Rental trends in Birmingham, Alabama have flattened out in recent years. Prices have also appeared to hit a peak, according to Realtor.com.
Therefore, you might have thought about selling your rental property before prices and rents fall too much.
If so, you’ll want to read this guide ASAP. We’ll show you:
Keep reading for all you need to know about selling your Birmingham rental property.
Before selling your Birmingham rental property, there’s some prep work to do:
Let’s take a look at how to do each one:
Your buyer package contains documents buyers need to determine if buying your property is right for them.
Here are some documents to include:
This buyer package attracts more interest and accelerates the closing process because it makes the purchase decision far easier for the buyer. This means more potential money for you in less time.
With the buyer package in hand, it’s time to fix up the property. This will increase the property’s value, boosting your negotiating power and streamlining the closing process.
Begin with mechanical and structural repairs, like:
These fixes tend to be expensive but critical to safety, making them the best repair-related investments. It’s hard to sell a property with these issues, after all.
After these critical fixes come cosmetic repairs. Start with the exterior to boost the property’s curb appeal and pull in buyers. This might involve:
Also, do some landscaping and wash the exterior to make your property pop.
As for the interior, you might need to:
Remember: Cosmetic repairs are not necessarily critical to safety. So you’ll have to weigh the cost of the repairs against the potential gains in your sale price and what you can negotiate during the closing process.
For example, if the repair is quite minor, the buyer may be willing to do the repair themselves for a slightly lower sale price. In that case, you would save on the repair without extending the closing process.
Selling your property for more than you bought it might cause you to incur capital gains. To calculate these, you must determine:
Here is how to calculate capital gains with this information:
Capital Gain = Sale Price – (Initial Cost Basis +/- Adjustments)
Adjustments that increase your basis could include things like repairs and improvements, since these boost the property value. Adjustments that decrease the cost basis might include items like depreciation or property damage.
After calculating the gain, you’ll need to know which tax rate to use:
Once you’ve performed the physical preparations, it’s time to calculate a good selling price.
This process is a bit complex, but some financial formulas can help you zero in on a good number.
Below, we’ll explore three formulas useful for pricing your property:
The capitalization rate — or cap rate — tells an investor the return rate they can expect when owning an investment property. It will be the same for every investor on a given property, making properties more comparable.
Here is the cap rate formula from the seller’s perspective:
Cap Rate = Net Operating Income / Current Market Value
Net Operating Income = Gross Rental Revenue – Property Management Expenses
Current Market Value = Property Value when calculating the cap rate
Cash-on-cash return measures the cash returns compared to the cash invested.
This helps investors see how much cash they will receive — which is different from revenues. It includes financing costs, allowing investors to see what kind of returns they could earn on this specific property at different amounts of leverage.
Here is the cash-on-cash return formula:
Cash-on-Cash Return = Annual Pre-Tax Cash Flows / Total Cash Invested
Here is the formula for Annual Pre-Tax Cash Flows:
(GSR + OI) – (V + OE + AMP)
GSR = Gross scheduled rent
OI = Other income
V = Vacancy
OE = Operating expenses
AMP = Annual mortgage payments
Total cash invested is the amount of cash the buyer invests into the property. This can differ from the purchase price. It’s usually the down payment.
For example, if an investor buys a $200,000 property with a $40,000 down payment and $160,000 mortgage, the cash invested is $40,000.
ARV is a property’s estimated potential value when all repairs and renovations are completed.
The ARV formula is as follows:
ARV = Current Property Value + Value of Repairs/Renovations
Home flippers and rental investors both weigh ARV for different reasons.
Home flippers use ARV to see how much profit they could earn after fixing and flipping the home. In other words, they try to determine whether they’ll earn a return that justifies the repair costs.
Rental investors use ARV to prioritize repairs on potential incremental rental revenue increases. They will first go after repairs that offer the maximum revenues per dollar invested.
You can use ARV in the same way when prepping your property for sale. After the structural and mechanical repairs, you can prioritize cosmetic fixes by the ARV increase per dollar you invest.
Timing your property sale can make a big difference in your profits, tax implications, and even ease of closing future deals.
So once you’ve prepared the property for sale, consider selling when one of the following matches your circumstances:
Did your Birmingham property rise in value during your ownership tenure? Locking in your profits is a perfectly valid reason to sell.
If taking profits is the primary goal, make sure to plan for taxes accordingly. As we’ll discuss later, there are potential tax consequences to watch out for and tax breaks you might qualify for.
Depreciation lets you deduct your taxable income to represent wear and tear on your property. This is the largest tax deduction many investors can take, but in the US, it generally runs out after 27.5 years.
When you run out of depreciation, it might be a good time to sell. Keep in mind that you might owe more in taxes since depreciation will have lowered the cost basis.
Even the best due diligence on the safest real estate investments can’t guarantee any returns, let alone sufficient returns for your goals. If your property isn’t earning you enough, selling could help you cut your losses.
However, find out why the returns aren’t as much as you had hoped for. For example, the property may have some underlying issue that, when fixed, raises your returns to acceptable levels.
Maybe you’ve had a long and illustrious real estate career. Or perhaps you’re tired of hunting for and managing properties.
In any case, wanting to exit real estate simply to retire or pursue other things is totally fine. However, if you want to leave over frustrations with the field, don’t jump ship right away.
Instead, consider working with a Birmingham property management firm. The right property manager will handle all the stuff you don’t like or don’t have time for while helping you maximize your returns.
Here are a few special situations that could occur when selling a Birmingham rental property:
Selling your property to a tenant is an excellent idea if you’re on good terms, they’re financially stable, and they’re looking to own the property or use it as an investment property. This virtually eliminates time and money spent marketing your property.
If your tenant doesn’t qualify for traditional financing and you own the property outright, you can offer them seller financing. This means you essentially become the lender, crafting financing terms that fit your needs and your tenant’s ability to pay.
Keep in mind that seller financing has risks. You’re on the hook if the tenant defaults. On the other hand, traditional financing lets you sell the property, take your proceeds, and leave without worrying about the tenant’s financial situation.
Weigh the convenience of selling to your tenant with the risks before making a decision.
Selling for less than your basis could cause you to incur a capital loss. Losses offer potential tax deductions up to certain limits.
If your losses exceed these limits for a particular year, you may be able to carry them forward to future years to deduct against income in those years. You might also be able to carry them backwards, reducing taxable income in previous years and potentially getting more refund if you amend your return.
Keep in mind that you may need to add back depreciation deductions, which can make what looks like a loss into a gain.
IRS Topic No. 409 Capital Gains and Losses offers more information about capital losses. Given the complexity of the topic, working closely with a tax specialist is strongly recommended.
Investors can defer capital gains taxes by investing property sale proceeds into another property of equal or higher value and meet other requirements. This is called a 1031 Exchange, named after US Internal Revenue Code Section 1031.
The 1031 Exchange can help investors grow their real estate portfolio faster by cutting their tax bill, offering them more capital to acquire larger or more numerous properties.
For example, you have more capital for a larger down payment on a more valuable property that commands higher rents. Alternatively, you could use that capital to put down payments on two properties — Section 1031 lets you get multiple properties at once if you meet all the rules.
Selling your rental property in Birmingham could be a good move if you’re looking to take profits as the market cools or exiting the market entirely. You can use the proceeds to get another property or keep for yourself.
However, remember that selling successfully requires some work. You have to fix up the property — both the critical and cosmetic — then run a few formulas to price the property. Look over the tax implications as well.
All of that comes before marketing your property, vetting buyers, and closing the deal.
If that sounds a bit overwhelming, you’re not alone. Evernest can take on the hard work for you. We’ll help prepare the property for sale and get it in front of hungry property buyers.
Whether you’re selling one home or one hundred, you don’t have to go it alone.
If you’re ready to sell your first (or next) investment property, here are 3 steps to get started today:
Taylor Streitmatter is Evernest’s Director of Brokerage. His diverse expertise includes sales, operations, and brokerage management.
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