Investing in Rental Property Where You Don't Live...But Hopefully Will One Day
by Lisa Wells
I began my rental property business five years ago, slowly buying low-maintenance property in easy-to-rent areas around Atlanta, such as condos in the Virginia Highlands neighborhood and a townhouse on Lake Lanier. I focused on buying property close to where I live mainly because I wanted to handle maintenance issues quickly and easily, and keep tabs on my property while I had renters in it. Then real life set in, and my "full-time" job forced me to commute to Manhattan every week for six months. Instantly, the convenience factor of having local rentals disappeared due to my travel schedule.
While sitting on a tarmac in White Plains, NY, coaching a renter through their Argentine ant infestation via cell phone, it occurred to me that I could own rentals anywhere my cell phone would dial and the landlord management hassles would be relatively the same.
If You Could Live Anywhere, Where Would It Be?
How many times have you wondered where you would live if you had unlimited funds and no other reasons to stay where you are now?
For me, the choice is simple: Salt Lake City. I'm a notorious skier (note that I did NOT say notoriously good), and there are few ski resorts in the world that can compete with the runs, the snow and the fantastic people at Alta or Snowbird - better yet, both are located within 45 minutes of the airport. So, if I was independently wealthy, I'd live on the lake in Atlanta during the summer, and spend my winters falling down the Utah mountains.
Great Idea, Lisa, Now What? I Want to Buy Rental Property In My Favorite Place Too.
Reality check: I'm not independently wealthy...yet. However, that doesn't mean I can't use my rental property to reach my goal of owning houses on both sides of the country.
I prefer to own condos and townhouses because as a single woman, you aren't likely to catch me out mowing the lawn or shingling roofs of the houses I own (although I'm not above doing it). A quick search of the Salt Lake City MLS showed that surprisingly, I could own a condo in Sandy, Utah for less than my average purchase price in Atlanta. The good news is Sandy is only a hop, skip and a facebust away from my favorite ski runs!
For the same or less money than I would spend on Atlanta condos, I can snag a rental house in a Salt Lake City suburb and let a good-natured renter cover my mortgage costs for a few years until 1. the property is paid off or 2. I decide to give up the lake and move th