There are people out there who are made to be landlords. They like the idea of having someone else pay the mortgage on a home or apartment building and enjoying the ability to build equity on the property without using their own money. Once the property is paid off, the monthly rent is income (offset by the cost of taxes, insurance, and keeping the property up).
I totally get why some people love the idea of getting into real estate and renting out property. I even get why many people who, upon moving, decide that they would rather rent out the old home than sell it.
I am not one of those people. I am getting ready to move across the country, and my husband and I have no desire to try to rent out the house. In fact, in the worst case scenario put forth by our real estate agent, we will have to pay $10,000 to unload our house.
But I'd rather do that than become a landlord. Here's why:
I Don't Want to Worry About Damage to the Property
We've taken good care of the house. When we were tenants, we took good care of the rentals we lived in. I expect, now that we are moving into a rental again, we will once again take good care of our living space. However, not everyone is as conscientious as we are. We have one (well-behaved) child and no pets. I've seen what others have done to rentals in the past. We wouldn't want to allow pets, and, while we could technically say no to someone with lots of rowdy kids, we'd feel bad.
The other issue is that of tenants who might not pay rent on time, or who might have a history of damaging apartments. It's true we can vet our tenants with credit checks, background checks, and reference checks. However, these things take time and money. And I don't want to mess with it. Properly vetting a tenant is more work than I want to do, and even then you still run the risk of having problems with the tenant.
Managing Long Distance Is Too Much Work
Another issue is that of management. I don't want to manage a property in Utah from Pennsylvania. From maintenance needs and repair issues to checking up on the tenants, doing so from 2,000 miles away just doesn't appeal to me. Yes, I could hire someone to manage the rental for me, but that requires that I go through a vetting process to find a suitable candidate, and I am not interested in doing so.
Plus, it's one thing to hire a manager or management company for an apartment building, or to help you with multiple properties. It's quite another to hire someone to manage a single home. None of it seems worth it.
Hopefully we'll be able to break even on our home sale, but even if we're not, it's worth it to me to avoid the hassle and inconvenience of being a landlord. It's just not my thing.
What about you? Would you consider becoming a landlord? If you are a landlord, what do you like about it?