What Massachusetts Landlords Should Do Right Now To Avoid Falling Behind on the Mortgage During COVID

You may think it’s only the tenant who has a hard time paying the bills, but as a real estate investor or landlord, there may be times when it’s hard to pay the mortgage on your end as well. In fact, in Massachusetts, mortgage delinquencies are still well above 2019 levels due to aftershocks of the pandemic. According to CoreLogic, nearly 5% of mortgages in the Boston metropolitan area were at least 30 days delinquent, up from just 3.1% in late 2019. Serious delinquency (90+ days late) was 2.9%, up over 300% year-over-year.

All that said, here are some things you can do to avoid facing difficulty in paying your mortgage each month.

  1. Keep your properties full. While this may sound overly simplified, this is the most obvious method for ensuring you’ve got rent money coming in each month to cover your property mortgage payments. Don’t allow yourself to get slack on advertising for new tenants. And don’t put off screening applicants or filling your properties because you get busy or overworked. Recognize that filling your vacancies is a core component of your REI business, and deal with it quickly and efficiently every time.
  2. Do your best to find quality tenants by having systems to screen them. While you want to keep your properties full, finding good-quality tenants is key. By “good”, I mean they pay their rent on time, keep the property maintained, and don’t abuse the lease. I cannot tell you how many landlords fail to run basic background and credit checks, thereby setting themselves up for trouble in the future.
  3. Look for long-term tenants. Don’t assume that quality tenants will necessarily be long-term ones. Some good renters may know they can’t stay more than a few months at most. They may be students or working a temporary job. They may just be living in an area waiting to move or retire somewhere else. Whatever the situation, opt for long-term renters when the choice is available. Doing so will eliminate the hassles and financial losses of vacancies.
  4. Keep the property well-maintained. As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. If you want good tenants, long-term tenants, and tenants who pay their rent on time, do your part to keep them. Deal with maintenance issues quickly. Make repairs as necessary. Upgrade appliances or at least ensure the ones you provide are in good working order. Respond to your tenants’ calls quickly, or if you can’t be sure they know you’ll be unavailable for awhile.

Being a good landlord will go a long in way in developing lasting relationships with your tenants, which will in turn, help you keep them in your property longer. Often a tenant and landlord relationship can turn an average tenant into a great one simply because they want to keep that relationship intact.

In a tough economy, it’s important to do all you can to avoid facing the difficulty of paying the mortgage. That applies just as much to an REI professional as it does to the average renter. These simple tips can help as you work to develop lasting, long-term, rent-paying tenants to keep your properties bringing in the income you need every month.

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