I bought a condo in 2016 for 160K, and this has been my primary residence since then. The loan was 152K, at 4.125% APR. I currently owe about 139K.

My mortgage is 898 (includes taxes and insurance in escrow), and my HoA is 560.

I’ve just purchased a new home, and was planning to sell the condo. However, it looks like the maximum I can get for it is between 145 and 150K, so more than I owe to the mortgage company, but less than I paid for it originally.

If I do rent it out, the best I can do is about 1200 a month, which would still have me paying about 2-300 a month out of pocket (898+560-1200), plus any taxes at the end of the year for the extra income.

Would it make more sense to rent it out and pay the extra OOP, or sell it for the lower price and just accept the loss in value?

Missing information (sorry!): I'm in the USA. There's no prepayment penalty. Current rates are lower, but all the fees associated with refinancing may not be a possibility.

  • What country are you in? Is a mortgage refinance possible? Are current available rates lower than your current rate? Does your current mortgage have prepayment penalties?
    – yoozer8
    Sep 25, 2020 at 15:44
  • 10
    A condo with a 560 HoA fee only rents for $1,200?
    – D Stanley
    Sep 25, 2020 at 16:07
  • 5
    Then it's a horrible rental market. Or you have a condo that's not suitable for renting. Half of your rent eaten up by HoA dues is untenable. If the HoA fee is higher because of the view then the rent needs to be proportionally higher. If no one wants to pay for that benefit then it's not worth the cost.
    – D Stanley
    Sep 25, 2020 at 17:46
  • 3
    I'm skeptical about your potential rent amount, very few markets are that unfavorable.
    – Hart CO
    Sep 25, 2020 at 18:39
  • 2
    Try looking at Craigslist or similar options to see what rentals are going for in your area.
    – BrenBarn
    Sep 26, 2020 at 5:40

2 Answers 2


What you paid for it originally is of no financial consequence, just emotional. Your only reason to keep it from a value standpoint would be if you are pretty sure the value will go up in the future.

So let's look at it from an ROI standpoint:

At 4.125% APR, you're paying about $480 per month in interest and $260 in principal, so your net profit from renting it out would be 1,200 - (898-260) - 560 = $2 per month. That's a 0.24% capitalization rate on 10K of equity (2/10,000 * 12)

There's no real benefit to renting it out now at your current rates. You're spending all of the profit on interest, HoA fees (The HoA fee is effectively an additional 4% interest), and taxes/insurance. The 2-300 per month is just going to the equity in the condo, which you won't realize until you sell it anyways.

You'd be better off selling, keeping the 10K in equity, and paying down other debt, keeping it as an emergency fund, or investing it.

This would only start to make sense if you could rent it our for closer to 1,500 per month. That would make it a wash cash-flow-wise and would be closer to a 30% cap rate (which is only really 2% if you take into account the 15X leverage).

Even then, you still have the risk of having to cover the expenses if it goes unrented. A few months of sitting empty and you'll wipe out all of your equity in the property.


From your comment:

this is the rent estimate I got out of Zillow

Does Zillow know about the extra HoA fee for the magnificent view? Do they even include the HoA fee in their rent at all, or are you expected to tack it on? It's probably just looking at the square footage and comparing it to other units in the area (which probably varies quite a bit). If your property has idiosyncrasies that should be priced in then you should take that into consideration. I would increase the rent by at least the HoA fee. Then you're in realistic territory (financially anyways).

You could talk with a local property management firm to see what they would recommend you try to rent it for, but they may actually be a bit high to try and get your business (they get a % of the rental income in exchange for a lot of the mundane work).

  • 5
    Also, what amount of labor to you have to expend to earn that little? Sell the condo.
    – Pete B.
    Sep 25, 2020 at 18:37
  • IF, again that is specifically IF, the property, say, 7x in price in 20 years, every single figure mentioned in this post is, literally, so small it would hardly be calculable. Yes, in terms of "as a rental" the property is comically bad and should be dumped this afternoon.
    – Fattie
    Sep 25, 2020 at 20:57
  • 1
    In my experiences, Zillow's value estimates can be so wrong they're comical (there's lots of critical things they don't take into account). I second the recommendation to talk to a realtor, property management firm, or other human-type professional before making any decisions.
    – bta
    Sep 26, 2020 at 3:15
  • 1
    Original price is important for tax purposes. OP might want to look at what the optimal loss harvesting strategy is. Sep 26, 2020 at 6:34
  • 1
    Well it would make more sense. It's still not a great return given the amount of leverage (borrowed money) you use, but it's at least a viable option.
    – D Stanley
    Sep 28, 2020 at 13:40

(Con) Any real estate with a HoA payment sucks. For this reason, take it as a chance to dump it. Never again buy any real estate with a big HoA-type cost.

(Pro) In the 10-20 year time frame, real estate will usually drastically increase in nominal value, and since real estate is the only investment civilians enjoy leverage on, this is the very reason that you often hear folks say "Never sell anything" regarding real estate. (The OOP is nothing and will disappear with inflation.) In other words in 20 years (a) there is almost no chance you will lose money drastically on it (b) there is some chance you will make a massive, massive pile of money on it. For this reason, keep it and forget about it for 20 years.

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