Business Management

The Pros & Cons of Using a New LLC for Every Property Purchase

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Landlording & Rental Properties, Business Management, Personal Development, Flipping Houses, Commercial Real Estate
155 Articles Written

There is so much conversation on LLCs—from the basic stuff such as what are they and why should we use them to more complex topics like which state we should register in and the difference between a manager-managed LLC and a member-managed LLC.

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Today, I am going to take a stab at one of the questions that goes around a lot. Should you get a new LLC every time you buy a property? There are pros and cons for doing this, and in today’s video, I go over them in detail.

Pros of Using a New LLC Every Deal

  1. Ownership structure: Perhaps you are working with several different owners on a new deal. It makes sense to have a new LLC as it will define the ownership percentages and the roles of each owner.
  2. Working in a new state: This could be argued either way, but to me, it makes sense to incorporate in the state where your investment property is.
  3. Doing a flip: Many investors do a new LLC every flip. This makes sense, as it separates that flip from other properties with respect to taxes and liability. More on this in the video.
  4. Asset protection: Holding each purchase in its own LLC will compartmentalize each property from the other. If there is a liability claim with one property, it won’t affect any others held by you. Some would say that this is the main reason to hold each deal individually. Watch the video for a deeper conversation on how valid this is.

Cons of Using a New LLC Every Deal

  1. Higher costs: You will pay a fee to set up each LLC and in most states another fee to file a return every year and a fee to your CPA.
  2. Growing portfolio: Depending on the size of your portfolio, it might be easier to get a loan if you lump several properties into one LLC. Holding each property individually could make it harder to get financing, especially if the values are less than $100k.
  3. Insurance: You can obtain a reasonably sized general liability policy on your properties and arguably have the same level of asset protection as you would if you held each address individually.

I go into way more detail on this in the video, so be sure to check it out.

We’re republishing this article to help out our newer readers.

I know there are schools of thought on both sides of this conversation, and I would like to her from both.

If you are a strong advocate for either, please leave a comment so we can get a good conversation going!

Matt Faircloth, co-founder and president of the DeRosa Group, is a seasoned real estate investor. The DeRosa Group, based in historic Trenton, New Jersey, i...
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    Jeff Copeland Real Estate Broker from Tampa Bay/St Petersburg, FL
    Replied about 3 years ago
    You mentioned financing briefly, but failed to mention that conventional mortgages and refis are not available on properties held in an LLC or corporation. In my experience, one of the biggest reasons to hold properties in one’s own name is to take advantage of conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgages at today’s historically low interest rates. I tend to take a blended approach… if I acquire a property with cash or otherwise own it free and clear, I typically hold it an LLC. But my buy and hold rental properties tend to go in my own name (at purchase, if purchased with a conventional mortgage…or when I refinance if a BRRR) to take advantage of conventional residential mortgage products.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hey Jeff, You are correct, mortgages are at historically low rates. Locking in for a 30 year fixed at these rates is huge. You actually can get a mortgage in an LLC but they are not backed by Fannie or Freddie ad the 30 year fixed product you are using is. Small community banks can provide the loan, in the form of commercial mortgage. It’s not locked for 30 years, not like 5 to 10. The problem with putting the mortgages in your own name is that they will show up on your personal credit report, and you can only have around 10 of them before you max out. Matt
    Amanda Gant from Washington, DC
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    Or, if you live in DC, and make a lot to moderate income like me, and have a but if student debt, you can only have around two properties before you max out (any multiproperty rental worth owning here is $400K, but will get you $2000+ in profit per month). I’m very excited about refinancing my FHA loan this summer. I’ve turned the home into a rental, and am ready to take out my equity and make my next FHA purchase. Commercial loans are definitely the way to go to keep the personal credit cleared up so you can continue to use FHAs for their low down payments.
    Brian Palechek from Millersville, Maryland
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    Hi Amanda, so when you refinance your FHA into a commercial loan, will you transfer the rental property’s title into an LLC at that time? If so, is that a fairly easy process? Is it just a matter of filing some paperwork with the state and paying a title transfer fee? Any tax implications? Thanks, Brian
    Jeff Filali Rental Property Investor from Broken Arrow, OK
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Reading all these responses, it sounds like some people are holding each property in separate LLCs and not carrying insurance on their properties????
    Vitaliy Volpov Attorney from Albany, NY
    Replied about 3 years ago
    No matter how you hold title to the property, insurance is an absolute must in my opinion. Banks won’t lend on a property unless it has insurance coverage. But even if you were to buy for all cash, you should still get good coverage. It doesn’t make sense not to. Vitaliy
    Jeff Filali Rental Property Investor from Broken Arrow, OK
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I agree 100% and do carry ins on all of my properties. But some of these responses make it sound like theyre separating each property into individual LLCs and just carrying an umbrella liability policy and taking the risk.
    Jeff Filali Rental Property Investor from Broken Arrow, OK
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I agree 100% and do carry ins on all of my properties. But some of these responses make it sound like theyre separating each property into individual LLCs and just carrying an umbrella liability policy and taking the risk.
    Vitaliy Volpov Attorney from Albany, NY
    Replied about 3 years ago
    In my area in upstate New York, you can get a commercial mortgage at 80% LTV, amortized at 25 years, with 5-year rate adjustments starting at 5% interest rate. I think that’s a pretty reasonable trade-off to a 30-year fixed in your personal name for being able to hold the property in an LLC and getting the asset protection that comes with it. Vitaliy
    Steve Foster Investor from Beaumont, Texas
    Replied about 2 years ago
    That’s the exact terms I’m looking at right now and it feels inexpensive when weighed against the liability protection an LLC offers in Texas.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hey Vitaliy, Great point! I agree, the money is not that much more expensive. Matt
    Steve Foster Investor from Beaumont, Texas
    Replied about 2 years ago
    That’s the exact terms I’m looking at right now and it feels inexpensive when weighed against the liability protection an LLC offers in Texas.
    Dwayne Hunter Real Estate Professional from Charlotte, NC
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    Jeff, thanks for answering a question that I was wondering about concerning alot of lender don’t give conventional fixed loans to LLC, I wish they did. But overall, very good article Matt.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hey John, Bundling houses and rhen doing a package refinance on all of them is a freat strategy. I’m glad that concept came across in the video. You don’t have to limit yourself at 200k or only do one package of houses though. If you end up with a large portfolio under one LLC just get more insurance to cover you. Matt
    Noam Ofan Investor from El Cerrito, California
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hi, matt. When bundling several properties and getting one loans against them, what kind of terms can one get for this type of financing? My understanding is that this would be a type of commercial loan. LTV? 30 yr fixed? Interest rate? Thank you!
    Jeff Filali Rental Property Investor from Broken Arrow, OK
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I currently own 7 properties free & clear, I’ve left them all in one LLC, my main holding co LLC since owned free & clear, because I’ve been told by doing this if I ever needed to borrow money, instead of doing an equity mortgage loan, I could start a business line of credit based on the total value of all the assets in my business and use what I needed for whatever business related, buy new property, flipping expenses, etc. and also only pay for the money used. Have you experienced anyone doing this approach & what’s your thoughts on it?
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hey Jeff, You are in a unique situation. You can definitely approach a small community bank for a business equity line of credit with those properties as collateral. They may try and push you to a refinance though, so be wary of that if you don’t want to lock into a mortgage. You may also try the portfolio lenders out there. Either will ask you to personally guarantee so so be prepared for that. Matt
    Jeff Filali Rental Property Investor from Broken Arrow, OK
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks Matt. I’ve been considering approaching my bank that handles my real estate accounts, other business ventures and personal accounts. I felt like using the property portfolio to get a business line of credit would be a better deal then using HML to be able to do more rehabs & flips. Thanks again for your response.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    You are welcome!
    Will F. Investor from Los Angeles County, California
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Hey Matt Great post. i general how are those Business equity line of credit interest rates for a property portfolio versus interest rates on a regular home? ie. Business equity line of credit interest rate on a few duplexes vs interest rates on typical HELOC? Just ballpark?
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hey Jeff, You are in a unique situation. You can definitely approach a small community bank for a business equity line of credit with those properties as collateral. They may try and push you to a refinance though, so be wary of that if you don’t want to lock into a mortgage. You may also try the portfolio lenders out there. Either will ask you to personally guarantee so so be prepared for that. Matt
    Steven Schmidt Investor from San Diego, California
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hi Matt – Great video, thank you. In states which allow Series LLCs, would you consider that vice placing all properties into one LLC?
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hey Steven, I am not familiar with Series LLCs, can you elaborate? Would like to hear more. Matt
    Steven Schmidt Investor from San Diego, California
    Replied about 3 years ago
    As I understand, it’s one LLC with each property in it’s own “cell”. Read about it in LLC for Dummies, so perhaps the info is dated. Idea was you have one LLC for which you pay, make annual reports, etc, but each property resides in it’s own independent cell. I posted a link to a description I found below. Thanks. http://info.legalzoom.com/difference-between-series-llc-restricted-llc-25597.html
    Steven Schmidt Investor from San Diego, California
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Note that very few states allow this, but Utah (wherein one of my properties exists) does. Nolo has a better description: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-is-series-llc.html
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Interesting concept if you are working in one of those states. Thanks for sharing your research!
    Jeff Garrison from Dallas, Texas
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I’ve been given sound advice by a tax attorney who also is a real estate investor. He recommended having each rental property (or maybe 2) in their own LLC specifically for the asset protection. You only need one bad slip and fall, or bad tenant who knows how to work the system to create a nightmare and potentially lose the property. He also noted that any attorney worth their salt will look at the value of assets under your own name and use that to determine whether to pursue with any lawsuit. By holding each property in a separate LLC, you compartmentalize those assets. You can’t overlook the risk associated with the litigious society we live in. Lastly, if you’re concerned about filing multiple tax returns for each property, structure it all so that it’s owned by a single holding company: Multiple revenue streams flowing into one big river AND only a single tax return (minus your individual 1040).
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hey Jeff, I do hear your point about asset protection. Believe me I know how litigious our society is because I’ve been sued quite a few times by tenants myself, LOL. That being said I have not seen attorneys bother with going any further than an insurance claim. I am wondering if anyone here on the forum has heard of something different, where a lawsuit went beyond the insurance liability umbrella and on to property liens or going after the owners personally. I have seen it only once but it was a case of blatant neglect. Has anyone else seen this and care to share? Matt
    Jeff Garrison from Dallas, Texas
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I’ve been given sound advice by a tax attorney who also is a real estate investor. He recommended having each rental property (or maybe 2) in their own LLC specifically for the asset protection. You only need one bad slip and fall, or bad tenant who knows how to work the system to create a nightmare and potentially lose the property. He also noted that any attorney worth their salt will look at the value of assets under your own name and use that to determine whether to pursue with any lawsuit. By holding each property in a separate LLC, you compartmentalize those assets. You can’t overlook the risk associated with the litigious society we live in. Lastly, if you’re concerned about filing multiple tax returns for each property, structure it all so that it’s owned by a single holding company: Multiple revenue streams flowing into one big river AND only a single tax return (minus your individual 1040).
    Dan Nicely from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied about 3 years ago
    In North Carolina, forming an LLC is fairly inexpensive. This is cheap insurance for each rental property. Roughly 200 clams a year to maintain the LLC.
    Dan Nicely from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied about 3 years ago
    PS I do one for each property.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hey Dan, That $200 can add up and is a reasonable percentage of your cash flow if it’s a single family home. I would think that you could pool the properties and pay less than 200 per address for a high limit umbrella insurance policy. Thoughts? Matt
    Helene
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Love the idea of having a sharper focus on the insurance than the multiple LLC structure. I have generally been comfortable with having no more in any one LLC than I would want to face in a single loss… similar to John, above; keeping a cap in mind for the amount of EQUITY within each LLC rather than the number of properties. My ‘veil’ becomes title > entity > insurance. Thanks for the new, improved perspective!
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    You are welcome!
    Vitaliy Volpov Attorney from Albany, NY
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hi Matt, This is definitely a hot topic of discussion. I agree that insurance is important, but I think having that extra compartmentalization just adds another layer of protection which should help you sleep better at night. My experience with insurance companies in the legal world is that they will try to find any way they can to disclaim coverage on a significant claim. Insurance companies don’t stay in business by paying out large claims, they stay in business by making money on the premiums. Also, there are many types of claims that will simply not be covered by insurance. Most insurance policies contain numerous exclusions—e.g. toxic substances, gross negligence, intentional torts, housing discrimination complaints, etc. All of these are claims can carry huge potential liability. If you own all of your properties in one LLC and you are unlucky enough to be in a situation where you are facing a million dollar claim in one of those excluded categories, you are really putting your portfolio at risk. Do you think that a plaintiff’s attorney will drop the case just because the insurance company disclaimed coverage when he knows you have a million dollars worth of assets in the LLC? Not a chance. But if that LLC had only one property in it, and that property was worth only $100K, it would definitely be a significant roadblock to the plaintiff’s recovery. Having said that, in the scenario above, if the claim is large enough and the injury is significant enough, I am sure the attorney would also sue all of your other LLCs and try to pierce the corporate veil. In my home state of New York, while veil piercing is not easy, courts have the option of granting it if “justice” and “equity” favor piercing, which basically means that they’ll pierce if they feel really bad for the plaintiff (a very scary proposition indeed!). Anyway, great blog post and video to get the discussion going. But, I am still partial to the separate LLC for each property school of thought (and not just because I’m a lawyer and like to see my colleagues making money on LLC formation fees! ;-)) Vitaliy
    Samantha Lotti Specialist from Albany, Oregon
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Great explanation Vitaliy. Love the points you and Matt have made. Great discussion and gives us all something to really think about.
    Matt Faircloth Rental Property Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hey Vitaliy, Great points. I agree with your list of potential suits that could cause a drop by your insurance company but think that breaking a discrimination law or gross negligence would be on the owner’s fault for doing bad business. Insurance can’t cover you for that stuff. One that I would add to the list, and one that keeps me up at night is lead-based paint poisoning. I know there are some major suits going on in that area these days. I’m sure insurance won’t cover that claim and a jury is sure to award a monster sized settlement. You alluded to another point that I didn’t make – if there is a case with a huge potential settlement like lead based paint or gross negligence, you can bet that the attorney representing the plaintiff will sue you personally and everyone else they can to drag them into it. I don’t see a way around that, including using individual LLC’s. The bottom line is that there is no one fix. Large insurance policies alone won’t offer 100% protection and neither will holding everything in an individual LLC. It takes good business practices and habits like removing contaminants from properties (mold, asbestos, lead based paint, etc…) along with asset protection strategies. I see the benefits of holding many properties in one LLC as greater than breaking them up, and also see the probability of a catastrophic law suit as so small that it’s not worth trying to avoid it. Thoughts? Matt
    Vitaliy Volpov Attorney from Albany, NY
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Matt, Right back at ya – excellent points! I agree that liability for gross negligence and housing discrimination is typically due to an owner’s own bad business practices. However, the issue is not always so clear. Take housing discrimination for example (this is also true of employment discrimination as the laws in each area similar), where there exists a legal theory called “disparate treatment” discrimination. This theory holds that the landlord (or employer) may be held liable for discrimination, even in the absence of discriminatory intent, when the demographic composition of the landlord’s tenants (or employees in the employment context) is mismatched with a representative cross-section in the particular locality. In other words, let’s say that you own 20 rental units and the racial makeup of your tenants (just using race as one example; this also works with gender, national origin, disability, military status, age (with exceptions for certain types of housing), and all other categories protected by state and federal law) is: 16 Caucasians, two African-Americans, and two Asian-Americans. If the demographics of the locality where your buildings are located are 70% Caucasian, 20% African-American and 10% Asian-American, you have a potential problem because the demographic composition of your African-American tenants is statistically out of line with the demographic composition of African-American residents in the locality. This, in itself, is sufficient to create a presumption of “disparate impact” discrimination. An unsuccessful African-American applicant for one of your apartments can sue you claiming that you are discriminating against African-Americans in your tenant selection process. You can argue all day long that you never intended to discriminate against any group and that your processes are completely race-neutral. However, this is not going to help you overcome the presumption because the disparate impact theory of discrimination does not care about intent, but rather looks only at adverse impact. About the only way to defeat this type of claim at the outset is to challenge the validity of the plaintiff’s statistical analysis using expert witnesses and argue that the plaintiff’s demographic estimates are inaccurate or that the plaintiff’s expert erred in selecting the representative community. If you are unable to do that, you can try to show that the your screening policies are “necessary to achieve a valid interest.” However, this is a difficult standard to meet and can easily be overcome if the plaintiff can show that there exists an available alternative practice that has less disparate impact on the protected group. The bottom line is that, despite not ever attempting to or intending to discriminate against anyone, you may still be found liable and, depending on the size and the length of the violation, the damages could be staggering. If this legal theory sounds a little heavy-handed, I feel your pain (my law firm is typically on the defense side of these types of lawsuits). But it is a legitimate theory that has been adopted by the United States Supreme Court and various state courts throughout the country. I fully acknowledge that you cannot stop someone from suing you if they want to, regardless of what types of protections and precautions you take. I also agree that catastrophic liability is rare. I see it more in my world because clients come to us with these types of issues. If I had to guess at what the odds are of losing this type of lawsuit, they are probably less than 1%. But I still think that, despite the additional transactional costs associated with multiple entities, the extra peace of mind is worth it. Again, this is just my opinion. I know investors who follow each approach and each works well for them. Investors should weigh all the pros and cons, consult with qualified professionals, and then make their decision. Vitaliy
    Vitaliy Volpov Attorney from Albany, NY
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Matt, Right back at ya – excellent points! I agree that liability for gross negligence and housing discrimination is typically due to an owner’s own bad business practices. However, the issue is not always so clear. Take housing discrimination for example (this is also true of employment discrimination as the laws in each area similar), where there exists a legal theory called “disparate treatment” discrimination. This theory holds that the landlord (or employer) may be held liable for discrimination, even in the absence of discriminatory intent, when the demographic composition of the landlord’s tenants (or employees in the employment context) is mismatched with a representative cross-section in the particular locality. In other words, let’s say that you own 20 rental units and the racial makeup of your tenants (just using race as one example; this also works with gender, national origin, disability, military status, age (with exceptions for certain types of housing), and all other categories protected by state and federal law) is: 16 Caucasians, two African-Americans, and two Asian-Americans. If the demographics of the locality where your buildings are located are 70% Caucasian, 20% African-American and 10% Asian-American, you have a potential problem because the demographic composition of your African-American tenants is statistically out of line with the demographic composition of African-American residents in the locality. This, in itself, is sufficient to create a presumption of “disparate impact” discrimination. An unsuccessful African-American applicant for one of your apartments can sue you claiming that you are discriminating against African-Americans in your tenant selection process. You can argue all day long that you never intended to discriminate against any group and that your processes are completely race-neutral. However, this is not going to help you overcome the presumption because the disparate impact theory of discrimination does not care about intent, but rather looks only at adverse impact. About the only way to defeat this type of claim at the outset is to challenge the validity of the plaintiff’s statistical analysis using expert witnesses and argue that the plaintiff’s demographic estimates are inaccurate or that the plaintiff’s expert erred in selecting the representative community. If you are unable to do that, you can try to show that the your screening policies are “necessary to achieve a valid interest.” However, this is a difficult standard to meet and can easily be overcome if the plaintiff can show that there exists an available alternative practice that has less disparate impact on the protected group. The bottom line is that, despite not ever attempting to or intending to discriminate against anyone, you may still be found liable and, depending on the size and the length of the violation, the damages could be staggering. If this legal theory sounds a little heavy-handed, I feel your pain (my law firm is typically on the defense side of these types of lawsuits). But it is a legitimate theory that has been adopted by the United States Supreme Court and various state courts throughout the country. I fully acknowledge that you cannot stop someone from suing you if they want to, regardless of what types of protections and precautions you take. I also agree that catastrophic liability is rare. I see it more in my world because clients come to us with these types of issues. If I had to guess at what the odds are of losing this type of lawsuit, they are probably less than 1%. But I still think that, despite the additional transactional costs associated with multiple entities, the extra peace of mind is worth it. Again, this is just my opinion. I know investors who follow each approach and each works well for them. Investors should weigh all the pros and cons, consult with qualified professionals, and then make their decision. Vitaliy
    Vitaliy Volpov Attorney from Albany, NY
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Just to clarify, I don’t mean that you would lose a disparate impact lawsuit brought against you only 1% of the time. I mean that the odds of this type of lawsuit being brought against you as a real estate investor at some point in your career and then losing that lawsuit are very small.
    Dan Mason Investor from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Would using a property management company change anything in terms of liability? Would you be able to shift any of the liability to them in the event of a lawsuit?
    Rob Bucholdt Rental Property Investor from Fredericksburg, Virginia
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks Matt and everyone else for the help , I would like to add if you are using the brrrr strategy all your homes have mortgages and there is not much equity for someone to take . Also I live in Virginia and I’ll be buying houses here and in Ohio ,where should I set up my LLC I’ve heard Nevada is the strongest against “piercing the veil”
    John Laabs from Chanhassen, Minnesota
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Rob B., Not a lawyer, but from everything I have read and researched that in general if you are doing business in multiple states, you need to form either a Domestic or Foreign business entity (in this case an LLC) in the state you are doing business. There are some exceptions. Basic definition of Domestic – formed in the state you are doing business. Basic definition of Foreign – is the business has been formed in another state but is requesting to do business in the current state under the name of the other state it was formed initially (example: Formed an LLC in Nevada but now wanting to do business in Ohio under the same name). Bottom line is check with a lawyer and or the Secretary of State website for the state you are going to do business in, they should have the requirements for you.
    Joe Tomko Specialist from Easton, PA
    Replied about 2 years ago
    My holding company is inNV. The daughter companies are where the properties are located.
    John Laabs from Chanhassen, Minnesota
    Replied about 3 years ago
    All, I believe that no matter what an important part that goes with the article…an LLC or any other business entity formed in a state requires a Register Agent (RA) name and address, this is where any legal documents (i.e., lawsuits) will be delivered. You need to make sure this is someone that is able and willing to receive the documents but also tell you that something has been delivered. Otherwise if something is delivered and you don’t know about it, you could get sued and not show up and have a judgement against you.
    Rob Bucholdt Rental Property Investor from Fredericksburg, Virginia
    Replied about 3 years ago
    You are correct John ,I was looking at legal zoom and they provide you you with an RA address…for a fee
    Joe Tomko Specialist from Easton, PA
    Replied about 2 years ago
    My holding company is inNV. The daughter companies are where the properties are located.
    Anthony Robles Real Estate Investor from Port Saint Lucie, FL
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Thank you for this short but HUGE impression on LLC. I can make a wiser choice now
    Cricket Jackson from Bryant, Arkansas
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Our lawyer also advised us (when setting up our LLC) that it must be operated as an LLC in order to protect personal assets. Business decisions must be documented and no using personal cash for expenses etc. He has seen many cases in recent years where investors lost it all because their LLC was just a name on paper.
    Elizabeth Goff Investor from Napa, California
    Replied about 2 years ago
    For investors based in California, the cost of an LLC is $800/yr, regardless of where the property or LLC is formed. So this is pretty hefty! After talking to several people, I decided to skip the LLC strategy and just carry a large $5MM umbrella liability policy, which is fairly inexpensive. This does not protect against bankruptcy, of course, but I’m more worried about being sued.
    Joe Tomko Specialist from Easton, PA
    Replied about 2 years ago
    The catch is that that big policy will draw lawsuits to you, not deflect them.
    Joe Tomko Specialist from Easton, PA
    Replied about 2 years ago
    I’ve worked too long and hard to get where I am to put it all at risk. I have a holding llc that owns daughter llcs with each daughter owning only one property and having its own bank account. The daughter llcs are disregarded entities so only the holding company files a tax return. Yes it is more expensive this way, but I refuse to open myself up to lawsuit risk. I don’t want to lose it all, especially when my goal is financial independence and quitting my job eventually.
    Luke Taylor Lender from Phila, PA
    Replied about 2 years ago
    If your state allows it, I think the best move is to open a series LLC. It’s a relatively new thing. You don’t have a separate EIN or for each series LLC and the idea is that each series is protected from each other series in the LLC. I use one, but haven’t been sued yet so……….. At the time of me opening it, no one had been sued yet using a series LLC so it hadn’t been tested in court. I’m not giving advice, just my opinion.
    Marty Merrick Investor from Clinton, TN
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Suggest listening to episode 109 of the BP podcast. Older, but great starter info on LLCs and series LLCs. Also breaks down insurance vs. incorporating. They are different kinds of protection.
    Toni Husbands Investor from Chicago, IL
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    Thank you. This is EXTREMELY helpful. Just purchase a SFH and attempting my first flip. I appreciate the information.
    Jayson Holland Real Estate Broker from Greenwood Village, CO
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    Also, there is another big con you forgot to mention. Tax returns. If you own 5 properties or 10 properties with each one in its own separate LLC, you will probably have to file 5 tax returns or 10 tax returns every year. If your CPA charges $300 or $500 per tax return, that is a ton of extra cost annually.
    Shane LaChance
    Replied over 1 year ago
    What you’d probably want to to in this case is create an llc holding company for all the other llc’s. That way you’ll only have one set of tax returns to file. You do still, however, have to keep everything separate (books, bank accounts, cc’s, etc).
    Jon Lanclos Real Estate Broker from Houston, TX
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Owning rentals in your own name is a disaster waiting to happen – your person wealth would be at risk – owning an a rental in a new LLC is costly and you have to file a tax return for every entity and in some states yearly fees per LLC from what I have heard – the Solution – I created a Series LLC in Texas and I have each property in a separate series – one tax return is filed for the whole series group and liability is isolated to each specific series cell – boom
    Bob Galivan
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Regarding using an LLC to shield yourself from liability: If you are forming a single-member LLC, it is VERY important to check your state laws with regards to corporate shield from liability. It used to be that forming a corporation (like an LLC) would put distance between you as the sole member of the LLC and personal liability. However, recent changes to laws in many states have removed this protection. In Florida, for example, a recent supreme court decision appears to allow a creditor to seize a single-member LLC ownership position to satisfy personal debts. This is something that you should discuss with an attorney who can research which states afford maximum protection in this regard.
    Shane LaChance
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I think this makes a lot of sense and investors will have to look at the value and risks of their properties. For most starting out, or even experienced in single family, multi-family homes, and small apartment complexes it will, in many cases, make sense to depend on insurance. However those investing in large apt complexes and sizable commercial properties, the risk can be significant and that is when structuring multiple LLCs makes a lot of sense.
    Sandy Kurtzman
    Replied over 1 year ago
    With all the recent changes to liability and shielding that affect LLC’s, and to address the profitability (or otherwise) and record-keeping, it makes more sense to have one Corporation as the General Partner of a Limited Liability Partnership, and have all properties under that umbrella. Of course, it’s a good idea to invest in insurance, which addresses liability for accidents, and to have a strategy in place for managing risks associated with ownership. Accounting software, in the other hand, is used to more accurately separate and record the income and expenses, and assets, liability and owners equity for each property, so having a separate LLC for each property seems redundant and unnecessary. It’s also more costly to have an accountant or CPA set up the software for each and every entity (I’m sure they won’t complain…) and to file separate tax returns for each entity. As a State instrument, an LLC is not recognized as a corporation by the IRS, although it does allow the officer/s to elect to file as a Sub-S (1120S) for tax purposes, or to file as a sole proprietor (1040 Schedule C), or a Partnership (1065). Filing for a new LLC for each property can also cost a bundle, too, and many people don’t realize how easy (and how much cheaper) it is to do by themselves (DIY: filing fee vs CPA: filing fee plus an inflated fee for filling out the forms). Another very important aspect, especially in the beginning, is that a Lender isn’t going to loan money to an LLC (or a Corporation that is not well-recognized). The Lender is going to require the Member of the LLC to put the loan under their name and use their credit for underwriting purposes. One final important consideration: Officer remuneration (draws, owner advances, officer wages) are required to be reported to your Stare Workforce Commission and to pay State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) tax on those wages. You’ll also need an online (tax) account with that same agency to file reports and pay SUI taxes*. Best advice: Ask Lenders, Attorneys, CPA’s and your State Workforce Commission for advice and information and then listen to their advice. [*I am a SME and Senior Auditor for the Texas Workforce Commission by day, and a REI 24/7, so I deal with this stuff regularly.]
    Miguel Soto from Baltimore, MD
    Replied about 1 year ago
    These are all great points and real life scenarios. I found that the comments give a more in depth dive into what the video explained, great job all.
    Miguel Soto from Baltimore, MD
    Replied about 1 year ago
    These are all great points and real life scenarios. I found that the comments give a more in depth dive into what the video explained, great job all.