I have a confession to make: I lose money on my rental property every month. But I’m OK with that. I’ve got a long-term plan. Or I’m still delusional and hoping for a turnaround in the housing market. Either way, I stubbornly refuse to lose $30,000 in home equity by selling. I’d rather pay $300 a month out of my pocket in the hopes of hanging on to what little equity I have left.
It’s a Renters Market Out There
Much like a home buyer, a renter has a lot of purchasing power. It’s a pure case of supply and demand if there ever was one. There are simply more homes on the market for rent in many parts of the country than there are renters. Renters have pricing power to force homeowners to lower the price of rent they pay each month, and as a landlord this causes me to personally lose about $300 a month.
But I’m fine with losing $300 a month. In fact, I’m actually happy about it. Let me tell you why you should be, too, if you’re ever in the same situation.
My Tenants’ Rent Doesn’t Cover My Mortgage
Like many accidental landlords, I found myself stuck with a house a few years ago that I couldn’t sell. Or, if I really wanted to sell it, I would’ve had to at a steep markdown from what I’d bought it for just six years ago during the housing market boom.
After a few tenant turnovers, I lowered the rent in order to find a new renter. (There were simply too many homes on the market. I couldn’t compete.) The problem is that my lowered rent didn’t cover my mortgage payment. In fact, after taxes, insurance, and private mortgage insurance, I pay about $300 out of my own pocket, in addition to my tenant’s rent payment every month, just to pay my mortgage.
But I’m happy to continue taking a loss every month.
Should I take a $30,000 Loss Now or $300 a Month?
My wife and I bought our house in the Southeast at the height of the housing boom. We paid top dollar for our three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home. Today our home would sell for almost $25,000 less than what we paid for it. And we’re one of the lucky ones. If we had to sell and take a loss, we’d be out of our entire equity because we placed a large down payment on the house.
At least we wouldn’t owe any money out of pocket even after paying for closing costs.
But I dread the idea of watching $30,000 in equity evaporate overnight. So that’s why I’d rather hold on to the house and pay $300 out of my own pocket every month instead of taking the huge bite all at once.
Read more: Why I’m Happy Losing Money as a Landlord