To sell or not to sell Investment Properties?

I wish to have advice on following from members on this forum. I currently own 5 properties as below

Current residence: Bought for $637K, downpayment made-126K​, current mortgage balance - 500K (current market price - $640K)
Investment Property1: Bought for 175K, downpayment made - 65K, current mortgage balance - 105K, net rental cash per month after PITI+HOA fee payment = $445 (current market price - $230K)

Investment Property2: Bought for 209K, downpayment made - 72K, current mortgage balance - 124K, net rental cash per month after PITI+HOA fee payment = $436 (current market price - $230K)

Investment Property3: Bought for 217K, downpayment made - 70K, current mortgage balance - 0, net rental cash per month after PITI+HOA fee payment = $1137 (current market price - $230K)

Investment Property4: Bought for 455K, downpayment made - 90K, current mortgage balance - 253K, net rental cash per month after PITI+HOA fee payment = $287 (current market price - $440K)

I also have investments in ETFs worth around 250K. They have yielded around 6.5% per year net gain so far.
I was thinking of selling investment 1 and 2. This requires me to pay off mortgage worth 105K+124K = 229K.
If I sell ETFs worth 229K and pay off these 2 properties, I expect to add extra cash flow of $1143 per month (on top of net cash mentioned for each property above).
My question is, does it make sense to go this route? Or should I not payoff mortgages and keep investing in ETFs? What option would be better investment decision and why? I also max out my 401K for me and my wife each year. Together we have around 500K worth 401K invested in target date based mutual funds.

This is not meaningful data.

  • When did you purchase these houses?
  • What are the actual rents?

[ Your equity quotes do not add up. Property 3 cannot possibly have the stated loan balance, if you made the down payment listed. ]

  • What has been the appreciation rate during your ownership?
  • What is the expected appreciation rate for the next five years?
  • What has been the acceleration/deceleration rate in rents over the years of ownership of each of these rentals?
  • Are you keeping the rents at market value, or allowing them to slide (aka avoiding turnover).
  • Who is being paid to manage these rentals?
  • What has been the maintenance history and cost per house?

Once you’ve addressed these questions, you will determine on your own, whether, or not something else makes more sense to invest in.

Frankly, I would be investing in apartments, not houses. You can amortize the costs of management, maintenance, cash-flow and appreciation much more efficiently than with single family houses.

Apartments right now are relatively easy to get financing for. That also makes for a reduction in inventory. However, if you learn to analyze apartment deals, you can find and recognize deals that few others would, and literally make more money than your average investor.

Frankly again, the prices you’re paying for houses sucks drain water, and it would appear that you are not holding out for bargains, but crossing your fingers and hoping to die for appreciation.

Never mind that unless you’re on the coast, a half-million dollar rental house represents a very poor rent-to-price ratio, if not negative cash-flow, and something you should divest yourself from, and find units that offer better rent-to-price ratios. A minimum RTP ratio would be 1% (Monthly Rent is 1% of the Purchase Price).

A rule of thumb is, until your monthly rents represent 2% of the either the loan balance, or the price you paid, you’re not really realizing actual cash-flow, but only appreciation, and maybe some small tax benefits.

All that said, I think you need some better strategies at finding bargain deals, and perhaps learn some more creative ways to come up with down payments, as they will necessarily improve your bargaining skills, if nothing else.

Here’s a link to my favorite no down payment formula’s written by Robert Allen that may be useful. (It is self-promoting, so if it’s illegal here, you’ll have to pm me for it:

Have fun!

P.S. Just for giggles, the overhead for your average income property with a 1% R-T-P ratio is 50% of the market rent. That is, if your monthly rent is $2,000/mo (on a $200k house), the total expenses can be expected to be $1,000 (which includes maintenance, management, replacements, taxes, insurance, HOA’s, utilities, etc., but not including principal and interest).

That’s all I got.