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Good time to become a landlord?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis March 28, 2011 06:33 AM

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OK, we all know renting is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative.

But what about taking the plunge and becoming a landlord yourself?

The numbers right now appear to be lining up for a long-term surge in renting.

The national vacancy rate is down to 9.4 percent - the lowest since 2003.

And the pool of renters is growing by the day. Foreclosures have turned millions of one-time homeowners into renters, many of them permanently.

There's not just demand, but a lack of decent supply as well. New rental construction has long been a laggard - there's growing demand not just for more apartments, but for a wider variety.

In fact, the pros are already onto this trend - some of the biggest developers in the country are busy building and rolling out new rental complexes, including here in Greater Boston.

Avalon Bay is preparing to start construction on a new rental tower at the Prudential later this year, while the suburbs are seeing a number of rental developments move forward.

Yet for all the opportunities out there, becoming a small-time landlord has its risks. The big players can mitigate the risks through volume - if you have 200 apartments for rental you can deal with a little vacancy.

But if you have just one or two units, sitting on just one empty apartment for a long stretch could prove hazardous to your financial health.

What's your take? Let's hear it from all the small landlords out there who know the pitfalls especially well.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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