Planning on investing in rental properties? If so, before investing in your first rental there are a variety of things you should consider which include the following:
First, on the tax front, not only are all your cash expenses – including broker fees and management fees – deductible for your federal taxes, so is the depreciation of your property. Calculated over 27.5 years on a straight-line basis, depreciation protects the first 3.6% of your annual return from taxes. With returns around 5 or 6 percent right now (2017), that’s a big deal. Calculation below.
Second, leverage. If you can borrow money at a lower interest rate than the return you otherwise get from the property, the return on the portion you provide is higher. Calculation below.
Third, what about rents? Do they swing like home prices? How much can you raise them? And what’s the right rent to be charging in the first place? Each property is different and so is each location, so it depends. You should go online and see what other landlords are asking for a similar property in the area. You can ask local brokers, but take their answer with a grain of salt – they’d rather get the commission at any rent rather than have you hold out for a higher one.You can and should raise your rent every year. Inflation eats into your real revenue if you don’t keep pace. Rents don’t swing like home prices can; they rarely go down and usually rise a bit faster than inflation. If the neighborhood around your property changes, you can see rents rise even faster – and sometimes fall. This is one of the opportunities you have and one of the risks you take.