'Accidental landlord' need-to-knows

Home Sale Hindsight

Q: I bought my house five years ago for $239,900. I am going to ask $254,900 when I put it on the market and would like to get $250,000. If I can’t get $250,000 out of it, what do you think about renting it for a few years until the prices start going back up? –Margaret H.

A: What you’re contemplating is called becoming an "accidental landlord." And you’re not alone — there’s a whole generation of homeowners in precisely your situation who are financially unable to move on to their next home without selling their current one, and have made the decision to rent their existing homes out and wait out the market.

In terms of whether it’s a good decision, that depends on a number of factors. First, let’s look at your $250,000 cutoff. Is that your bottom line because that’s what you feel the home is worth, or because that’s where you can break even? If your home is priced there because it’s truly worth that, based on the recent sales of comparable homes, go for it.