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Should I sell my property or rent it out?

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In the past, this was a question that simply did not arise for large swathes of the population. At Assetgrove, we came across two types of people: one wanted to be landlords, the other did not. They were going to move – to take up a new job or to be closer to family. The reasons were hugely varied. They had a house in the place they were leaving, and they wanted to sell it in order to buy a house in the place they were moving to. When people came into our office, they fell neatly into one of these two categories.

It isn’t like that anymore. The reasons are as various as those for moving that we already described:

  • People are becoming more adventurous and are more likely to see buy-to-let as a sensible and profitable step, so instead of selling the house they are leaving, they rent it out
  • A steady increase in rents and demand for rental properties makes letting out (as opposed to selling) a better bet economically
  • A pause in house sales means that the owners need to find alternative ways of funding the mortgage on the new home, which means they need a rental stream from the old one
  • The move is not planned to last forever, people know they intend to come back, and they would like to return to the same house that they have left. So, instead of selling it, they rent it out until they are ready to move back into it

We come across many more reasons for renting than that, as well as variations played on those tunes. For example, the couple with a flat near Barbican. They had reached retirement age and decided to buy a house in the country near Harrogate. They knew, though, that the new home will only be a working proposition as long as they stay fit and well, and that the time will come when they want to return to London. They had no mortgage on the flat, and they had the money to buy the Yorkshire house outright. So, in their case, they kept the home near Barbican but did not let it. That way, they were able to pop back to London on the train at any time, take in a show or movie, have dinner with friends, stay overnight in the flat, and return to Yorkshire the following day. The likely appreciation in the value of the flat far exceeds anything they might make by putting the money on deposit somewhere.

Few people find themselves in a position quite as fortunate as that, but renting is becoming a lot more common than it was, and that is likely to continue for as long as rents remain high and sales relatively slow, at least in London.

Whatever you choose to do, it’s as well to go through your options with people who know the market. Whether you need to find a suitable tenant or want the rental property managed on your behalf, call us.

Neil Jennings

Neil is the Operations Director at Assetgrove Lettings, London's Leading Rent Guarantee Company, providing Landlords with no voids, property maintenance, fee-free property management and stress-free service.

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