9 things to consider before becoming a landlord

  • Get legal advice

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    To make sure your lease is valid and meets all the state and local requirements, it's a good idea to take it to a lawyer who specializes in real estate, Hall said.

    "It's worthwhile to pay an attorney to look at the lease and provide feedback or suggest changes," he said. "Then you can use it over and over."

    You may also want to have an attorney lined up in case you need to take a tenant to court, Nuzzolese said.

    "A lot of landlords are so afraid of having to take a tenant to court -- and they don't have an attorney -- that they allow tenants to fall very far behind in rent," Nuzzolese said.

    By having an attorney and dealing with problems promptly, landlords can save themselves thousands of dollars in lost rental income, he said.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.