I didn't think there was a rule of thumb for telling if a house had issues, but I thought there was a generally acceptable formula for yearly maintenance costs based on the age of the house (regardless of whether it was a rental or not). Just a rough formula/number to get an idea of how much at a minumum should be set aside for routine maintenance.What I read in "Homebuying for Dummies" type books is that one should expect to pay 1-3% of a home's value each year in maintenance costs. Since value *usually* goes up, that would mean maintenance costs would also go up as the home ages. The 1-3% probably depends on age of home, type of home (townhouse versus detached), and construction of home (example brick facing versus wood siding).As far as rentals, for homes (not condo/apartments) I think 3 bedrooms is the "sweet spot" for attracting more highly desireable tenants - meaning, singles, couples, or small families. 2 bedrooms probably means you'll be highly limited in the number of potential renters who will consider your place, and 4 bedrooms means you're getting into families with more children - and children cause a lot of wear/tear on a place. IMO the most desireable tenants would be single women, a couple, single parent with 1 child or couple with 1 child. Less desireable are probably single men (you don't know who's going to be into partying) and couples with multiple children.
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