18 months ago I posted about a home we were looking to buy. We did buy the home and have lived happily in it since:viewtopic.php?f=2&t=79764
But some things have not gone as planned, primarily having to do with location. No, it has nothing to do with being on a corner lot, thank goodness.
What happened is we ended up putting our daughter in a school 15 minutes from our house, because they had a super-unique and cool program. We did not know about this program before we moved. It is a public school, she is in full-time immersion Chinese kindergarten, and the program was just extended through 8th grade with a commitment to extend it all the way through high school. This program is wonderful, she loves it, and it is a great fit for us. We are literally ecstatic about the opportunity she is getting, and how happy she is there. However, we had to lottery in to the immersion program because we are not in the school district. That is ok for my daughter - she is guaranteed to be in the program til the end, now that she is in. But we have no assurances about our son, who is 3 and will start K in 2.5 years. That means if we want to assure him a spot, we need to move within the school boundary within the next two years.
My question is: should we buy a place in the school boundary now, attempt to rent it out for 2 years, then move in; or should we wait and buy in 2 years; or should we buy a new place, move in now, and attempt to sell or rent our current place?
Home prices here have bottomed and are up about 10% in the last year. I think by waiting we will pay more to buy. I think we can find a modest place on a good lot, rent it out for two years and at least cover our costs, and then in 2 years remodel it extensively/enlarge it and move in, then sell our current place. Since we'd extensively remodel we'd be less concerned about potential renter damage; and since the market is in an upswing by all appearances, we'd be able to sell our current house for more (and hopefully the credit market would have loosened up a little, enlarging our pool of potential buyers).
I have no landlording experience and I'm busy. The new neighborhood is only 15 minutes away and it is obviously right next to my daughter's school so I could give my best shot at managing the property, but I'd be willing to hire a manager if that wasn't working out. This isn't about making a killing, it's about ensuring the best education for my kids and whatever incidental costs are incurred in the process are fine.
What are your thoughts about this situation? Is it terribly unrealistic to manage a rental for the first time? Are the potential costs of hiring a manager so much that we'd be better off just waiting two years and buying then?