There are days when my paycheck is lessened because my integrity is high. I spent a couple hours last week with a prospective seller client who was a referral from another agent. The purpose of my visit was to give her staging tips for preparing her house for sale. I knew she was interviewing other agents as well, but there's always the chance of getting the listing AND I enjoy meeting people and seeing their homes. As we toured her house and created a list of things to do, I was surprised to find she owned the house outright . . . no mortgage. She wanted to move from this larger home to a smaller more manageable place for just herself. She currently had two "roomers" and still had too much room to bounce around in the house.
One of the questions she asked was whether I thought it was a good idea for her to keep this house (5 bedrooms, 2 baths) as a rental property and buy another smaller one just for herself. This was surprise number two. Many sellers don't even consider this option. Quite honestly I told her that I was going to talk myself out of her listing with my answer. Her house was free and clear which meant she could mortgage enough funds from this property to have a healthy downpayment for her next house and still have a big cashflow from renting her current home. If she chose to leverage her current home with a higher mortgage, she still would be able to collect the rent to pay the expenses of the mortgage and upkeep on the current house.
We talked about the pros and cons of renting a property that had once been your home. It's hard enough to sell a "home" to someone who will love it like you did, but renting it and watching the damage and lack of care from tenants can be troublesome to some owners. One has to detach from the home in order to successfully rent it out. We discussed how different personalities find it harder to do tenant management and in those cases it's a good idea to hire a management company. We talked about vacancy stress, tenant screening, taxes, and building wealth.
On my way home, I laughed at myself. Integrity and honesty are high moral values for me. Once again I had found those two values talking myself out of a job! It wasn't the first time, nor will it be the last. For me my "fiduciary" or agency responsibility of putting the client's interests above my own is extremely important, and on occasion it's in the clients' best interest not to buy or sell their home.