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Hi! Turning 57, retiring, and moving to the lake! Any absentee landlords out there?
Old 12-17-2016, 06:15 PM   #1
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Hi! Turning 57, retiring, and moving to the lake! Any absentee landlords out there?

Reading as much as I can on early retirement since I'm taking the plunge next month. I'm being a Nervous Nelly tho since I've worked pretty much since I was 16. I've got 25+ years in state retirement. My DH had 30 years federal service, so we both have pensions as well as residential rental income. We're planning to really shake things up by selling our house and moving to a beautiful lake in the East TN foothills. Originally thought we'd sell our 2 rental houses, but the income they generate is far better than anything I can imagine putting the proceeds in. Anybody have stories they'd like to share on being absentee landlords?
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Old 12-18-2016, 05:23 AM   #2
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Unless you have good long term tenants you might want to consider a property management company. Trying to handle problems from a distance can be a daunting task.
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Old 12-18-2016, 05:29 AM   #3
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I have not been an absentee landlord but I would just add up how many things you do conveniently because you are near by, and consider how to do them if you are far. You may need to have a local person to provide some management. As a general suggestion, you might wait a while before selling your house and moving. Retiring is by itself a major life change, as is moving. It would be wise not to stack up such changes if it can be avoided. Get used to being retired, then get on with the move.
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Old 12-18-2016, 06:20 AM   #4
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We're definitely planning to hire someone to handle maintenance issues, but we want to stay in charge of tenant screening. We're moving about 7 hours away, so can come back when necessary to show the houses. I was hoping to hear how this has worked out for others. DrRoy, I totally understand your comment about stacking up too much change, because I do feel a bit overwhelmed. It is a lot to take on at once, but as it turned out, we found our dream house this spring, quite unexpectedly and earlier than we intended. We leased it for 6 months to a couple who were building, but that lease ends 12/31. We have a $2,000 mortgage on the new house until we get our current residence sold, so there is that pressure. I do wish I could ease into retirement, but that's probably not in the cards. The good news is we're really excited about where we're moving and ready to get on with our next phase. I'm just gonna have to keep the Xanax refilled!
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:22 AM   #5
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Absentee Owner

I agree with previous poster. Hire a good property manager. I am in a bit of the same situation. Since I 1031 deferred my gains over the years, I can't afford to sell, but since I have a good property manager, it works. Yes, it cuts into your cash flow, but alleviates the headache of managing it on your own!
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:36 AM   #6
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About all you can do is take it step by step. It's bad enough retiring, but throwing in moving, selling a house and keeping up with rental property 7 hrs. away could be debilitating.

I agree with hiring a property management firm to deal with the rental property.

When we moved to the Tennessee River, we still had a house 2 hours away that we used in Winter. Just dealing with upkeep, taxes and insurance was tough. We finally threw in the towel and sold it.

Good luck to your lifestyle change. Many overlook Tennessee as a low taxes, no state income tax, low cost of living place to move. And upper East Tennessee is a secret to most of the world. People there are "authentic", of high integrity and great story tellers. They're also quick to laugh. I traveled the region for years before ER working.
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:58 AM   #7
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We do not use a property management company.

Granted we have had good tenants, but what we do is purchase a Home Warranty for about $600/year. Whenever something goes wrong with the house, we simply submit a claim online. The warranty company calls the applicable home repair person (e.g., plumber) who then coordinates with the tenant when to come out. And we get charged $75 for the repair. It has not happened too often but when it has, it has been easy to do.

We use a trusted realtor to list the house and screen the tenants (and pay half of 1 month's rent).
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Old 12-18-2016, 09:48 AM   #8
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We just moved to lake house about an hour and half away and have 5 rentals and our former house to sell. We just FIERed. I think property managers are not worth the money. I have warranty company for most repairs. I think the goal is finding a reliable handyman in lieu of doing repairs myself.
We are keeping the rentals for now for the same reasons you stated. Selling the former house is a stressor but it will eventually sell.
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Old 12-18-2016, 10:51 AM   #9
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Why not sell the rental, but the TN property in a 1031 exchange, rent it out for two years, then move in.

You will likely need a PM to help do property turnovers. Avoid them as much as possible.
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Old 12-18-2016, 11:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senator View Post
Why not sell the rental, but the TN property in a 1031 exchange, rent it out for two years, then move in.

You will likely need a PM to help do property turnovers. Avoid them as much as possible.


It's probably too late for this plan and the current house, but you did give me something to look into down the road. I obviously need to learn more about the 1031 exchange.
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Old 12-18-2016, 11:46 AM   #11
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I live on the West Coast and have several single-family rental homes in the Raleigh/Durham area. We have been fortunate to have excellent, professional property management for many years and were able to negotiate a great deal with them on the monthly management fees ($75 per property). They made it possible for us to grow our NC rental property portfolio with confidence and stability.

Our homes tend to rent for several years at a time, so turnover is fortunately infrequent. My managers are able to turnover properties very quickly when they do and I've only missed one months rent due to vacancies per year for the last two years.

The ROI and monthly cash flow make it well worthwhile to stay in real estate. I understand why some people prefer to DIY to improve their return. I just don't have the talent, tools or people skills to take that risk. Like my accountant and lawyer, it's a small price to pay for a ton of peace of mind. I sleep very well at night.

If you're not sure, try it for awhile. You can sell at any time. Just take your time to find the right management team. Good luck!
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Old 12-18-2016, 01:27 PM   #12
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Welcome, TNBound! If you haven't seen them yet, here are some questions that might help you with that Nervous Nelly feeling:

http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...ire-69999.html
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Old 12-19-2016, 01:51 PM   #13
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I prefer buying a home warranty to take care of the frantic calls. Not sure what the property manager at $75 to 10% of rental cost gets you for your money. If the A/C blows up my policy replaces it for $75. The $610 a year buys me peace. Besides that I include lawn service in the rent so that it looks nice. Taking care of these two issues reduces stress. My only job is finding new renters, use Zillow, and some work between tenants.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:11 PM   #14
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Semi-absentee landlord here (home about 5 months throughout the year). We have a management company and they are worth every penny we pay them...... But my guess is that varies by location and situation.
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:36 PM   #15
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Kind of a sad story , but we rented a house out in Ohio and lived in Texas many years ago . It did not work out . We were in a small town so we hired a local realtor we thought a friend and we lost again . We will sell our house in Houston and not deal with a rental . A very good running running buddy of mine has 88 houses here in Houston and he explained to me it is not worth the hassle of rental property unless you have at least 4 units .
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