What You Need to Know Before Renting out Your Property

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What You Need to Know Before Renting out Your Property

Considering becoming a landlord? Here are five things to consider before jumping into the investment-property world.

Follow the rules – Being a landlord can be a legal minefield. There are federal Fair Housing Laws, local and state housing laws as well as health and safety codes you must follow. And if it ever comes to pass—and let's hope it doesn't—there are laws that apply to evicting tenants.

Get ready for a 24/7 gig – A landlord's responsibilities don't fit neatly between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Your tenants can experience all kinds of emergencies—everything from leaky pipes to power outages to broken toilets—and they'll call you to fix them.

Who will live there? – One of the toughest jobs a landlord may face is finding good tenants. Some owners advertise on Craigslist or employ a local apartment hunter or real-estate agent. Friends and family can also get the word out and advertise your property for free. Depending on how far the property is from where you live and how busy you are, you might also consider a property manager or management company.

Do you own a tool belt? – If yes, then great! You're one step ahead of the game. If being handy isn't exactly your strong suit, you'll have to hire someone to fix things when they break and those costs can add up.

The other stuff – There are some things you just won't be able to repair or do no matter how handy you are. Air conditioner goes out in the middle of summer? Call the A/C repair guy. Cockroaches decide your property is an excellent new home? Get that exterminator on speed dial.

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