Updated March 20th, 2019
Getting started in real estate investing can be difficult and time-consuming unless you already have property available. If you’re getting ready to buy but don’t want to give up your first home, here’s how to buy a second home and rent the first.
Why turn my home into a rental?
There are definitely perks and drawbacks to turning your home into a rental property. The most obvious drawbacks are:
- Being a landlord
- Vetting tenants
- Repairing damage
- Evicting (when necessary)
- Managing the property long distance (if you move more than a few hours away)
- Paying off two mortgages
- Difficulty getting lending for a second property
- More complex tax return
The good news is most of these are fixable with a property management company. The main downside of a management company is that they aren’t typically worth it for only one property. If you are planning on making this the first of many investment properties, it’s wise to learn how to be a landlord with your first property before handing it over to a management company.
The perks of turning your home into a rental are:
- Rental income
- Tax benefits
- Great way to start real estate investing
The benefits list is a bit smaller than the drawbacks, but they can easily cancel each other out with the right tenants.
Real Estate Taxes
One of the major things to consider when renting out your home is the tax implications. Owning a home provides you tax credits, but if you have a mortgage that is larger than your allowable credits, you could end up paying quite a bit in taxes.
Tax benefits include:
- Deducting your mortgage interest, insurance, property taxes, and other rental expenses
- Selling one rental property and using the proceeds to purchase another without paying taxes on the capital gains
If you are considering turning your house into a rental, talk to a tax attorney. They’ll be able to tell you what it will do with your taxes and how much (if any) you’ll be able to write off.
How to Buy a Second Home and Rent Out the First
As you may have already figured out, there’s more to buying a second home and renting out the first than sticking up a “For Rent”sign in the window of the first and applying for a loan. In fact, many lenders may hesitate when asked if they will lend you money for a second mortgage.
Before you apply for a loan and rent out your primary residence, here are a few financial details to think about.
Loan Basics of Two Homes: Renting Out Your House
Lenders often make it difficult for you to get two mortgages due to the increased risk. With one mortgage payment, most people have a lot on their plate. Add in more mortgage debt and your debt to income ratio skyrockets along with your level of risk.
FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loans often have a clause in their contract that states that your house must be owner-occupied for a certain amount of time before you can rent it out. Before you pack your home and rent it out, check out what your mortgage says about using your home as an investment property.
How to Afford Two Homes
Getting a second mortgage not only comes with added stress, but it also comes with higher interest rates. If you’re just beginning your journey of investing in real estate and are unsure of how to afford your second home, here are some options.
Crunch the Numbers
If you can afford two mortgages without the help of your rental income, that eliminates a lot of paperwork and verification of your homes future loan value.
Take out a HELOC
If you already own one home, do what other investors do and leverage that equity. With rising mortgage rates, refinancing your first home and using that equity toward your second home is a great way to make a dent in the home price (and by association, the lending amount).
While a home equity line of credit probably won’t cover your second mortgage entirely, it can help with a down payment.
If you do need to take out a mortgage, you’ll first need to request Fannie Mae form 1007. Your appraiser will use this sheet to compare your house to other rentals in the area to see what rental income you can feasibly expect from your property.
Beyond that form, you’ll need to prove that you have money available to pay your mortgage if you are not making rent. The amount of money you need to have in reserves depends on the amount you are borrowing for your second mortgage but can include retirement funds, investments, and savings.
As with your first mortgage, you should shop around for the best rate. While your mortgage rates will be higher with a second mortgage than with your first, you’ll get the best deal by shopping around a bit.
What to Look for in a Second Property
Chances are you are looking for a new home because you have outgrown the first. While this is all exciting news, remember that you will pay a larger amount on the second home than you did on the first, and you’ll probably even end up footing the mortgage for both homes at certain times in your life.
With this in mind, it’s probably best to stay well within your means and not purchase an extravagant home quite yet. Once you have an established rental portfolio, you’ll be able to leverage your investments to purchase the house of your dreams. For now, look for a home that you can either a) fix up and rent out, b) rent out immediately, or c) that you can afford with minimal financing.
Turning Your Home Into a Rental Property
Becoming a landlord takes a bit of work to get the hang of. Here are a few tips to get you off in the right direction.
Getting the right tenants is crucial to having a good investing experience. Bad things will most likely happen (so budget for it!), but you can definitely do your part to make sure it doesn’t happen often.
When looking for tenants, make sure you run background and credit checks and look at their rental history. You should also ask for and get in touch with their past landlords and references. It may also be a good idea to get a copy of the last three months worth of bank statements to verify their cash flow.
Managing the Property
While no one likes to get a call late at night requesting you to come to unstop a toilet, you should create a cordial relationship with your tenants and be available for them to access in an emergency. Make sure you outline in your contract what you do and do not require them to maintain themselves.
Schedule regular checks to make sure the property is in good shape. One way many landlords work this out is to come to change the batteries on the smoke alarm every 3-6 months. This allows you the opportunity to walk through the house and get a feel for how well they are taking care of the place without being intrusive.
Collecting rent is often uncomfortable for those who are not used to doing so. It’s a good idea to outline expectations in your contract that specifically state how your tenant will pay rent and what the penalty will be for late rent.
A common practice is to set up a separate bank account at a local bank for them to deposit their rent in every month. If they are late, you can charge a late fee and make sure you enforce it! Setting boundaries and maintaining those boundaries is the best way to create a great tenant/landlord relationship.
Use a top real estate agent to buy your second home. Work with an experienced local Clever Partner Agent. Call us today at 1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to start.