You work for say homeland security, for border patrol, customs, immigration or some new department in between and are assigned to head to Houlton Maine.Houlton is on the Canadian border of the New Brunswick province and has been beefed up secuirty wise considerably since 9/11. So you own a home back where you are coming from, have it rented and want to rent until it sells in Houlton.
Easy as pie right? Not really. Not so fast, need to have a little talk, show you the financial reasons why it's like musical chairs..with not enough empty chairs when the tunes stop, everyone scrambles. A typical home if you can find one rents for $450 to $600 on average with you the renter picking up all the utilities, lawn care, snow plowing. By the time you heat the place, you start thinking with the low prices in Houlton, maybe picking up a $30,000, $40,000 or multi unit rental makes more sense as your old out of state home sits and sits on the market, waiting for a buyer to come along to pass the front door keys to. If you are lucky enough to find a home rental in Houlton, 9 times out of 10, it is for sale, on the market with you getting a day's warning for any showing.
You live in the shadow of "gee..if this buyer likes the place, I'm getting a thirty day notice to skidaddle, get scarce.
Why are homes to rent that are not for sale so rare in Houlton Maine? Because of the low low cost to own which keeps the rents you can get low even with the scarcity. And if an owner of a home can not break even renting after mortgage, insurance, taxes and upkeep, they are not going to do it for the fun of it. It can be argued that if you own a home, it is empty heading into winter and you the owner are going to heat, plow it out and keep the power on, insurance active, a good renter subsidizing that operation makes good business sense.
Some homes are empty because the last renter was less than loving or kind to the place so the owner says better off to be empty, to brag up the quick occupancy for a buyer to slide into. And if there is a mortgage, it is so small and easy to handle that being empty keeps the owner's sanity because he just does not want a renter, any renter in the place that looks like Mr Roger's lives here....with the sneakers lined up neatly, sweaters arranged in a row in the closet just so. You get the picture of this owner and lack of motivation to rent. He's heard horror stories on what happens to a place with the wrong non-paying renter and with angry mixed up kids that do crazy, twisted things with power tools to his home sweet home.
But an empty home is something insurance companies make a big frown about and could cancel your coverage on which gets the mortgage holder jacked way up on the crank factor. If you the owner do secure coverage from say Lloyds of London, it is ching ching...expensive. Long term home rentals are nearly non-existent unless the owner is coming back in a year or two, and you the renter may not want that long a term either. Once your home eighteen states away sells, you are back in the driver's seat to put your name on the deed to another on in Houlton Maine, where the price tags are about a third of what you are used to. That's always a pleasant surprise for a buyer to get way way more, for much much less.
As for Houlton Maine apartment rentals, there are approximately 600 units last count. There is roughly a two percent vacancy rate which tells you either folks are not overly excited about building more rental units to meet the demand or the tight supply means landlord's can run a looser ship with a very captive tenant audience.