I currently reside in IL, want to buy property in NC, and establish an LLC with the lowest initial filing fees and annual statement filing expense. From my conversations with LegalZoom one state that has a low annual statement filing fee is the State of Michigan (something like only 50 bucks to file their annual statements per year). This is much cheaper than the exorbitant $500 filing fee IL has.
LegalZoom will take care of having a registered agent in another state for me. So that should not be a problem.
Any real estate attorney's know whether this is something I can legally do?
To have the lowest filing fees, you should establish the LLC where you will own the property, in this case in NC. If the LLC is est. in any other state other than NC, it will need to register in NC as a foreign entity. For instance, if you establish a MI LLC, you will need to then register the LLC in NC to hold property in NC. You are paying both MI and NC filing fees.
Some states (like CA) is even worse. If I own property in another state with a LLC in that state, if I am active in the management, CA considers that I'm doing business in CA, and requires registration in CA. Check with the state of IL, but I don't think other states are as stringent.
Bottom line: Establish an LLC in the state you hold the property.
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