.
Okay..so l will miss my big ass screen and movie seats
that used to be in this theater room. Still don’t know why she moved it..
– We now have just two rental properties left. A lot easier to deal with and the profit is fine. If we do go back to Texas, we can move into the house that is currently rented and keep the condo as the only rental.
So far, we are happy renting for a change.. anything breaks, we just call the landlord. I must say we are awesome tenants though, perhaps because we have been on the other side. We take care of things!
What do you think? would you have kept the property instead of selling? What about home ownership? is it for you?