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Top 5 Questions to Answer When Evaluating a Rental Property for Your Portfolio


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As an investor seeking to diversify your investment portfolio and generate passive income, evaluating a potential rental property requires a thoughtful approach. Rental properties can be an excellent addition to your stock market investments, but careful consideration of crucial factors is essential. To ensure a successful endeavor, here are the top five questions to answer when evaluating a rental property:

1. When should I look to purchase a rental property?

Timing plays a crucial role in real estate investment. While the market is constantly evolving, a general principle to follow is to invest when the conditions are favorable. Look for a market that demonstrates strong rental demand and a history of consistent property appreciation. Additionally, consider your financial readiness and investment goals. Assess your cash flow, available emergency savings (6-12 months of expenses), and potential financing options to determine if you are prepared for this venture. Collaborate closely with your Private CFO™ to ascertain the right time for you to enter the rental property market based on your specific financial situation and objectives.

2. Should I carry a mortgage or pay cash for the rental?

Deciding between financing your rental property with a mortgage or purchasing it outright with cash is a significant consideration. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Paying cash upfront may reduce your risk and provide immediate positive cash flow. On the other hand, financing the property with a mortgage (if interest rates are favorable) can leverage your investment and allow you to retain more liquidity for other opportunities. Discuss this dilemma with your Private CFO™ to understand how each choice aligns with your overall financial plan, risk tolerance, and long-term objectives.

3. If I take out a mortgage, what do I need to put down to satisfy most bank requirements?

The down payment required for a rental property can vary based on several factors, including the lender's requirements, the type of mortgage, and your creditworthiness. Generally, banks typically expect a higher down payment for investment properties compared to primary residences. A down payment 25% of the property's purchase price is commonly required for conventional financing. Work closely with your Private CFO™ and a qualified mortgage specialist to explore different loan options and identify the down payment that best suits your financial situation and goals.

4. Should I use a property management company?

Managing a rental property can be time consuming, especially if you have multiple properties that you own. Hiring a property management company can alleviate the stress and risk of day-to-day operations, such as tenant screening, rent collection, and maintenance administration. The cost of property management services varies depending on the company and the level of services offered. Typically, property management fees range from 8% to 12% of the monthly rental income. Analyze the potential benefits of hiring a property management company against the associated costs and weigh them against your own availability and expertise in managing rental properties.

5. Should I setup a separate LLC for the rental property and or to purchase the property?

The decision to establish a separate Limited Liability Company (LLC) for your rental property can offer liability protection and tax advantages. An LLC can shield your personal assets from potential lawsuits related to the property, providing an extra layer of security for your overall financial well-being. Additionally, having a separate LLC for each property may isolate potential risks and losses, limiting their impact on your other assets. However, setting up and maintaining an LLC incurs some costs, so it's essential to consult with your Private CFO™ and an experienced attorney to determine if the benefits outweigh the expenses in your specific circumstances.

In conclusion, evaluating a rental property investment requires thoughtful analysis and a comprehensive understanding of your financial goals and risk tolerance. By answering these top five questions in consultation with your Private CFO™, you can make informed decisions that align with your long-term objectives and lead to a successful and rewarding addition to your investment portfolio. Remember, thorough research and a well-structured financial plan are essential ingredients for building a prosperous and diversified investment portfolio. Now go make some money!

If you would like to receive more information on making smart money moves for your future, be sure to contact us today!


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About the author

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Brandon Hayes

Managing Director, Private CFO®

In 2011 Brandon opted to forego a long-term career in corporate America to join oXYGen Financial because he was impressed by the vision of creating a premier independent financial services firm, which strives to provide unbiased advice to the X & Y Generations.

A native of Westlake, Ohio, Brandon currently lives in Atlanta with his wife Aly, daughter Maryn, son Turner, and their black lab Pepper. He's the youngest of three children and played soccer through college at Elon University. He's an avid runner and enjoys cheering for Cleveland sports teams despite some pretty rough years.

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and MBA from Georgia State University in Entrepreneurship. Brandon holds his Series 7 (General Securities Representative), 63, Series 65 (Investment Advisors Law) and Georgia Life, Health and Variable Insurance licenses.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.

Background and qualification information is available at FINRA's BrokerCheck website.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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