Advice Finding an Attorney and a CPA

1 Reply

Hi BP Community,

I am in the process of setting up a buy-and-hold company and am looking for both an attorney and a CPA that have a specialization in real estate and have multistate jurisdiction.  The problem I am running into is that being new I do not have a network and so I am left with my own research, and I am sure that I don't need to tell you how many companies there are to wade through.

If anyon has any advice on forums to read, organizations to consider (such as look for companies that are certified by xyz, or have a membership with abc, etc.), or specific recommendations, I would greatly appreciate it so that I am not quite doing the whole needle-in-a-haystack search.

Here are some of my criteria:

- Multi-state.  I live in California (ugh to the fees here), will be investing in Washington, and will be moving to Idaho in 5-7 years.

- Setting up a LLC and potentially a Trust. I may chose to have the LLC taxed as a S-Corp and then created an umbrella company as well.

- Personal and company asset protection.  My spouse and I do have jobs where we can be sued.

- Emphasis and competency in real estate.

- Investments will be buy-and-hold, so ideally I would like companies with which I can build relationships and receive future counsel for landlord-tenant issues that may arise so I don't have to constantly be attorney shopping.

- Ethics and integrety. 

- I'm not looking for cheap (as you get what you pay for), but am seeking a modest price.  I'm not making money yet.

I read "How to Use Limited Liability Companies nad Limited Partnerships: Getting the Most Out of Your Legal Structure" by Garrett Sutton (which I recommend), and he obviously recommends his company to set up an LLC, Corporate Direct; any opinions on this company?

Any opinions on larger firms that have both the legal and accounting entities in-house, or is it better to have two different companies for checks and balances?

As far as attorneys I would not worry if they are licensed in multiple jurisdictions.  Hire one licensed in the area where the property is located.  If you have partners I would be worried about the operating agreement.  If it is just you, then less so.  I also would not worry that the attorney covers all your needs.  I am a tax attorney but I wouldn't do an eviction.  I also wouldn't do a complicated partnership attorney--only advise them on the tax issues. You would get better (and cheaper) representation from someone who specializes in the specific area of law--they have the system set up and can focus on the precise areas you need.  Large firms will have every attorney in one place but you'll pay more for it.  

As far as finding a good attorney--word of mouth.  Go to a few investor meetups and ask.  Use your consultation with the attorney to measure their experience and knowledge of the law.    

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