Maria Wells said she never intended to be a landlord. She sells real estate; she doesn't invest in it. Now the Florida resident owns two properties. One was her son's, but he had to move to take a new job.
The other was hers, but she got married and moved in with her husband. She can't sell either because she is underwater on both mortgages, so she rents them. Maria is one of a growing cadre of what the Realtors have dubbed, "Accidental Landlords."
"When I get enough equity, I will definitely sell," said Wells, who has been able to manage the properties because the rental market is so good that the income covers the mortgage payments and taxes. She does not use a property manager, as she wants to make sure the homes are well-maintained and keep their value. She's had some good tenants, but also some nightmares.
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"One of the tenants certainly surprised me. They decided to change a water filter and go out of town, and then I got the call that 500 gallons of water had gone into my home. Fifty thousand dollars later…," she recalled.