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Old 12-25-2012, 10:51 PM   #1
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Decison! Decison!

I have a condo apartment in a decent high rise, concierge building. It is safe and probably fit my hoped for ER style the best. I can leave it while I travel, and don't have to worry about the place. The condo fee is quiet expensive, as is the general cost of living in the area.

I have the place rented out while I took a job out of town before ER. The rent collected not only covered the condo fee, but is almost enough to pay for rent for my out of town place. The tenant I rented to says that he wants to continue with the lease for at least the next year or so.

I am an incidental landlord because of circumstances. I had not planned on being one. The present tenant is very good and responsible person. The building actually is very picky as to who you can rent to (the potential tenant has to be interviewed), so tenant from hell probably may not happen. And the place is in a good area that the rental agent is confident that I can easily find tenants after the present one decides on other plans. I would appreciate feedbacks as to whether I should go back to the condo because of how it may fit the ER life I hope to lead the best, or take advantage of the not unattractive situation that made me an incidental landlord. The rent differentials can cover a significant portion of the rent if I move to cities like Las Vegas or Houston.

The downside of moving to LV or Hou is either one is a long and big move, and I do not know people in those towns. And I don't know if I can leave a place there unoccupied for weeks to travel, given property crimes are apparently quite high in those two cities.

But long term, the condo is in a high tax, high cost of living area, and like I said the condo fee is high enough to be a consideration. ( i.e. should I continue to pay the high condo fee or use the money for travel or other splurges?)

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Old 12-25-2012, 11:59 PM   #2
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Do you want to live in your condo and can you afford to? If the answers are yes and yes, then you should wait till your tenant's lease is up, or find a mutually agreeable time, and move in, as you had originally intended.

If you either can't afford to live in your condo, or you no longer want to, and you can rent it to a good tenant for a sum that covers your condo fees and more, and if this is a positive cash flow situation (taking into account mortgage payments too) then why not remain a landlord? If all of these conditions are met you have made a good investment.

The question of moving to Las Vegas or Houston is a personal decision which only you can make.

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Old 12-26-2012, 03:49 AM   #3
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You might want to review the tax domicile rules of the state where the condo is to make sure that owning rental property in that state is not enough to make you liable for income taxes there, if any.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:36 AM   #4
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Would you be going to another condo in the other cities and would you be buying or renting?
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:17 AM   #5
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Bondi, where do you want to live?
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:05 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback so far.

I can afford the condo fee. Do I love the condo? It is a typical urban condo , safe and anonymous but overpriced and impersonal. It fits a traveling ER lifestyle in that you can leave it for months and because it has concierge service, it is absolutely safe to do so. It is somewhat like choosing a nicer hotel close to a business meeting or going to stay in a hotel that is farther away, but is cheaper, and has left over enough to have a nice dinner and even a show.

If I sell the place, which I prefer not to at this point because of the purchase price I paid and the housing market downturn, I can get a pretty decent HOUSE in Texas. But I do not know if I want to commit to buying a house because I had never lived in Houston or LV, and had just briefly visited there before, so I do not know the neighborhoods, the weather and whether I'll like the cities etc. I am also not sure whether I'll love the hassle and cost of actual HOUSE ownership instead of condo living. I really do not know where I want to live, and I do not know whether I may just stick to the crass criteria of it being a big enough city with the amenities, lower cost of living, low tax and no state estate tax. My main goal is actually using it as a base camp to pursue, while I am physically fit, an ER traveler life, a step from the weather.

I love the positive cash flow aspect of being an accidental landlord, but I suppose if I sell the house, put the money in Wellington Fund or something like that, I'll still have money coming in, without having to be concerned about the high condo fee, tax and domicile, potential tenant problem and having a break in occupancy and paying for 2 places. Having the place rented now and allow for housing price to recover before I look at whether I eventually should sell is a good temporizing measure.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:37 AM   #7
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The condo is "impersonal", eh? That should be easy to fix with a little creativity. Otherwise it seems to have a lot going for it.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:15 AM   #8
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Sounds like you are in a great position to continue with the lease for another year and use the time and flexibility to research a potential move to a lower cost city. Both Houston and Las Vegas (as well as other decent sized cities) will have housing options that include condos (either apartment style or townhome/garden home style) as well as townhome/garden home developments with gated security, lawn maintenance, etc. Sounds like all of those could be options. Also remember that in a city the size of Houston (4th largest in the USA I think), there are areas of very low crime and areas of much higher crime - generalization isn't really indicative.

Perhaps you could do a 2-4 month rental in a several different cities to "test drive" whether you would like living there and also explore neighborhoods. FWIW, if Houston is on your potential list and you've never lived there in the summer, I would make one of the months July or August - pretty nasty heat and humidity that you may want to experience before committing to a move.

Good luck and keep us posted!

"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute." William Feather
ER'd Oct. 2010 at 53. Life is good.
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