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Real Estate Investing: Having Pre-paid Legal Services Makes Life Easier for an Investor

Aug 17, 2007
As a real estate investor, I need to be doing deals, not putting out small fires all day long.

Like when a tenant's rent check bounces. I have to make a second trip to the bank to cash the check, and I pay bank charges each time it bounces.

Or the speeding ticket my teenaged son gets for going 30 m.p.h. in a 20 m.p.h. zone. The fine won't break the bank, but I need to do something to keep the points off his record or else our insurance rate will skyrocket.

Then I get a call from one of my "good" tenants - you know, the tenant who pays on time and manicures her lawn with tweezers. She complains to me because her college-aged neighbors are keeping her up after midnight with their loud parties.

Another tenant sends me two invoices for reimbursement. One because he had to call a plumber on a weekend when the city sewer backed up into his basement. And the second because he hired a haz-mat team to clean up the "sludge" that oozed all over the floor. (OK, it could have been toxic).

And so on.

In the past, a whole day would have been wasted putting out one fire after another.

Now, I do things differently. I pick up the phone and call my Pre-paid Legal lawyer.

When a tenant writes a bad check, I fax it to my lawyer and let her write a scathing letter to my tenant explaining the civil liability of writing a worthless check. That gets his attention real fast.

When the city sewer backs up into my rental property, I instruct my Pre-paid Legal lawyer to write a letter to the city and demand reimbursement for plumbing and clean up charges.

When my son gets a speeding ticket, my Pre-paid Legal lawyer goes to court for him. We still pay the fine, but at least we keep the points off his license.

As for dealing with noisy neighbors, my lawyer can be very persuasive. All it takes is one letter on their law office letterhead to get the college kids to move their parties across town.

The magic of all this is that I can handle these problems from my office with a phone call and a fax machine.

Here's how it works.

Members of Pre-paid Legal call their designated law firm and tell them what their "issue" is, such as a bad check, noisy neighbors, or a traffic ticket. Then they get a call back from a lawyer who knows how to deal with that particular type of problem.

In most states, members can consult with their Pre-paid Legal law firm by phone on any personal or business-related matter.

And they can have an unlimited number of personal legal documents (up to 10 pages each) reviewed by their Pre-paid Lawyer.

Included each year is one business document review at no additional cost.

The way I look at it is this: you're either going to pre-pay for a lawyer or post-pay for one. If you wait to post-pay, you are not going to like the price. If you decide to pre-pay, you'll love the price. A family can get affordable legal services from Pre-paid Legal for under $40 per month.

For special services that are not covered by the basic membership, members get a significant discount of 25% off normal legal fees.

In most states, real estate investors can get additional coverage for their businesses, either as a Home-based business rider or a Legal Plan for the Self-Employed.

We live and do business in the most litigious country in the world. The average American is three times more likely to end up in court than to land in the hospital (according to the American Bar Association)?

I would venture to say that real estate investors are at much higher risk than the average American. We write contracts and own property. Two great big sources of lawsuits right there. All it takes to wipe out your business and your life savings is one lawsuit.

Why would you wait to get a lawyer until you need one (i.e., until you get sued)?
About the Author
Krista Goering is an attorney and real estate investor, who has bought and sold more than $4.5 million of real estate using the strategies she teaches online. Find out more about how Pre-paid Legal Services makes life easy at http://www.lawyerlegalhelp.com/prepaid-legal-makes-life-easy.html.
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