Buying, owning, and renting out a property is a full time and sometimes very complicated job. Before taking the plunge and becoming a landlord, it's best that you consider all sides of the situation. If you're choosing to invest outside of your own local area, it's best to do some deep research into the area you're looking to buy. Ignorance is no excuse in the rental business. If you don't know the law, you can still break it and find yourself in trouble.
Make sure to know the local and federal laws pertaining to the area you're wanting to buy in. Many laws differ from state to state and sometimes certain counties may even add to laws that the state or federal government have put into place. You will need to know these if you're investing in that area. If you're contemplating buying a single condo or apartment, check with the board's laws to make sure you may rent it out to a third party. You don't want to buy it, rent it, and then find out that you've broken one of the rules you agreed to without realizing it.
One of the areas that you'll want to be very careful in is the Fair Housing Laws. These laws were set up to protect applicants from discrimination, and while you'd likely not discriminate against a person on purpose, in the eyes of the law if you advertise a certain way, try to steer an applicant towards a certain property, or turn them down based on something protected by the law, you may find yourself in quite a bit of trouble. All it takes is one unhappy applicant - even if you never meant them any harm - to turn you in, and the excuse that you didn't know that particular law will not hold up as an argument.
You should also be up to date on the tax laws as they will affect your property and your income. Hiring a professional to do your books may not be a bad idea, as they will know both the laws that you will need to abide by, as well as any benefits that you can take advantage of.
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