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You may be able to mitigate future impact of litigation by using a land trust. Go to landtrust.net to research it. You will hear alot of misinformation about them even from uninformed attorneys. They have been around since 14th century england and are commonly called "Illiniose Land Trust" by the courts. So do your own due diligence, and most important screen your tenant/buyer carefully!
Years ago I rented a townhome. I had a great renter for 3 yrs and after he left I got a TERRIBLE renter. I should have gone with my gut & not rented the home to her. From day one she was asking if she could split the deposit into two months. Being the nice person that I am, I did. It took me 4 months to collect that 2nd half of the deposit. She was always late on rent. My uncle who rents several homes finally gave me advice - NEVER let them get away with anything. Give them an inch & they will take a MILE. Know your rights as a landlord & the tenant rights. Follow through with everything. If they are late with rent, charge a fee & provide a warning. Next time they are late - you should look into the eviction process. The eviction process can take awhile, which means you'll probably have a tenant living in your house, trashing it...rent free until the process catches up to them.
Now, with that said - not all renters are like this. Make sure you do a hefty credit check & review their rental history. If your gut tells you no - go with it. Again, I had a great renter for 3 years but it was a friend of mine. We have another property now that we rent to my husband's parents. Great at paying on time...terrible at taking care of the yard. It's a give & take!
Why is it that "renters" and "trashing the place" are so often seen together? Why would renters just have some destructive streak that makes them happy to live in squalor? When I have rented, I had no desire to live in trashed home or come home to garbage and destruction everyday. What about some of the homes that the owners have trashed with pet smells and foul living habits and then stick on the market at bloated prices? Yes, it is partially their house (or not, depending on equity) but I don't think that "owners" are so likely to take great care of their property. Some of the houses we looked at after selling our house and buying another were in unbelivably bad shape, even in a high price range in a Seattle suburb.
tried it once in my life... never again. When the buyer could not qualify a mortgage at the end of the year term they turned on every faucet in the place as revenge. Insurance only covered a small part of the total damage. Obtained a court judgment but can not collect due to they did not own anything. They since skipped the state to parts unknown.
Its a big gamble
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