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Scott McGillivray on How to Spot the Perfect Window to Cash out on Your Income Property

Scott McGillivray on How to Spot the Perfect Window to Cash out on Your Income Property

Scott McGillivray is a real estate expert and host of HGTV Canada’s Income Property and Moving the McGillivrays.


When it comes to selling an income property there is no one size fits all answer on the perfect timing. I’m of the belief that timing the market isn’t nearly as important as time in the market, so I recommend holding on as long as you can. However, there are some common reasons why people decide to cash out on their income properties.


Fund Your Retirement

Real estate can tie up significant capital and equity, and a common reason why people sell their income properties is because they want to cash in on the appreciation rather than continue to collect rent. This is often because people are retiring and need access to the money. If this is in your future plans, start looking at what the cost and tax implications will be when you sell so that you have an accurate idea of what you’ll end up with.

You Want to Move

While you don’t need to live near your investment property to make it successful, landlords who personally manage their properties may run into problems should they decide to move. Hiring a property manager is a way to alleviate this problem, but if the cost outweighs the benefits it might make more sense to cash out and move on.

Rising Interest Rates

Finding a rental property that cash flows can be challenging, and sometimes the window between success and failure is very small. If you secured your mortgage at a low interest rate, but over time those rates have risen, it can put you in a difficult financial situation. When interest rates rise to the point that you can no longer make the numbers work, it may be time to consider selling. The same goes for property taxes.



It’s Losing Money

A property that is losing money is clearly not a good investment. Whether it’s due to vacancy issues, not enough rent, or more maintenance costs than anticipated, a property that is costing you money is generally not worth holding on to. Look at your options, try to find a solution, and if you can’t, cash out, take the money, and find a better investment.


You’ve Found a Better Property

Even if your property is successful, you might decide to cash out in order to get something better. Usually I recommend that people hold on to their properties and wait to invest in the next one, but in some cases it doesn’t make sense. If a different property will get you a better overall return, it’s worth considering. Just keep in mind that selling isn’t free and there are a lot of costs and tax implications to factor into your budget.

The Neighbourhood is in Decline

If the neighbourhood your investment property resides in is in decline, it’s worth considering the cost of cashing out. A property can always be altered, but a neighbourhood can’t. As the location gets less and less desirable, you won’t be able to command the same rent, you’ll have a smaller pool of potential tenants, and the value of the home may go down.


Too Much Stress

When the stress of owning and renting the property outweighs the joy of collecting the rent, it might be time to get out of the business. While I think that owning rental properties is a brilliant way to make a living, it’s not for everyone. If worrying about upcoming renovations or dealing with unpleasant tenants keeps you up at night, it might be time to say goodbye. Being a property owner should increase your quality of life, and if it doesn’t, you’re in the wrong business.



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