Dave Says: You’re in good shape either way

Published 10:28 am Sunday, May 23, 2021

Dear Dave,

I can’t decide whether to sell or keep a rental property. Except for the property in question I’m debt-free, and I make $90,000 a year. I owe $20,000 on the property, and it is worth $65,000. What do you think?

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— George

Dear George,

You’re in pretty good shape financially, and you could probably pay off the rental property in a year or two. So really, it’s a matter of personal preference. I will say this; there’s nothing worse than being a landlord if you don’t want to be one.

It’s not a bad thing to feel that way. Some folks have fun and enjoy landlording for a while, but then other things become more important. It’s your life and your feelings that matter at this point.

If you still enjoy dabbling in real estate and being a landlord, go for it. If the shine has worn off, get rid of the place. If the latter is the case, you’ll get the responsibility of being a landlord off your back and become debt-free all at the same time!

— Dave

Long distance flip?

Dear Dave,

I’ve been following your advice for about a year. I’m almost out of debt, and I live on a budget, but looking toward the future it seems like it will be very difficult to save up for a down payment on a home. I live in Chicago, and property prices are very expensive. I have a friend in Georgia who suggested I buy a less expensive property there, then fix it up and flip it to make the money I would need for a down payment. What do you think of this idea?

— Erik

Dear Erik,

When you take on the kind of work you’re talking about, you need to oversee what’s happening every step of the way. You’re working out details, keeping an eye on the crew, and having to handle a dozen other issues tied to the project. Plus, you can’t just walk up to a house or see it online, buy it, and expect to come out ahead in the deal.

People who flip houses for a living professionally eyeball dozens, sometimes hundreds, of properties to buy just one. It’s not an easy way to make money, and it’s definitely not something I’d recommend doing from a distance. In short, I wouldn’t do it, Erik. Fixing and flipping properties is a hands-on business, and trying to do it from 700 miles away would be a nightmare.

Just keep on working the budget and save as much as you can. I’d consider getting a part-time job for a while to add to the down payment fund before I’d try to fix and flip a house that far away.

— Dave

Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.