For those considering real estate investments, the famous consumer advocate, Clark Howard offers several tips in his show notes.
Here's an excerpt:
Expect to pay cash upfront as an investor. If you're in a buying group, my rule is everybody puts up cash to buy and everybody puts up reserve money. Have a written partnership agreement. You may consider an LLC or an LLP depending on your state, but the basic idea is to have a written agreement to govern ownership and management and who has each responsibility in the partnership.