Back in 2007 we started reporting about “accidental landlords”. These pretty much fell into two groups: Would be flippers who couldn’t sell, and homeowners who didn’t like the market and thought they’d wait and sell when the market improved.
It’s been more than three years, and prices have fallen in most areas. I suspect there are a lot of those folks who started renting out properties in 2007 that are now wishing they bit the bullet and sold. The ranks of “accidental landlords” continue to grow though, and now there’s another reason to look for a renter- staving off foreclosure. According to Jan Page, a broker from Hendersonville, TN:
“We have more rentals than we’ve ever had — people who can’t sell their homes. They don’t want to be a landlord, but they are,” said Page. “Rentals are so much more common. It’s a way to keep your house and pay your mortgage, especially for people who’ve lost their jobs.”
Homeowners unexpectedly become landlords in a variety of ways, she said. Some, like Khoury and her husband, find themselves with an unsold property in a place they are moving away from. One of Page’s clients built a new house, then couldn’t sell the old one. Other homeowners see turning their house into a rental as a way to pay their mortgage and avoid foreclosure. They find a cheaper place to live and plan to move back when times get better.
Those that are now reluctantly becoming landlords need to remember when making their plans what landlords should have considered in 2007- better might not come any time soon.