Ryan Severino liked the location of his family’s home in Scotch Plains, N.J., but he also thought they needed more space. So in the summer of 2011, they decided to buy a bigger house. Mortgage interest rates were down, and so were home prices. “We were outgrowing our house,” Severino says. “We didn’t want to wait for prices to go back up.”
But one thing he didn’t realize was exactly how long it would take to sell the first house or to rent it, if that turned out to be the better option. “It comes down to more than pure economics,” says Severino, senior economist and associate director of research at Reis, Inc., a real estate research firm.
Finally, in the spring of 2012, eight or nine months later, Severino found a buyer for the first house. In the interim, Severino weighed the pros and cons of renting versus selling, and he reflected on the decision he ultimately made. “It was tough to sell it in that market,” Severino says. “We had the house on the market for sale while we were getting inquiries for renting it.” But Severino knew he didn’t want to be a landlord, and “didn’t want the money tied up in the house.”
Determining whether a property is a good investment takes research and analysis, and it’s wise to take your time in making the decision because it’s a major one, real estate experts say.