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Transcript: Being a landlord

Anchor Intro: According to the National Association of Realtors, last year, Americans bought nearly 2 million homes, not to live in, but as investments. That means many of those homes will become rental properties. Will all the new landlords be ready? Bankrate.com has some tips to make sure they are.

Voice over 1: Now that real estate boom has turned to bust, many former speculators are now becoming reluctant landlords. If that’s you, welcome to Kenny Hale's world.

SOT: “I’ve had probably hundreds of loads I use in my truck with my employees and my help of just junk when people bail out. They leave, they move out.”

Voice over 2: Kenny’s been a landlord for 11 years. He has 38 rentals now, but has had up to 150. His single most important task is screening tenants.

SOT: “I do a credit report, I screen them, I check their background for other evictions and felony convictions. And then I go on the Web site for the local sheriff’s office just to see if they have a background or any criminal history.”

Voice over 3: Kenny also uses this Web site to check out prospective tenants. And there are other Web sites that can help new landlords with everything from legal forms to emotional support.

Voice over 4: Other tips are to ask for a picture ID, so you can be sure you’re checking out the person you’re actually renting to. Hold an open house to save time by meeting several prospective tenants at once. And don’t hand over the keys until the rent and deposit checks clear.

Voice over 5: And if you haven’t bought that first rental yet, here’s some additional advice from Mr. Hale:

SOT: “It’s not as easy as you think. You’ve got to be prepared for a lot of problems. You’ve got to have money, cash reserves, to pay anything that comes up cause you’re in charge and you’re responsible.”

Standup: If you’re going to be a landlord, focus on two checks. First, get background checks. Second, rent checks. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy
-- Posted: Oct. 31, 2008
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