Oil and gas leases are complex legal documents. Before you sign contact and attorney and ask them to review it, especially provisions about payment and damages. If you do not know an attorney with expertise in real estate law, contact the NC Bar Association at 1-800-662-7660 for a referral. You also may be able to join with neighboring landowners to consult with an attorney.

Research the company. If you lease your land to a company for oil and gas exploration, you'll be dealing with that company for years to come. Before you sign a lease, check with the NC Secretary of State's office at www.secretary.state.nc.us/corporations or 919-807-2000 to find out if the company is registered to do business in NC. Also, ask your attorney to check out the company.

These tips are just two from the NC Dept of Justice.