Megann  Willson

Megann Willson

REALTOR®

HomeLife/Realty One Ltd., Brokerage

Mobile:
647-923-2141
Office:
416-922-5533
Toll Free:
1-866-242-5641
Email Me

Maybe I'll Just Sell My House and Rent for Awhile When I Retire...

Is it a good idea to rent while you figure out what to do? It can be; it can give you time to get used to an area and figure out if you like it. It can help you test the waters on condo living, for example. However there are a few challenges in your search that you may not be expecting, if your only experience in recent years is purchasing a home.

In a busy market like Toronto, for example, one of the biggest challenges is lack of supply. That means you’ll find a very limited range of properties available to you, especially if you have a particular neighbourhood in mind. Combine that with potentially unrealistic expectations (the home you hope to rent doesn’t come in the price range you expected), and you may find yourself having to settle for something suboptimal. Working with a REALTOR® can help, of course; we have a good sense of what’s available. But experience has shown me that many seasoned owners just don’t want to believe what I have to tell them about the market.

You’ll need to be prepared to stick with your rental decision for a year. In general, offers to lease that are accepted by the listing party (landlord) are one-year leases. They’re not easy to get out of – you’ve made a contractual commitment that involves the same sort of contracts and paperwork as buying a home. In fact, a few pages more. Once the first year is up, you can go month-to-month, giving more flexibility (but still requiring 60 days’ notice to make a change).

Here's another kicker. You’ll be subjected to more scrutiny than you got from your bank, the last time you got a mortgage. Part of that is because your bank has permissions that go far beyond those of a landlord’s agent. They just pull the information they need. With so many renters looking, landlords can be somewhat choosy, and they want proof of funds, and of reliability. But they can’t pull those documents (like your tax records) that your bank can. So they ask you to provide a portfolio of proof.

A good agent will help you put together your portfolio, and we prefer to do it before you go looking. Otherwise, when you see something you like, it may be too late, by the time you pull all the paperwork together. Is there someone who can give a reference for what kind of tenant you are? (Remember the old conundrum of getting your first job, when you had no experience?)  At a minimum, we’ll ask to see your full credit report and an employment letter, or if you’re retired, some sort of pension statement or evidence that you can afford the rent. We’re not being invasive; we’re doing what you’d want us to do for you, as landlord, and help vet applicants to ensure they’re not fraudulent, and that they’re not going to take over our property and not pay.

So, the best advice I can give is to work with an agent with plenty of experience dealing with lease contracts. You need someone on your side who can help you navigate these choppy waters. It’s okay to not have it be the agent who lists your home for sale (they should be busy selling your home, anyway). Leave yourself lots of time. Get them to review some listings in your budget with you and give you an honest assessment of the costs and time involved, before you decide this is the right path for you. And then, if it’s your choice, be totally up front about what you think you want (and don’t). We want you to be successful if we agree to work with you. Rentals net very little money for a lot of work, but we do it for the relationships and your smile when we get to say, “welcome home”.

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