My financial advisor said to me to always keep a house that's not losing money instead of selling - if you can afford it.
He also said if I was to rent, i'd need about 3 months worth of costs (mortgage payments, maintenance etc) up my sleeve just in case tenants stop paying, there's a gap between tenants etc.
But also - landlord insurance is essential.
Maybe chat to an agent, see what your home could be rented for and then decide. Especially if where you are planning on moving to has a house included.
Other posters are right - tenants generally won't care for your home the same way you would and I believe it's easier to not be emotionally attached if you purchase a property with the specific intent of renting it out compared with your family home that you then decide to rent out. But only you will know your attachment levels to the house and if you could stand others living in it.
We rent out our house and so far its been great. We are neg geared so got a great tax return. Make sure you pick a good agent and really screen the tenents before approving them will help to ensure they respect your home. Like the above said make sure you get insurance and ill sure you will be fine
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We rented out our home for approx. 18 months and then moved back in. Overall the experience wasn't so bad, the tenant we got was pretty good and did a decent job of looking after the property. However, he was a single guy that worked in the mines, so he wasn't really in the house all that much (which I liked - less wear and tear!). The house needed a really good clean when we came back in, he had done the basic wipedowns but hadn't actually really cleaned properly when we got the place back, this took quite a lot of my own time as the agent thought it was clean enough but at least it was done to my standard I suppose.
We had more trouble with the agent - they took ages to get a tenant in after telling us it wouldn't take more than 2 weeks and they had people on the books interested (was over 6 weeks), they took over a fortnight just to get it advertised (when telling us it would be a few days) and then they advertised our property incorrectly, they then overstated the amount we could get in rent which turned people off and I had to tell them more than once to drop the rent so we could get a tenant in ASAP - they kept arguing the point with me which was frustrating. They didn't give us inspection reports until a couple of weeks after I requested them so I am suspicious they didn't actually do them when they were supposed to and I kept catching them out on it (reports were always over a month late). Rent wise we were paid on time but the amounts we were paid varied enormously and we never worked out their stupid accounts system.
I found the tenant side ok, but the agency was a nightmare. My mum is with a different agent and has had even more trouble - her tenants literally never pay their rent on time, which means the agent won't pay my mum, and then they don't follow up with the tenants about why their rent is unpaid/always late. It's infuriating for her because she often misses more than one payment in a row because they can't be bothered doing the awkward work of getting the rent paid when it's meant to be.
Sorry for such a long reply! I guess my advice is be very very careful about any agency you go with and try and get personal recommendations rather than just use anyone.
The only other thing I'll add to the conversation is that IMO you should never ever become a landlord if you don't take the time to educate yourself on both the tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities.
In my experience (tenant advocate) too often landlord expectation with regard to wear and tear, depreciation and cleanliness don't match the expectations of the relevant state legislation.
E.g in Victoria a tenant only has to leave the premises 'reasonably clean' this doesn't mean spotless or even ready to rent to someone else. Also in Vic, a tenant can be late paying rent each and every week and there's nothing that can be done until they're at least 14 days behind at the time of serving notice. Incredibly frustrating for the landlord who rented their home out with the best of intentions.
With agents, don't be afraid to change agents if you are not happy with their service, most agreements state the required notice to terminate their agreement ( usually 60 days - you just give them notice in writing - the new agent can organise this) it's no stress to the tenant, the new agent just will have to do an initial inspection, you own your lease/inspection reports and trust account ledgers so they all get handed over to the new agent - also when interviewing agents ask for their arrears policy, inspection policy and ask to see copies of their reports to see how thorough they are
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