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Becoming a landlord accidentally

June 03, 2013
With home inventory so low and buyers often fighting multiple offers, you would think that many more people would be putting their home on the market.

The reality is, while prices are rising, they are still down significantly from their peak in 2006.

There are thousands who purchased homes from 2005 to 2008 who are underwater or still don't have sufficient equity to sell their home today; even though they have the need or desire to sell.

Forty-eight percent of owners with mortgages in Atlanta are underwater.

Many are becoming accidental landlords. With the rental market so strong right now, especially in areas with good schools like North Fulton and Forsyth County, some owners are opting to rent their home in order to get where they need to go.

With prices increasing, owners might be as little as a year away from crossing that threshold, becoming able to sell.

However, becoming a landlord — especially a long distance landlord — could be risky if you don't cover all the bases.

I recommend using a rental management company that will perform all the necessary financial and background checks.

They will help you determine the most you can ask for rent, find the right and reputable tenants, collect rent for you, manage repairs and, in the worst cases, handle evictions.

Bob Strader is a local realtor with the NORTH Group of Keller Williams Realty. Visit his blogs or or email him:
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