Keep rental home or sell? | Just Ask Jan

With a steady rise on the housing market, is it time to sell the rental home?

Dear Jan:

We own a home that we have been renting out for years. Since the market is going up, we think that this might be the time to sell instead of keeping it rented. What are your thoughts? — EIR

Dear EIR:

You are right about the market. It is hot, hot, hot!  I personally have listed several properties since the first of the year and have had multiple offers on every one. One of the offers escalated in price by tens of thousands of dollars. Of course, that big of an increase is rare, but multiple offers are not rare in this seller’s market.

Having a broker who knows how to negotiate is critical in this market; this market is not for sissies!  A broker must have good rapport with the competing brokers and know which cards to play with each of them.

Once the first offer is mutually accepted on a property, I tactfully encourage the second-best offer to be our “backup offer” in the event the first offer fails. When acting as a buyer’s broker, I always encourage my buyers to sign the backup addendum and I have had many buyers get the home they wanted over the years in that way.

Back to rent versus sell. The rental home inventory is also very low at this time. Our two military bases have ships and boats in right now, so as soon as a rental property comes on the market, it has many applicants. If a rental home is owned outright by the landlord, the rental income pays for the taxes while equity keeps building in the home.

None of us know how long the sales market will stay this hot. World events could cause it to fall. Therefore, if having the cash is important to you, this may be the time to sell as the inventory is so low. Please use a local broker; we work hard in our community and need your listing.

Thanks,  Jan

— Jan Zufelt is a broker for John L. Scott Real Estate in Kingston. Contact her at 360-620-2383 or