I have a rental property that is ready to be rented or sold...What should I do with it?
Craig, Gold Coast, QLD
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Thanks for your question. I assume that in asking for advice on whether to continue renting out your investment property or to consider selling it, you are referring to any potential impact of the current economic environment.
In uncertain environments like the current one, it is highly likely that there will be short term volatility. This has been especially evident in 2020 throughout most investment markets.
You may be asking yourself whether you have the desire to remain exposed to that short term volatility, to stay the course for the longer term pay off.
Perhaps you are wondering whether the long term payoff might be compromised if the property market was impacted significantly.
The easy answer in a general sense is that investment markets will of course have ups and downs and that over a long term horizon, your investment expectations are more likely to be achieved.
Craig, when assessing an individual’s investment risk, a number of factors must be taken into account. Let's focus on two of those factors – Investment Purpose and Your Own Situation to help you assess if the current events will impact your plan.
The first vital step is to re-assess the purpose of your investment. You need to be crystal clear about what you are aiming to achieve.
Many people purchase an investment for a short term hold (2-5 years), and then sell, making a capital gain. Others intend to keep the investment for the long term (over 7 years) and are focused on receiving an income from the investment.
If you had a short term plan, you may need to re-assess your goals. If your vision was long term, then the current situation has longer to play out and potentially recover.
The big question is whether your initial purpose for the investment is still relevant to your current situation today.
Your own situation
The other major step is to re-assess your ability to “weather” detrimental impacts in the short term. Ideally, you would want to feel fairly certain that you can get through to the other side of any downturn, and avoid being forced to sell at an inopportune moment.
Many in our communities now have lower certainty of employment income. If your own personal income was impacted, would you still be in a position to hold on to the investment property? How long could you last in that situation?
If the mortgage on the investment property is reliant on your receiving rental income – could you withstand a period of time without a rental income?
Craig, it may be cliched but an analogy of weathering the storm is certainly appropriate in this instance.
If your initial investment plan was for a short-term gain, cannot withstand a temporary downturn (loss of income), or no longer suits the purpose for which it was intended, the current storm might cause you damage.
However, if your initial investment plan has a clear purpose, long term vision, and can withstand a period of lower-income, it is better placed to stand up to the current volatility.
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