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Despite the recent economic slump, real estate is always a good investment.  An investment in property, over the long haul, will always increase in value, and very often makes more than your typical stocks and mutual funds. For anyone looking to invest, real estate is a great way to diversify your portfolio and an excellent part of a long-term strategy. 

The only problem that some people run into with an investment property is a time issue.  Some investors who want to be hands-on with everything, find themselves overwhelmed, and sell before they realize the financial benefit of the property.  Wise, money-minded people know that delegating time-consuming tasks to an expert in property management will keep the investment growing, without a large time

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With all the investigations you have to do and with the employment situation still uncertain, it's difficult to find tenants who pay for their rentals on time, don't complain, and keep your property spotless. When you find such a treasure, you want to do all you can to get him or her to renew your lease. Here are a few guidelines for keeping these prized finds happy.

Listen to their complaints.

Don't just pay lip service to tenant issues like leaky faucets, cracked sidewalks, or neighbors taking up their parking spots. Resolve them as quickly as possible. If a problem poses a safety hazard, such as a broken stairstep, you must repair them immediately, or risk injury to the occupants. If tenants feel that you have their best interests at heart,

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Washington's Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), which was enacted on June 8, 2006, protects same-sex couples from discrimination in real estate rentals. Violations of this law can be subject to a lawsuit seeking payment for damages and reported to the Washington State Human Rights Commission. If you're renting to a same-sex couple, the basic rule is to treat them in the same way as any opposite-sex couple.

For example, if an unmarried couple applies for your rental, it's within your rights to verify the income levels of both individuals to ensure that they have enough to afford the rent. This can apply to opposite-sex or same-sex couples. You can treat all such couples as roommates and require that both be employed. You may deny renting to unmarried

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To check out a prospective tenant for one of your rentals, you start by having him or her fill out an application. Don't try making one of these forms from scratch because you might miss something. For example, the form has to clearly allow you to check a credit report, background, and criminal history. Download a freebie application from an Internet search and change it to suit your needs. If you use our rental department to manage your properties we have specific forms we use for each applicant.

After the applicant fills the form and returns it to you, make sure every part is filled out completly be an attempt to hide something. Then look for the following.

  • Employers. What's the current job and how long has he or she been there? How many
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If you own rental property, your ideal tenant follows the rules you've set out for your property and pays what's due on time. You try to screen for good renters by having applicants fill out forms but those leave several questions unanswered. And the privacy laws of Washington State prevent you from delving too deeply into their personal lives. Fortunately, you still have some avenues to explore in investigating prospective renters.

  • Credit check. Arguably the most important report you can obtain on tenants, a credit check reveals their employment, financial history, and how they deal with money management. Do they have any bankruptcies or foreclosures? Do they pay their bills on time and carry no balances on their charge cards? Or have they applied
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