Should I Sell my Apartment or Rent it out Instead?

For many sellers, the decision to sell is one that doesn’t come easy. 

This is true, especially if you love your home. Sellers often ask me about the option of renting out the property…. instead of selling. 

This is a typical question from sellers who are relocating to another city but may want the option to return.  

Here is what you should know before deciding to rent: 

1. Being a landlord is not for everyone. Want to get a phone call on a Sunday evening in July about a broken dishwasher? Yeah, me neither. 

2. How about wear and tear? No tenant will treat your apartment as well as you treat it. When you do decide to sell down the road, you will have to spend time and money painting, doing the floors, and making repairs. And of course, fixing the broken handle on the refrigerator.  

3. Renting is not a short-term solution. If you are considering renting out your apartment, you are effectively putting your sale on hold for a minimum of two years. This is the term most tenants will require in today’s market. Translation: if you need the sale proceeds within two years, renting is not for you. 

4. Finally, Let’s not forget nothing makes a sale harder than having a messy tenant living in your property when showing it for sale.


If the market is good, our advice is to take advantage of a strong market because it won’t last forever. Renting becomes more appealing if the market is weak and you want to come back in a couple of years when it rebounds. 

Bonus: you are a tenant shopping for a rental here is some of our best advice on getting the best deal possible. 


1. Get your ducks in a row. Before you start looking compile a file of your recent tax returns, a letter from your employer, a letter from your current landlord, and most recent pay stubs and bank statements. You can even pull your own credit score and include this so that the landlord can have all the information they need as soon as you make the offer. This will give you an advantage when you do find the apartment you want to rent. 

2. Did you see something you love? Put an offer in asap. Is there alot of interest? Then put an offer in over the asking price. This will certainly get you the attention of the landlord.

3. Your offer: Straight two year leases are always preferred by landlords as there is no vacancy period potentially. Move in date is also important. The sooner the better as each day the property is vacant costs the landlord money. 

4. Need a guarantor, try using Insurant which for a fee will be your guarantor and put the landlord at ease.

5. Is the landlord an individual as opposed to a big corporation? Then write a one page letter of introduction to the landlord about you and why you will be a great tenant. Put some color in the letter so the landlord knows what kind of person you are.

6. Offer to enter into a lease that ends during peak rental season so it is easier for the landlord to find a new tenant (March through June).

7. Be likable and easygoing. Even though you are most likely dealing with the landlord’s rep or broker, they will most certainly tell the landlord what they think of you as a potential candidate. If you charm them enough they will become your allie and advocate to get you approved. Remember the landlord is just as concerned about putting a stable, and reliable tenant in the property as they are about getting the best price. No one wants to deal with approving a tenant that turns out to be a nightmare. 

8. When in doubt use a seasoned rental agent. Despite the high fee there is no doubt that an experienced (and patient) rental broker is much more likely to find you your dream apartment then you are. And no, not every rental is listed on Zillow or StreetEasy. 

With all of this information you should be ready for the New York City rental market either as a landlord or a tenant. 

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