Lately I’ve been talking a lot about exit strategies. Exit strategies are your options for dealing with a property after you acquire it and do whatever upgrades and repairs you plan to do. The idea is to use the exit strategy that makes you the most money, saves you a lot of time, or brings some other desired benefit.
As I mentioned with our friend Anita’s story, sometimes what we think is the best strategy isn’t.
With our Lakeland house, the exit strategy ended up not being what we originally hoped for. We’d hoped to sell the house during the time when the market is best for resort sales, but contractor issues and a sale that didn’t quite make it forced us to reconsider. We chose to market the house as a vacation rental.
That’s really working out great! We are getting it booked every weekend, and we think it’s booked for a week at Christmas. The rentals are more than covering our expenses on the house, so we won’t lose money while we wait for a better time to put it on the market. Win!
Some aspects of this strategy are a pain. For example, Russell has to go out there weekly to change the sheets and clean up, since the fee for cleaners just about tips the balance away from profitability. It’s a bit of a drive out to the lake, so that eats up his time.
Worth it? You BET it is. If we’d sold the house, or if we were just letting it sit there without checking on it often, a great sadness would have remained over Russell and Carol’s household. You see, while they were moving out of that house, and a lot of noise was being made on the new deck, the Mangum kitty, Pebbles, disappeared. Pebbles is a pretty interesting cat, who likes to talk to people, do acrobatic tricks, and generally charm everyone she meets. Her independent streak apparently led her to go walkabout while the household was in chaos.
Carol looked for her every time there was a showing or open house, asked the neighbors, etc., but no one saw her. It was one more disappointment added to that project.
BUT, when Russell went to clean the house up this week, so the next week renters will be pleased, who should appear at the door but Pebbles! She is a little scruffy, but otherwise fine. And wow, was Pebbles glad to see Carol when Russell brought her back to the Villa Park house!
See? If we hadn’t chosen the right exit strategy, we would not have gotten our friend Pebbles back in the corporate family. Welcome home, kitty cat!