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Dear Mr./Mrs. Landlord:

The times have really changed in the housing market across the nation and the same holds true in Aurora, IL and its surrounding towns and villages. Short sales, foreclosures and many homes worth less than their current mortgage. Perhaps you find yourself holding a home that you owe more than its current market value and have decided to become an unwilling landlord instead of short selling the home, or letting it go into foreclosure.

I congratulate you on your decision! But let’s talk about potential tenants. With home prices more affordable and interest rates lower than we have seen in decades those ideal tenants that you are hoping for are now buying a home! Their own home where they can paint, entertain and have as many cats and dogs as their municipality allows or their HOA! They are now part of the American dream of owing their own homes.

So, now to the reason for my letter. Those people that unfortunately were turned down by their lenders after following their lender’s advise to stop making their payments so they can “qualify” for a loan modification and have ended up selling their home “short”, what happens to them when they look for a place to live?

They have solid jobs, sometimes twice as long as the normal 2 year requirement. They were used to paying a monthly payment before their special “loan” became impossible to manage. They know what it takes to maintain a home, do minor repairs, replace lightbulbs, etc. Because they wanted to qualify for a loan modification perhaps they were instructed to stop paying their credit cards since the lender would look unfavorably if they paid their credit cards but not their mortgage. Perhaps they got bad advise and were told they might have to file bankruptcy to get rid of the deficiency if the lender did not dismiss it. So they did and made their credit even worse.

So now, they want to move on but can’t find housing. They are willing to pay, can pay but because of their FICO score can’t qualify for a rental. What do they do?

Mr./Ms. Landlord is your house still empty? Did that last “perfect” tenant leave it trashed? You know the one with the perfect credit and references, perhaps with a couple of years on the job but perfect credit. They moved in and after several months just stopped paying their rent. But they had checked out! How could this have happened. We did on the right checks. Background, criminal, credit, we even talked to their references!

You see in today’s rental market things have also changed. There are a lot of great potential tenants out there that would do anything to qualify for a nice rental. They have solid jobs but lousy credit due to being part of the worst housing market since the Great Depression. These are parents from your local school, employees from your local stores, perhaps even some of your employees.

Don’t dismiss this segment just based on a “credit score”. Perhaps you need to do indepth interviews, rewrite your current lease agreement, find a creative solution to a housing challenge that is going to be with us for quite awhile. Perhaps this could be a potential buyer of your overpriced home in several years!

Or you can wait another month for that “perfect” tenant. The one that is probably with me right now looking for their new home because with their great credit score and wonderful interests rates I can find them a home they qualify and they can kiss renting someone else’s overpriced home.

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